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January 16, 2014

Dedicated to the Community

Scott Stockdale

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When Khalid Usman was appointed Chairman of the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation, at its annual general meeting recently, it was but a continuation of the contribution this 26-year resident of Markham has made to the community.

His charitable work has earned him numerous accolades and awards, including most recently the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal, an Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship and, the Tamghae-Khidmat from Pakistan, that nation's equivalent to the Order of Canada.

"Khalid is one of our most passionate advocates. We are so fortunate that he has directed his passion toward fundraising for our hospital and leading our board at this important time during the home stretch of our $50 million Campaign in support of the hospital's new building and extensive renovations, currently underway", said Suzette Strong, CEO Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation (MSHF).

Mr. Usman said the expansion campaign is a six year campaign that started in 2008. The $400 million cost of the expansion includes a $350 million contribution from the government, with the community pledging to raise the remainder. Through the support of the community the MSHF is currently over 75 per cent of the way to achieving its goal of raising $50 million.  Mr. Usman said the MSHF aims to reach its goal around the same time renovations to the existing building are expected to be completed.

Mr. Usman said his role as chairman of the MSHF is to set the policy on how to raise money to take care of the hospital's financial needs and utilize the Strategic Plan.

“The hospital needs money for equipment the government doesn't pay for,” Mr. Usman said. “The foundation raised the money for an MRI and a lab. People don't know the government doesn't pay for everything. Before the hospital needed three to four million dollars. Now that the hospital will be double the size, its annual needs will be six to seven million dollars. ”

A public accountant by profession, Mr. Usman was a city councillor for nine years and he currently chairs the committee of adjustment for the City of Markham. While laudatory contributions per se, it's the fundraising for community causes that the organization Canadians of Pakistani Origin (COPO) has done that Mr. Usman is most proud of.

“The Muslim community and the Pakistani community, we (COPO) believe god has been kind to me and my family and friends. We've prospered and we want to pay back the community. Eight years ago we raised half a million dollars, but it wasn't enough, so we raised an additional half million. We believe it's a great cause. We want to build bridges. Now our goal is two million. We've raised $1.5 million so far.”

On the wall of his office, he showed pictures of The Yellow Brick House – a women's shelter, which the COPO raised $75,000 for and the YMCA, which the COPO raised $100,000 for, four years ago.

“We are helping build the community,” Mr. Usman said. “The Muslim and Pakistani community is so giving. We believe this is our shelter, our YMCA. God has been kind to us so it's time for us to contribute. It doesn't matter what colour your skin is. We all use the hospital.”

Markham Stouffville Hospital opened in 1990, prepared to serve a population at that time of 110,000. It is now serving a population of 330,000, which required a significant expansion of its facilities.  On March 10, 2013, the hospital opened a new building, marking the completion of the initial phase of the expansion. The four-storey, 385,000 square foot building includes a much larger emergency department, eight new operating rooms, a new and improved mental health unit, diagnostic imaging and a much larger childbirth and children's centre.  Work will soon commence on the second phase of the project, which involves renovating the original building.

Dr. Andrew Arcand, Chief of Emergency Medicine at the Markham Stouffville Hospital said the difference in sheer size, function and feel of the emergency room is obvious. There's a dedicated triage area for patients coming in on stretchers so emergency service personnel can take care of the patients more effectively. As well as a bigger and better-designed waiting room with additional medical equipment and computers to help reduce waiting time, there are more private examination rooms,  additional crash carts, and nearby x-ray and ultrasound suites enhance patient care and efficiency.

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