The University of Ottawa Heart Institute Patient Alumni Association was started by Mary Clinckett the former Head of Physiotherapy at the Heart Institute. She recognized a need for patients to be able to continue to be involved with the Heart Institute after being discharged — to be kept informed about heart disease, treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, as well as to give them an opportunity to contribute to the work and evolution of the Heart Institute. The Patient Alumni was formed in 1985 as a charitable organization. In 1989, a Board of Directors and Constitution were put in place to lead the work of the Patient Alumni Association. Since then more than 12,000 former patients and caregivers have maintained an association with the Heart Institute through the Patient Alumni.