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Barzakay family’s visionary $10-million investment at Sunnybrook will serve patients across their lifespan and advance innovative approaches to brain health

September 29, 2023

TORONTO, ON – Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre will improve the lives of patients of all ages with brain disorders and advance innovative approaches to care, thanks to a $10-million gift from Yuval and Lori Barzakay and their family to establish the Yuval & Lori Barzakay Brain Health Clinic. The Barzakay family’s generosity stems from a deep commitment to supporting youth mental health and increasing access to services.

The Yuval & Lori Barzakay Brain Health Clinic

The Yuval & Lori Barzakay Brain Health Clinic will serve as a hub for specialized multidisciplinary outpatient clinics. This unique space will allow patients with a variety of brain disorders to receive the care they need from one coordinated location at Sunnybrook.

“With the Barzakay family’s generous support, this clinic of unique outpatient services will soon be ready to serve our community in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond with highly specialized, coordinated and integrated treatment for brain health,” says Dr. Andy Smith, President & CEO, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

What coordinated and integrated care looks like

The Barzakay Clinic encompasses an entire floor of Sunnybrook’s new brain sciences building, and its activity will extend well beyond its physical space to treat a range of brain disorders, from stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sleep disorders and more. With its innovative approach, and access to clinics across Sunnybrook that provide multi-modal treatment, the Barzakay Clinic will enable patients to streamline time spent travelling to and at the Hospital, reducing the burden of treatment.

The Yuval & Lori Barzakay Brain Health Clinic is also uniquely positioned to serve outpatients across life stages, from youth through late adulthood. The Barzakay family’s interest in youth mental health has been a defining and personal motivator for their generosity toward this innovative space, which will ensure access for youth requiring community resources, specialized treatments and educational support.

Barzakay Clinic activity will include:

  • An embedded Family Navigator, who will help staff in the youth division navigate access to treatment services for their young patients. This role will also allow Sunnybrook’s Family Navigation Project to assist more youth in need of mental health and/or addiction services through consultation with the clinical staff of the youth division. Navigation services allow for faster and better matched access to health care, clearer and more efficient transitions through the health system for people with mental health and addiction issues, improved quality of life and reduced burden of illness, as well as lower cost to the system and the individual.
  • A dedicated youth psychiatry clinician treating refractory depression disorder for patients who may require additional, youth-specific and specialized psychiatric support for ongoing symptoms that do not improve following standard treatment approaches.
  • Educational and community support for youth via the Fresh Start program, a school-based day program for youth mental health and the only hospital-based program of its kind in the Greater Toronto Area. Under the care of a six-member multidisciplinary treatment team, Fresh Start’s mission is to transition students back to school by treating the mental health issues interfering with the students’ ability to function in a regular classroom setting. The program provides a safe, school-like environment where students can be medically monitored while developing critical thinking, independent learning and life skills.
  • Comprehensive care for patients with neurological disorders, which includes access to specialized clinics for motor neuron disease, mild cognitive impairment and memory disorders, neuro-oncology, multiple sclerosis and more.

The combined impact of these initiatives will result in improved, highly integrated treatment and care for a wide range of brain disorders for patients across their lifespan.

“We are grateful for the Barzakay family’s generous gift to establish this outpatient clinic. Their support will make a direct and widespread impact and allow us to improve the lives of more patients and families when it matters most,” says Kelly Cole, President & CEO, Sunnybrook Foundation.

For Everyone with a Brain

The Yuval & Lori Barzakay Brain Health Clinic joins the Harquail Centre for Neuromodulation and the Murphy Family Centre for Mental Health in Sunnybrook’s Garry Hurvitz Brain Sciences Centre, a state-of-the-art and collaborative space, unprecedented in the field of brain sciences. Currently under construction at Sunnybrook’s Bayview campus and scheduled for completion in 2024, it will lead the way for revolutionary solutions to the most devastating brain disorders, including stroke, dementia, ALS, and mood and anxiety disorders.

Sunnybrook’s bold vision for the Garry Hurvitz Brain Sciences Centre has been made possible by continued philanthropic support from Sunnybrook’s donor community, paired with major investment from the Province of Ontario. Sunnybrook is grateful for the vision and philanthropic leadership of Garry Hurvitz in making the Centre a reality.