OTTAWA, February 9, 2023 — More than a million dollars has been allocated by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation to create a cardiovascular disease prevention and care network to improve the heart health of women. Experts at the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre (CWHHC) at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) are spearheading the project.
“Heart health is a critical issue that is taking the lives of Canadian women at an alarming rate,” said Yasir Naqvi, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre. “Better prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are essential to improving women’s health from coast to coast to coast. That’s why I’m pleased to see our federal government investing in better heart health for women across our community and country.”
“Any step toward closing the gaps to ensure women are as well-informed and well-cared for as men is a giant leap forward,” said Thais Coutinho, MD, head of the Division of Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation at the UOHI, and chair of the CWHHC. “We want to see more women living longer, healthier lives, more women being proactive about the management of their heart health, more women who can identify their risk factors and prevent heart and vascular disease, and more women who can identify the signs and symptoms of heart disease before it is too late.”
A women’s cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and care network will collaborate to improve the awareness of risk factors that disproportionately or uniquely affect women – for example, certain pregnancy-related conditions, autoimmune rheumatic diseases, and menopause. Understanding this, the network will look to systematize processes for prioritizing and tailoring screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of CVD and its risk factors in women.
“We now have the opportunity to lay much-needed groundwork for the important initiatives we envision for the future,” said CWHHC Program Director Kerri-Anne Mullen, PhD. “We encourage those who wish to learn more about women’s cardiovascular health to join us in wearing red on February 13 in recognition of Wear Red Canada Day.”
Funding to support the project is available through the Healthy Canadians and Communities Fund, which invests in projects designed to address health inequalities, encourage multi-sectoral participation in chronic disease prevention, and discover new ways to address chronic disease risk factors. The PHAC has awarded upward of $568,000 in support to the project, which the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation will match.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada is part of the federal health portfolio. Its activities focus on preventing disease and injuries, responding to public health threats, promoting good physical and mental health, and providing information to support informed decision making.
- The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is Canada’s largest and foremost heart health centre dedicated to understanding, treating, and preventing heart disease.
- The Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre at the UOHI improves women’s cardiovascular health across their life span by supporting clinicians, scientists, patients, and decision-makers to work collaboratively to implement evidence to transform clinical practice and impact public policy related to women’s heart health in Canada.
- The University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation is the bridge that connects the programs, facilities and people who save lives every day with the individual and corporate philanthropists in communities across Canada.
Leigh B. Morris
University of Ottawa Heart Institute
Public Health Agency of Canada