Cardiovascular Research Chair Aims to Impact Atlantic Heart Health

HALIFAX, Nov. 23 /CNW/ - Thanks to funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia, Fred and Elizabeth Fountain, Marjorie Fountain and the late Sheldon Fountain, as well as from the QEII Foundation, the Atlantic region now has its very first research chair in cardiovascular health. Dr. Jafna Cox, a noted cardiologist at Capital Health, director of research at the Division of Cardiology at Dalhousie Medical School, and long time Heart and Stroke Foundation funded researcher, has been named the inaugural chair holder of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia Chair in Cardiovascular Outcomes Research.

Each year in Nova Scotia, over 2,800 families are devastated by the loss of a loved one due to heart disease and stroke; cardiovascular disease claims 36% of all deaths, making it among the biggest killers in the province. Efforts are underway to find out why and begin the process of reversing these statistics with the appointment of the region's first research chair in cardiovascular outcomes.

"Cardiovascular disease is a major killer in Nova Scotia," said Chris Power, President & CEO of Capital District Health Authority. "If we're going to beat it and reduce the terrible impact it has on Nova Scotia families, we need ground-breaking research right here in Nova Scotia. We're very excited by the possibilities and opportunities that this new research chair will bring."

Funded by generous donations from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia, Fred and Elizabeth Fountain, Marjorie and the late Sheldon Fountain and other donors to the QEII Foundation, the research chair aims to lead both local and national cardiovascular research initiatives, attract new researchers to the field, and discover new ways to address heart disease and stroke.

"Nova Scotia faces many challenges over the next several years," said Dr. Cox. "Simply put, relative to much of the rest of Canada, we are burdened with higher rates of cardiovascular disease, a more rapidly aging population, and steeper health care costs. We need to begin to entrench health promotion, risk reduction strategies, and prevention methods. But we also need to become more innovative in the delivery of care, and any new approaches should be planned and assessed through the sort of inter-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder knowledge translation, effectiveness and outcomes research that this Province has proven we can conduct as well or better than anywhere else. Thus, whatever cardiovascular health care challenges are looming, we should see them as potential research opportunities to develop the means by which we, and others, can best meet them."

"We are pleased to partner with the QEII Foundation to make this research position a reality in Nova Scotia," explained Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia CEO Menna MacIsaac. "Today's announcement will ensure the Atlantic region is well positioned to address the challenges that lie ahead in the fight against heart disease and stroke and that patients and families receive the best care possible when they need it and where they need it."

"The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia Chair in Cardiovascular Outcomes Research is a great example of what we can achieve when we work together," said Dr. Tom Marrie, dean of Dalhousie Medical School. "Dr. Cox has already made a major impact on cardiovascular health in Nova Scotia, and with this chair he will be able to continue that work. Our goal is to reduce the mortality rate from cardiovascular disease in Nova Scotia to below the national average."

The appointment of Dr. Jafna Cox as Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia Chair in Cardiovascular Outcomes Research is the third such prestigious research chair to result from the QEII Foundation's Working Miracles capital campaign for health. Prior to Dr. Cox's announcement, Dr. David Hoskin was named the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - Atlantic Region Endowed Chair in Breast Cancer Research, and Dr. Louise Parker was appointed as Canadian Cancer Society Nova Scotia Division Chair in Population Cancer Research.

Endowed research chairs are catalysts for change, attracting others to the field of investigation and supporting growth of a dedicated research program. An endowment fund has been created to support the research chair, where the capital is invested in perpetuity and the income is used annually by the Chair holder to advance the research program. By creating this endowment fund in support of population cancer research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia, Fred and Elizabeth Fountain, Marjorie and the late Sheldon Fountain and the QEII Foundation are helping attract scientists of great distinction to advance medical research, right here in Atlantic Canada.

About the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia

For the past 50 years, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia has been building healthier hearts and lives in Nova Scotia. The Heart and Stroke Foundation (www.heartandstroke.ca), a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.

About the QEII Foundation

The QEII Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization established to strengthen health care at the QEII. The Foundation's mission is leading the spirit of philanthropy to enrich health care for Atlantic Canadians and in the process helps support the QEII's quest to become a world-leading haven for health, healing and learning. The QEII Foundation raises funds to support excellence in patient care through the purchase of state-of-the-art patient technology, promotion of professional education, advancement of medical research, and involvement with community-based disease prevention initiatives.

SOURCE QEII Foundation

For further information: For further information: Steve Jennex, Communications Director, QEII Foundation, (902) 473-5591, steve.jennex@qe2-hsc.ns.ca; On behalf of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia: Clare O'Connor, Full Picture Public Affairs, (902) 292-1380, clare@fullpicture.ca

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QEII Foundation

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Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia

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