Koka's family, friends and colleagues gathered in the Garden of Life for the occasion.
A press release from the Health Sciences North Foundation said his commitment and dedication to our community has been unwavering and passionate.
His tireless advocacy for health care, and in particular mental health care, has no doubt improved countless lives, the press release added.
Health Sciences North has chosen to recognize Koka and his many achievements in a way that provides others the opportunity to enrich their lives, just as he would want, the press release said.
The Garden of Life is located outside the main entrance at the Ramsey Lake Health Centre. It features a pergola, benches and a stone planter in the centre, in memory of Nina Grossi.
Gerry Lougheed Jr., who is on the committee leading the project, told Northern Life earlier this summer volunteers have fundraised to cover the $100,000 construction costs, but are looking for more donors to further enhance the garden. The project was originally announced about three years ago.
“I am humbled to have the Garden of Life built in my honour,” said Koka, the medical program director of the Mental Health and Addictions Program at Health Sciences North.
“This will be a place where patients, families and staff can go and sit in peaceful tranquillity, reflect on life and better futures, to find hope and strength to care and love for others. I will continue to advocate for the best care for our patients.”
“This is such an honour,” said Dr. Suman Koka, the psychiatrist's youngest son. “I can't wait to see the joy that it brings to the people in need. This is exactly what vision my father has for this garden.”
“The Garden of Life has been a project that I am proud to say I have been involved with for over a year,” said Jim Corless, past-chair of the Health Sciences North Foundation board of directors.
“As the plans were made, the trees were planted and the pergola erected, we watched as this once empty space was transformed into what it is today. The garden has truly been a collaboration of our community as companies and individuals have come forward to help to fund the construction.”