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To limit the mental health impact that Intensive Care Units (ICUs) have on staff, patients, and families through increased communication, heartfelt gestures and an innovative electronic ICU journal program provided by university volunteers.




The ICU Bridge Program (ICUBP) is an initiative started on December 28, 2015 by two McGill students, Adamo and Milanka, in collaboration with Dr. David Hornstein, an internist/intensivist at the Montreal General Hospital Intensive Care Unit (MGH ICU). At the time, Adamo and Milanka were co-directors of the McGill Medical Direction Shadowing Program and had approached Dr. Hornstein to ask if he would be willing to let students shadow. Instead, Dr. Hornstein proposed the idea of a program meant to target the lack of patient communication in the ICU, a traditionally confusing and emotionally charged environment for both patients and family members. This program was meant to continue the mission of the Lauren Alexander Foundation of providing simple, heartfelt gestures to help alleviate the stress that family and friends experience when visiting their loved one in critical condition. Thus, the ICU Bridge Program was born.

What's Missing in Our ICU?

The hospital, and specifically the ICU, can be an intimidating and emotional environment. Visitors trying to find their loved ones in critical condition are often met with empty desks and phone calls that remain unanswered.


We're missing a human touch!


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December 2015 — ICUBP is founded

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Winter 2016 — The program began with 14 McGill students who volunteered and shadowed in the Montreal General Hospital ICU

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Fall 2016 — The program has grown further to include the Jewish General Hospital Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit (MSICU) and over 70 volunteers between the MGH and JGH.

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Winter 2017 — the program now includes the Royal Victoria Hospital Intensive Care Unit (Glen Site) and over 130 bilingual volunteers from the University of McGill, Concordia, and UdeM volunteer & shadow in our ICUs.


Fall 2018 — The program has grown further to include Montreal Children's Hospital Intensive Care Unit 

By the Numbers

4 Hospitals, 99 beds, 700+ staff

650+ interviewed & trained volunteers

30,000+ hours volunteered

160+ Volunteers from over 7 different universities, including: McGill, Concordia, UdeM, Bishop's, UdeLaval, UQTR, and UQAM as well as exchange students from across the globe

An estimated 20,000 patients & families yearly

Over $14,000 raised since May 2018




Principal's Prize for Public Engagement Through Media: Collaboration Prize Finalist

March 2020


More information coming soon!

Semi-Finalist for McGill's Dobson Cup

February 2018


The executive team pitched the ICUBP in the semi-finals of McGill's Dobson Cup on February 21, 2018 in the Social Enterprise category.​ McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship

Forces Avenir

September 2018


The ICU Bridge Program was recognized for its student engagement and awarded $4000 (September 26, 2018) as a winner in the health category.

Read Mcgill Reporter on the results:

McGill University Red & White Community Impact Award

April 2016

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The Red & White award recognizes projects implemented by McGiIll graduating students that have had a significant positive impact on the community at large.​ With the immense support of the McGill community, the ICU Bridge Program was declared the recipient of the Red & White Community Impact Award in 2016.


McGill’s Science Undergraduate Society’s Academia Week Poster Showcase

February 2020

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The ICUBP's Adamo Donovan, Tarek Taifour, and Adrian Goin present the all elements of the program during SUS's Academia Week poster showcase. See the poster here:

CBC Radio (The Sunday Edition): How students are making hospital intensive care units less intense for patients and their families

November 2019

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Dr. Hornstein and Adamo Donovan speak to David Gutnick about inspirations and the story behind the creation of the ICU Bridge Program. Read / listen here:

The story was also shared by the Society of Critical Care Medicine, among others:

JGH News & CIUSS 360: Student Volunteers Embrace Emotional Intensity of Intensive Care

May & October 2018


One of our volunteers and members of the executive team, Rabbia Tariq, is featured in the JGH news and talks about her incredible impact on a JGH ICU patient: and

LaPresse: Intensive care - a journal to relearn your life

December 2019


With a troubled memory, Anne Gratton is able to recall and patch the course of her hospitalization thanks to a journal filled out by her relatives at her bedside and the staff of the intensive care unit of the Montreal General Hospital:

CIUSS 360: ICU Journals & Olivia Frank

February 2019


Medicine in the Air: Your weekly dose of med talk!

November 2017

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ICUBP co-founder, Adamo Donavan, speaks to host of Medicine in the Air, Fardad Jabbary, about the ICU Bridge Program on November 19, 2017.

McGill's 2nd International Congress on Whole Person Care

February 2017


The ICUBP is grateful and proud to have been invited to McGill's 2nd International Congress on Whole Person Care: Dr. David Hornstein gave a presentation talking about the Lauren Alexander Foundation and the ICU Bridge program, and some of our Executive team and volunteer members were present to answer questions.

Dr. David Hornstein speaks about the ICU Bridge Program at McGill's 2nd International Congress on Whole Person Care:




We're bringing back the ICU Bridge Program newsletter! Check out the October edition here to find out about what the ICUBP is up to. Sign up above to receive our future newsletters!

Volunteer & Staff Experiences

Volunteer & Staff Experiences

Anonymous Volunteer Testimonials

"I was fortunate enough to meet some of the orderlies and nurses, who were extremely friendly, and some would allow us to take more responsibility and to step inside the room, explain to us what was happening and show us what each equipment is called and how to use it.

"This is the most hands-on program in healthcare out of McGill's plethora of med-related clubs/programs. The program integrates shadowing, which is not a feature of any other volunteering program at McGill, and I would do 9 semesters if possible so that I could truly get a feel of what working in a hospital is like!

"I feel so lucky to have started volunteering and shadowing with the ICU Bridge Program during the first summer of its operation. Getting to know the Montreal General Hospital ICU staff and the families/friends of patients has been an enjoyable, growing experience. I've learned so much from shadowing the excellent medical professionals of the MGH ICU and from manning the little desk at the front of the waiting room. I look forwards to every day that I work for the ICU Bridge Program. I highly recommend applying to the ICU Bridge Program to everybody I know who is considering a career in healthcare and is interested in making a making the lives of patients' families (and subsequently patients') experiences at the ICU."

Anonymous Staff Testimonials

"The kindness and empathy they display when encountering family members presenting with anxiety, distress about their family member in the ICU and waiting to enter the 'unit'. Simple gestures, simple words, offering a box of Kleenex/tissues....

"Quality program - screening of students is very well done they are all mature enough to do this work. The students are also interested and implicated - at least the ones I have met.

"Thank you for your support and never underestimate les petits gestes, they mean a lot to families!"

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Angela Lo & Massimo Di Iorio (Senior Cle
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