Toronto, April 18–A group of clients and staff from Baycrest Health Sciences will be in Ottawa on April 23 for the National Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at the Canadian War Museum.
The Baycrest delegation will include survivors, children of survivors, staff and Baycrest’s executive leaders, Dr. William Reichman, president and CEO, and Garry Foster, chair of Baycrest’s Board of Directors.
Esther Fairbloom, 71, is a child survivor and a former Baycrest employee who is planning to make the trip. As a survivor, she says she feels her participation is important. “We are the survivors, the only ones left who can say ‘how could you let this happen?’”
Fairbloom survived the Holocaust as a child hidden in a Catholic orphanage in Poland. Her parents were both killed and she was separated from her older sister. “People should know what we went through. My family went through hell and back. We should never forget.” she says.
There are many stories like Fairbloom’s at Baycrest. Of the 2,500 clients who receive care and service there each day, 20 per cent are survivors. Baycrest has become world-renowned for its expertise in caring for aging Holocaust survivors. Baycrest social workers spearheaded the development of the world’s first practice manual to educate professional and informal caregivers about the needs and best care strategies for this vulnerable group and others who have survived genocides and wars.
Shoshana Yaakobi, senior social worker and coordinator of the Holocaust Resource Program at Baycrest, says the terrible legacy of the Holocaust is shared not only by many residents and clients, but also by staff and volunteers whose families were irrevocably destroyed or altered. “It’s part of who we are,” she says.
It is in support of all these members of the Baycrest community and the broader Jewish community that Reichman and Foster are joining the group this year. “It’s an honour to attend this special event,” says Dr. Reichman. “As a member of the Zachor Coalition, Baycrest is committed to Holocaust remembrance and education. In attending the ceremony with the group this year, we stand with them in demonstrating this commitment.”
The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, which coordinates the national ceremony in conjunction with the Government of Canada, is expecting 500 guests at this year’s memorial, including survivors, families of survivors, politicians, veterans, students and community leaders. This year’s theme is From Tragedy to Triumph. The program will include stories of survivors as well as a tribute to partisans and the righteous among the nations who risked their lives to save the lives of Jews. Dr. Reichman and one of the survivors from the Baycrest delegation will be participating, along with representatives from other organizations in the Zachor Coalition, to light one of six candles in memory of the six million who perished.
For more information on this press release, please contact:
Coordinator, Marketing and Communications
Baycrest Health Sciences
First strong evidence of bi-directional relationship between music and language
Toronto, CANADA –Non-musicians who speak tonal languages may have a better ear for learning musical notes, according to Canadian researchers.
Tonal languages, found mainly in Asia, Africa and South America, have an abundance of high and low pitch patterns as part of speech. In these languages, differences in pitch can alter the meaning of a word. Vietnamese, for example, has eleven different vowel sounds and six different tones. Cantonese also has an intricate six-tone system, while English has no tones.
Researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences’ Rotman Research Institute (RRI) in Toronto have found the strongest evidence yet that speaking a tonal language may improve how the brain hears music. While the findings may boost the egos of tonal language speakers who excel in musicianship, they are exciting neuroscientists for another reason: they represent the first strong evidence that music and language – which share overlapping brain structures – have bi-directional benefits!
The findings are published today in PLOS ONE, an international, peer-reviewed open-access science journal.
The benefits of music training for speech and language are already well documented (showing positive influences on speech perception and recognition, auditory working memory, aspects of verbal intelligence, and awareness of the sound structure of spoken words). The reverse – the benefits of language experience for learning music – has largely been unexplored until now.
“For those who speak tonal languages, we believe their brain’s auditory system is already enhanced to allow them to hear musical notes better and detect minute changes in pitch,” said lead investigator Gavin Bidelman, who conducted the research as a post-doctoral fellow at Baycrest’s RRI, supported by a GRAMMY Foundation® grant.
“If you pick up an instrument, you may be able to acquire the skills faster to play that instrument because your brain has already built up these auditory perceptual advantages through speaking your native tonal language.”
But Bidelman, now assistant professor with the Institute for Intelligent Systems and School of Communication Science & Disorders at the University of Memphis, was quick to dispel the notion that people who speak tonal languages make better musicians. Musicianship requires much more than the sense of hearing and plenty of English-speaking musical icons will put that quick assumption to rest.
That music and language – two key domains of human cognition – can influence each other offers exciting possibilities for devising new approaches to rehabilitation for people with speech and language deficits, said Bidelman.
