8440 112 Street NW, Edmonton
The South Asian community has long played an active role in the healthcare system in Edmonton. Nowhere is this more evident than inside the state-of-the-art Mazankowski Heart Institute at the University of Alberta Hospital.
First, the atrium of the main entrance is named for Dr. Arvind Koshal, an esteemed heart surgeon who has advanced cardiology across Canada. He was educated at Ravishankar University and then at the All India Institute of Medical Science, receiving 6 gold medals during his education. He continued his training at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and the Harvard Medical Institute. Dr. Koshal was part of a team that performed the first artificial heart implant in Canada.
Today his name bears a fund at the University Hospital dedicated to the recruitment and education of physicians and the advancement of innovation in cardiac science. For his contributions, Dr. Koshal was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008 and received the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals.
On the 4th floor of ‘the Maz’ is a place of sunlight, quiet and contemplation. The Guru Nanak Healing Garden is one of the South Asian community’s largest gifts to the city of Edmonton. Named after prophet Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469-1539), the founding guru of the Sikh faith, the 4,000 square foot indoor garden space incorporates 5 elements to improve the healing process for patients: wood (which embodies growth), water (life), earth (sustainability), metal (strength) and fire (energy).
In 2003, while the Institute was just a vision, members of the Sikh community approached the hospital with a desire to name the garden after Guru Nanak. Seeking to raise one million dollars, a volunteer committee of 10 individuals went across the city and other parts of the country to fundraise. They exceeded their original goal and raised $2.3 million over five years from over 2,000 donors. Fundraising events included telethons and radiothons, galas and even a play based on the life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji himself. The campaign was one of the largest for a faith-based initiative and the garden’s open-air environment with natural light has inspired other hospital foundations across the country to create similar environments.
Now, thanks to Edmonton’s South Asian community, patients have a permanent place of healing and hope at the Maz.
- Research courtesy of Sam Singh (@SinghingSam)