UBC gets $5 million donation for new sport and exercise medicine centre

UBC News
March 10, 2015
By UBC News
Dr. Chan Gunn, a pioneering Vancouver physician in the field of pain relief, is giving $5 million to the University of British Columbia for construction of a new building devoted to exercise and sport medicine teaching, research and patient care.

The 13,480-square-foot building, to be named the Chan Gunn Pavilion, will be the new home for UBC’s sport and exercise medicine centre – one of the first academic sports medicine units in the world, and the first in Canada.

Dr. Gunn and his wife Peggy made the gift in recognition of UBC’s efforts to investigate, apply and teach intramuscular stimulation (IMS). IMS is a non-surgical, non-pharmaceutical technique developed by Dr. Gunn for alleviating pain resulting from nerve damage. A blend of acupuncture and western medicine, it involves inserting a needle deep into muscle, causing it to relax and relieve pressure on pain-causing nerves.

“Having a connection to UBC is very important for teaching and research into IMS,” Gunn says. “IMS will have a permanent home to grow.”

UBC will commit $2.25 million for the first phase of the building, which will house space for community care and research activity, including IMS. UBC will continue fundraising for a second phase, which will provide additional space to conduct research.

“The Chan Gunn Pavilion will create capacity to integrate IMS into the Division of Sports Medicine, and to expand research, teaching, and care into that technique and other therapies for sports injury and exercise-related health care,” said Dr. Gavin Stuart, dean of the Faculty of Medicine and UBC’s vice provost, health.

The new building will be located next to the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre on Wesbrook Mall. Construction is scheduled to start in December 2015, following final approvals, and is expected to take two years. The centre will temporarily relocate to the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health in July until construction is complete.

The centre’s current home for the past 35 years, situated in the middle of UBC’s athletic fields, will be torn down this summer to make way for the National Soccer Development Centre.

Gunn’s donation forms part of UBC’s start an evolution campaign, the most ambitious fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in Canadian history.

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