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Funded research

Canada is seeing an increase in the number of people who are physically inactive and dealing with obesity and diabetes − conditions that lead to heart disease and stroke. Investing in world-class research has never been more important. 

Millions of Canadians are at risk of heart disease and stroke, and will be, for generations to come. More than 50,000 strokes, 70,000 heart attacks and up to 40,000 cardiac arrests occur every year. Sadly, more than one in four deaths in Canada is due to heart disease or stroke. There is still so much to do to reduce death, disability, and for Canadians to live healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke.

In 2012, the Heart and Stroke Foundation invested more than $50 million in research, funding almost 1,500 researchers in medical institutes, universities, hospitals, and communities across the country. Over the past 60 years, this investment has totalled more than $1.35 billion in research support.

Read about how the Foundation

ADDING HEALTHY, QUALITY YEARS

Since 1952, the cardiovascular death rate in Canada has declined by more than 75 per cent – and nearly 40 per cent in the last decade – largely due to research advances in surgical procedures, drug therapies and prevention efforts.

1962  First heart unit Foundation researchers established the first-ever specialized coronary unit for hospitalized heart attack patients. This unique and focused approach has been adopted as the gold standard for care in hospitals worldwide.

1964 Blue baby surgery Foundation researcher Dr. William Mustard developed the first successful surgical procedure for correcting a congenital defect known as Blue Baby Syndrome.

1968 First heart transplant surgery As a result of research funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the first transplant was performed in Canada.

1968 ASA prevents stroke Foundation researcher Dr. Henry Barnett conducted the first clinical trial for the use of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) as prevention for stroke.

1980 Blood pressure hormone discovered A Foundation-funded researcher made a world-changing discovery when he found that the heart produces a hormone that helps to regulate blood pressure.

1997 Gene library More than 84,000 DNA sequences related to heart disease and stroke were mapped with major contributions from Foundation-funded researchers.

1999 Busting clots The Foundation funded research, education and advocacy that led to the use of the clot-busting drug tPA, which, if accessed quickly, can help erase the effects of a stroke.

2000 HOPE study The Foundation-supported Heart Outcome Prevention Evaluation (HOPE) Study confirmed that ACE Inhibitors (a medication that can help to lower blood pressure) significantly reduced the rates of heart attack and stroke.

2004 Heart attack risk factors discovered The Foundation funded part of the INTERHEART study, which showed that nine modifiable factors account for 90 per cent of heart attacks worldwide.

2010 Stroke risk factors identified Co-funded by the Foundation, the international INTERSTROKE study identified 10 modifiable risk factors that account for 90 percent of strokes, with high blood pressure posing the greatest risk.

2012 Test that predicts death after surgery A study co-funded by the Foundation discovered a simple blood test (troponin T) that identified patients at high risk of dying within one month of major surgery.

FUNDING EXCELLENCE

The Heart and Stroke Foundation ensures that all funds are awarded on an expert peer-reviewed basis. We enlist more than 2,000 national and international researchers to take part in the peer-review process every year. Our rigorous process assures that the Foundation funds only research that meets the highest standards of excellence.

BUILDING THE MINDS OF TOMORROW

The Heart and Stroke Foundation supports cardiovascular researchers through many stages of their careers, from summer medical studentships through to established scientists. Here are just some of the ways in which we fund researchers:

Research chairs and professorships
The Heart and Stroke Foundation partners with research institutions to fund large-scale, multi-year research chairs and professorships to foster life-saving research and advance breakthroughs. Here are the current chair holders:

Dr. Sonia Anand, McMaster University
Heart and Stroke Foundation / Michael G. DeGroote
Chair in Population Health Research

Dr. Harald Becher, University of Alberta
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, NWT & Nunavut
Chair
in Cardiovascular Research

Dr. Ken Butcher, University of Alberta
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, NWT & Nunavut
Professorship in Stroke Research

Dr. Norm Campbell, Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, University of Calgary
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada/CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health
Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control

Dr. Jafna Cox, Dalhousie University / Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia
Endowed Chair in
Cardiovascular Outcomes Research

Dr. Wayne Chen, University of Calgary
Heart and Stroke Foundation/Libin Cardiovascular Institute
Professorship in Cardiovascular Research

Dr. Andrew Demchuk, University of Calgary
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, NWT & Nunavut
Chair in Stroke Research

Dr. Henry Duff, University of Calgary
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, NWT & Nunavut
Chair
in Cardiovascular Research

Dr. Shaun Goodman, University of Toronto
Heart and Stroke Foundation/Polo for Heart
Chair at the University of Toronto

Dr. Michael Hill, University of Calgary
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, NWT & Nunavut
Professorship in Stroke Research

Dr. Karin Humphries, University of British
Heart and Stroke Foundation/University of British Columbia
Professor in Women’s Cardiovascular Health

Dr. Alan Katz, University of Manitoba
Manitoba Research Chair in Primary Prevention

Dr. Andrew Krahn, University of British Columbia
The Sauder Family/Heart and Stroke Foundation
Chair in Cardiology

Dr. Scott Lear, St. Paul’s / Simon Fraser University
The Pfizer / Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon
Chair at
St. Paul’s Hospital in Cardiovascular Prevention Research

Dr. Michael McGillion, McMaster University
Heart and Stroke Foundation / Michael G. DeGroote
Chair in Cardiovascular Nursing

Dr. Geoffrey Pickering, Robarts Research Institute, University of Western Ontario
Heart and Stroke Foundation/Barnett-Ivey
Chair at the University of Toronto

Dr. Kim Raine, University of Alberta
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and CIHR Institute of
Population and Public Health Applied Public Health Chair

Dr. Philip Teal, University of British Columbia
The Sauder Family / Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon
Professorship in Clinical Stroke Research

Dr. Sheldon Tobe, Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Chair in Aboriginal and Rural Health at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine

Dr. Yu Tian Wang, University of British Columbia
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon
Chair in
Stroke Research

Dr. Jeffrey Weitz, McMaster University
Heart and Stroke Foundation / J. Fraser Mustard
Chair in Cardiovascular Research at McMaster University

Dr. Salim Yusuf, McMaster University
Heart and Stroke Foundation / Marion W. Burke
Chair in Cardiovascular Disease at McMaster University

Vacant
Heart and Stroke Foundation / Robert M. Freedom
Chair in Cardiovascular Science at the Hospital for Sick Children

Vacant
Heart and Stroke Research Chair for Saskatchewan

TRANSFERRING KNOWLEDGE

The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s research leadership allows us to deliver science-based, up-to-date information about heart disease and stroke to Canadians and healthcare professionals in many ways:

Vascular 2013
This one-time Canadian event will bring four key Canadian conferences under one roof and mark an unprecedented educational and community-building opportunity for healthcare professionals.

Linking research and policy
Through our managed research cycle, the Foundation links research and policy. Scientific evidence and proven solutions inform and shape our health promotion and advocacy work. By funding and leading expert workshops, consensus conferences and think-tanks, we’re bringing together the best scientists and innovative thinkers to identify research priorities and the evidence required to move policy forward.

Last updated: February 2014