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Endowment eases pain and creates legacy

Gift has helped create a leading centre for human pain management at Western

September 20, 2012

Endowment eases pain and creates legacy
Dr. Dwight Moulin holds the Earl Russell Chair in Pain Management, an endowment created by Dr. Earl Russell, MD'50, DSc'06.

Physical pain is a common concern that brings us to our doctors. Whether it’s head, back or nerve pain, we all experience some kind of physical pain in our lifetime.

That’s a reality that Dr. Earl Russell, MD’50, DSc’06, understood. After medical training at the University of Saskatchewan and Western University, he served at a MASH unit during the Korean
War, where he developed an interest in alleviating pain. When he returned to Canada, he devoted much of his life to pain management, as well as better care and treatment for those experiencing chronic and acute pain.

Through a generous $1-million donation to Western in 1999, he endowed the Earl Russell Chair in Pain Management. Subsequent gifts from Dr. Russell, the Russell family and many other donors, have provided the critical funding that has led to the creation of a leading centre for education and research in human pain at Western and an endowment of more than $3 million.

“Because of Dr. Russell’s generosity, we’ve been able to advance pain management research and education, and offer better care to patients at pain clinics,” says Dr. Dwight Moulin, MD’73, the current Earl Russell Chair in Pain Management. “Without this endowment, none of our education and research efforts would have happened.” Through the interdisciplinary pain program at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western, Moulin and his colleagues have expanded the training of students and doctors across all disciplines.

“Pain management has been neglected in the past,” says Moulin. “But now we’re seeing how pain crosses all areas of medicine, and, because of this endowment, we’re able to expand our teaching and training of how to treat pain.”

That training attracts doctors from across Canada, as well as from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the U.K. After a year of training, these doctors return to their countries to share their
expertise and training, resulting in an international presence for the pain management program.

Dr. Russell’s gift has also generated other benefits – gifts from other donors and organizations that have leveraged the program’s impact. “We now have the ability to provide seed funding to small projects that will benefit the research community and advance our learning of what we know about pain,” adds Moulin. “We want to build on these projects for the future, so that Dr. Russell’s gift will continue to reap benefits in care, education and research of pain.”

This article appeared in the 2012 edition of Endowment Report
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