A $9-million investment in an initiative at McGill's School of Nursing was launched Monday –  and it is expected to translate into better patient care.

The McGill Nursing Collaborative Program for Education and Innovation in Patient and Family-Centred Care will focus on clinical research to help improve outcomes for patients and their families.

A unique partnership in North America, the program includes the McGill School of Nursing and the nursing departments of the MUHC and the Jewish General Hospital.

Practicing nurses are uniting with researchers, educators, graduate students and patient representatives to improve the quality of care in specific patient populations.

For example, one project has focused on helping new mothers with breastfeeding, while others have looked at helping teens with body image issues during cancer treatments. Another has dealt with managing pain in critically ill patients.

Entrepreneur Richard S. Ingram of the Newton Foundation and other partners have made a $9 million total investment in the project, with a goal of focusing on academic nursing in Montreal.

Ingram said the field is severely underfunded and often ignored by private and public funders.

“What we're trying to do as a foundation is help make Montreal -- not McGill, Montreal -- one of the top five metropolises in the world for academic nursing,” he said. “I would love it if a nurse, say 40 years from now, anywhere in the world, would know that Montreal is a great place to study, to teach, to practice. Wouldn't that be wonderful?”

Appreciative of the gesture, McGill has renamed its nursing school after Ingram.

Its director, Dr. Helen Ezer, said she believes the investment will allow nursing students to be involved in cutting-edge health care, positioning them for successful careers in Quebec and across Canada.

“What he's done is basically given us the funds to liberate practitioners so they can participate in the research projects, and act as educators as well for students. What this does is take the projects a little deeper, and a little broader,” said Ezer.

The investment will allow McGill to continue to provide a world-renown course for nursing, and continue to put forward research projects that will positively affect both nursing and the care patients receive.