“If music and language are so intimately coupled, we may be able to design rehabilitation treatments that use musical training to help individuals improve speech-related functions that have been impaired due to age, aphasia or stroke,” he suggested. Bidelman added that similar benefits might also work in the opposite direction. Musical listening skills could be improved by designing well-crafted speech and language training programs.
Fifty-four healthy adults in their mid-20s were recruited for the study from the University of Toronto and Greater Toronto Area. They were divided into three groups: English-speaking trained musicians (instrumentalists) and Cantonese-speaking and English-speaking non-musicians.
Wearing headphones in a sound-proof lab, participants were tested on their ability to discriminate complex musical notes. They were assessed on measures of auditory pitch acuity and music perception as well as general cognitive ability such as working memory and fluid intelligence (abstract reasoning, thinking quickly).
While the musicians demonstrated superior performance on all auditory measures, the Cantonese non-musicians showed similar performance to musicians on music and cognitive behavioural tasks, testing 15 to 20 percent higher than that of the English-speaking non-musicians.
Bidelman added that not all tonal languages may offer the music listening benefits seen with the Cantonese speakers in his study. Mandarin, for example, has more “curved” tones and the pitch patterns vary with time – which is different from how pitch occurs in music. Musical pitch resembles “stair step, level pitch patterns” which happen to share similarities with the Cantonese language, he explained.
Bidelman’s research team included Sylvain Moreno, senior scientist with Baycrest’s RRI and lead scientist with the Baycrest Centre for Brain Fitness; and Stefanie Hutka, an RRI graduate student and PhD student in the Department of Psychology, University of Toronto.
The GRAMMY Foundation, which supported the study, works in partnership with its founder The Recording Academy® to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education.
About Baycrest Health Sciences
Baycrest is a global leader in innovations in aging and brain health. It is at the forefront of an emerging field in music and health research and is part of a new Music and Health Research Collaboratory with southern Ontario universities and GTA hospitals, based at the University of Toronto.
For more information on this press release, please contact:
Kelly Connelly, Senior Media Officer
Baycrest Health Sciences
Theo Fleury and Marcel Dionne join 2013 NHL alumni roster
Toronto, March 19, 2013 – Hockey fans in Toronto will be excited to learn that the 2013 Scotiabank Pro-Am for Alzheimer’s has added even more talent to its already impressive roster. With legendary NHL® greats Curtis Joseph, Wendel Clarke, Doug Gilmour, Gary Roberts, Marty McSorley, Paul Coffey, Gary Leeman, Dennis Maruk, Mike Krushelnyski, Tom Gilbert, Mark Napier, Kevin Maguire and Dave McLlwain already onboard, announced today were celebrated NHL® alumni Marcel Dionne, Theo Fleury and Tim Taylor. Eager to join the fight against Alzheimer’s, these hockey legends will be lacing up May 2-4 at York University’s Canlan Ice Sports to participate in the 8th annual tournament for the first time.
“This is shaping up to be our most exciting tournament yet,” said Danny McNair, Events Manager, The Baycrest Foundation. “The Toronto community has always been overwhelmingly supportive of this event, and we couldn’t be more appreciative. With our incredible roster this year, Toronto hockey fans are in for an unforgettable weekend.”
“To receive such a warm welcome for my first year in Toronto is pretty incredible,” said Theo Fleury, NHL® alumnus. “Being able to do what I love in support of such an amazing cause makes me feel very lucky and I’m definitely looking forward to the tournament.”
The Scotiabank Pro-Am for Alzheimer’s is a unique fundraising initiative that provides amateur hockey players the opportunity to play alongside NHL® alumni while raising crucial funds in support of Alzheimer’s research, education and care at Baycrest Health Sciences. To participate, teams must raise a minimum of $25,000. NHL® alumni are then drafted for the tournament based on a team’s total amount raised.
“Scotiabank is delighted to be involved in an event that gives hockey lovers an amazing opportunity to play the game with some of hockey’s biggest stars while raising funds for a cause that impacts so many people and their families,” said Rob Mattacott, Scotiabank’s District Vice President, Toronto Region. “Scotiabank Pro-Am for Alzheimers is such a special event for us because we get to bring our love of hockey together with our commitment to giving back to the community.”
With more than $20 million raised in its 8-year history, the weekend-long tournament secures critical funds for Alzheimer’s research at Baycrest, a global leader in developing and providing innovations in aging brain health. An academic health science center fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, Baycrest is at the forefront of cognitive neuroscience research aimed at preventing and controlling brain-related illnesses. The tournament is directly supported by Gordie Howe, who has been deeply involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s since losing wife Colleen in 2009 to Pick’s disease, a form of dementia.
