Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre Officially Launches

Centre to address disparities in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in women

OTTAWA, November 7, 2014 – The first-ever Women’s Heart Health Centre in Canada was launched today by the Ottawa Heart Institute. Dedicated to ensuring that women are well-informed and well-cared for when it comes to heart disease, the new Centre will seek to improve care, raise awareness and deepen knowledge of heart disease. Research will specifically target women and draw on the expertise of world-renowned experts.

Men and women exhibit definite differences when it comes to heart disease. While cardiovascular disease is on the decline among men, it is rising among women and is the number one killer of women over 35 years old, accounting for more deaths each year than all cancers combined.

“The landscape of women and heart disease has evolved greatly over the years, but efforts still need to be made in addressing the lack of public and professional awareness of women’s coronary risk,” said Dr. Michele Turek, Medical Advisor for the Canadian Women Heart Health Centre. “We must address this important challenge and correct misperceptions concerning the incidence, prevalence, and significance of cardiovascular disease.”

Much of what we know about the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease is based on research in men. But women experience it differently in many ways. These differences are important as they can affect how heart disease presents itself, how rapidly it’s diagnosed and the way it is treated. It also affects survival rates as women are 50 per cent more likely than men to die within the year following a heart attack.

“The University of Ottawa Heart Institute has been pioneering practical prevention programs that have contributed to improving the health of many Canadians,” said Dr. Thierry Mesana, President and CEO of the Ottawa Heart Institute. “Our team is now committed to keeping our mothers, wives, and daughters in good health, and with strong, caring hearts.”

In order for all Canadian women to take control of their heart health, the Centre will be partnering with health providers and primary care practitioners across Canada to offer practical programs including:

CardioPrevent®, a screening and counseling program offered to women at risk of heart disease and their families, is designed to  reach individuals who do not yet have cardiovascular disease but are at higher risk due to genetic or lifestyle factors.

The Virtual Care Program, an online cardiovascular health management system, will provide strategies and resources for the control and management of heart disease risk factors for women at risk and women with established heart disease.

The Women@Heart Program, a peer support program for women with heart disease, led by women who have successfully recovered, will offer a caring environment for women to learn from each other and provide them with access to emotional and educational support.

Finally, the Post-Pregnancy Risk Program will offer a unique opportunity to identify new mothers who are at increased risk for future cardiovascular disease as a result of preeclampsia during their pregnancy.

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As Canada’s largest and foremost cardiovascular health centre, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute is dedicated to understanding, treating, and preventing heart disease. We serve the local, national, and international communities as we pioneer a new era in heart health.


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University of Ottawa Heart Institute

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