A ‘Global We’ to Take On Cardiovascular Disease

There's a vast gap in research, resources and outcomes across the world. One Canadian institute is finding collaborative ways to close it.

 |  Transcript [PDF]

Cardiovascular disease is the number one global cause of death, but it’s a bigger problem in certain parts of the world.

Thanks to collaborative work in different sectors, mortality from cardiovascular disease has decreased by 75 percent in high-income countries like Canada, the US, and the UK. Cardiologist Salim Yusuf credits academics like epidemiologists and basic scientists, and also industrial support for their part in producing innovative and effective drugs for the market.

Unfortunately, access to the same diagnostics and treatment is lacking in other countries.

“Most people do not know that 80 percent of cardiovascular disease occurs in low- and middle-income countries, yet practically no research is done there,” says Yusuf, Executive Director at the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI).

Researchers at PHRI want to bridge that gap and continue to partner with global collaborators.

“Here at the Population Health Research Institute, we work very closely as a team centrally, but we have a tightly knit network, around the world, of investigators, many of whom we’ve worked with for more than 30 years,” says cardiologist Sonia Anand.

“This is very satisfying both from a personal perspective — being able to relate with how people in many, many different countries live and work — and also on a professional level in that we really capture the characteristics of multiple populations around the world,” adds cardiologist Darryl Leong.

“This is a really unique opportunity.”

Treatment and early diagnosis are essential, but PHRI’s initiatives also include strategies to get ahead of cardiovascular disease with prevention.

“There is no doubt that public health initiatives are essential,” adds occupational therapist Jackie Bosch.

“Physical activity, nutrition, smoking cessation top the list, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need additional treatments when these fail or people are finding it difficult with these measures. We do need to do something to curb this issue, and we being a global we.”

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