For more information on the 2013 Scotiabank Pro-Am for Alzheimer’s, to register a team or for a full list of participating NHL® alumni please visit scotiabankproam.com.
About the Scotiabank Pro-Am for Alzheimer’s
Established in 2006, the Scotiabank Pro-Am for Alzheimer's is an innovative charitable hockey tournament that supports care and research in Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Taking place in Toronto, May 2-4, the three-day hockey experience allows amateur hockey players the opportunity to play with and against a host of NHL® alumni. To date, the Scotiabank Pro-Am for Alzheimer’s has raised more than $20 million for Alzheimer's care and research at Baycrest Health Sciences – a global leader in developing and providing innovations in aging and brain health. Follow the excitement on Twitter at @ScotiabankProAm (#scotiaproam) and on Facebook or visit scotiabankproam.com to register.
About Baycrest Health Sciences
Baycrest is a global leader in developing and providing innovations in aging brain health. Headquartered on a 22-acre campus in Toronto and fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, Baycrest provides care to more than 2,500 frail and active seniors every day in outpatient and inpatient programs and residential settings. Baycrest’s Centre for Memory and Neurotherapeutics offers clinical and educational programs for memory, dementia and related disorders. Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute is one of the top five brain institutes in the world, leading groundbreaking research to understand the mechanisms of memory and executive functions of the brain, in normal aging and in the presence of dementia, Alzheimer’s, stroke and other conditions and diseases. For more information visit Baycrest.org.
Scotiabank is the Official Bank of the NHL®, NHL Alumni™, CWHL, Winnipeg JetsTM, Toronto Maple Leafs®, Calgary Flames® whose home arena is the Scotiabank Saddledome, and the Ottawa Senators® whose home arena is Scotiabank Place. The Bank also has a partnership with the Montreal Canadiens®. Scotiabank has a long tradition of supporting hockey in Canada from local teams and minor hockey associations to professional players and leagues. Across Canadian communities from coast to coast, Scotiabank's Community Hockey Sponsorship Program reaches out to more than 4,500 minor hockey teams. To find out more about Scotiabank's hockey programs, please click here.
Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad, through our global philanthropic program, ‘Bright Future’. Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for our charitable donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has provided on average approximately $47 million annually to community causes around the world over each of the last five years. Visit us at www.scotiabank.com.
Media Contact: Tiffany Astle | 416-554-7329
Private theatre to benefit hospital patients and families
TORONTO, Mar. 13, 2013 – On March 14, Ellis Jacob, President and CEO of Cineplex Entertainment, and his family will be at Baycrest Health Sciences to celebrate the grand opening of the Jacob Family Theatre in the Abe Posluns Auditorium.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed by an advanced screening of a Hollywood film.
The theatre is a tribute to family members who have a long history with Baycrest and a deep love of film. While his mother was a resident at Baycrest, Ellis Jacob arranged for her to be taken to the movies once – often twice – a week. After her passing in 2010, the family decided to honour her memory by building a cinema for residents, clients, families and caregivers to enjoy on the Baycrest campus.
“Movies provide entertainment and escapism,” says Jacob. “I know how much it meant to my mother to go to the movies while she was hospitalized. Many of her fellow residents always wished they could join her. With the Jacob Family Theatre located within Baycrest, everyone can experience the magic that movies provide. Additionally, we are forever grateful to all the sponsors and contributors who helped make this dream a reality and from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your generous support. “
“We are proud to be a part of this exciting new project,” says Susan Sutton, President of the Baycrest Foundation and Vice President of Global Institutional Advancement, Baycrest. “The Jacob family has given us a tremendous gift that will enrich the lives of everyone here at Baycrest.”
“The theatre will position Baycrest as a global hub in tele-health and tele-education,” says William Reichman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Baycrest. “ It will change the experience of aging by enabling distance care to clients in remote locations, while providing a forum for dialogue between health-care professionals in aging brain health – on our campus and worldwide.”
Baycrest provides exemplary programs and services through a unique care continuum that includes wellness and outreach programs, residential housing, outpatient clinics, a 472-bed long-term care home, a 300-bed hospital providing complex continuing and acute care, and a 120-suite independent living facility. Affiliated with the University of Toronto, Baycrest is at the forefront of cognitive neuroscience research aimed at preventing and controlling age-related brain health illnesses.
The Baycrest Foundation raises funds to support Baycrest’s mission by generating awareness and recognition for Baycrest and its work in our community and around the world.
Take a virtual tour of the theater here: