Women and heart disease: actions to be taken now!

OTTAWA, April 18, 2016 -  National and international experts left the first-ever summit on women’s heart health with a common commitment that actions need to be taken now, by both women and health care professionals, to address the important issue of heart disease in women. The Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit, co-hosted by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, closed on Saturday in Ottawa.

The Summit was the very first step in building a pan Canadian network to deal with the issue of heart disease in women. Experts agreed that there is a sense of urgency to take action now, and that we must continue to raise awareness among women so that they become stronger advocates, and that heart health experts must do a better job at educating health care professionals. In that sense, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute is committed to take the lead going forward.

“The historic sharing of expertise on women’s heart health over the last few days from national and international experts has enriched the debate over this pressing health issue affecting our country,” said Dr. Andrew Pipe, Chief of the Division of Prevention and Rehabilitation at the Ottawa Heart Institute. “We must now empower women and health care professionals across Canada to take action and join the fight, so our mothers, sisters and daughters have the healthiest hearts in the world.

Over the last three days, a course was further charted for women’s heart health through stimulating dialogue among experts in the field, and synergistic strategies to reduce sex-disparities in cardiovascular disease prevention and management were devised to transform and save women’s lives through research, awareness and evidence-based care.

“Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women worldwide: we know that in some matters of the heart, women do not fare as well as men,” says Mary Lewis, Vice President, Advocacy and Health Promotion, Heart and Stroke Foundation. “By working together to leverage skills, innovations, and ideas we are charting a course for women’s heart health in Canada. Together we can – and will – transform and save women’s lives.”

“The summit has given me hope and confidence that this important issue will be addressed and that concrete actions will be taken” said Helen Robert, a survivor from spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). SCAD is a rare emergency condition that occurs when a tear forms in one of the blood vessels in the heart and its affects people aged 30 to 50 and affects women more often than men.

The Summit also awarded the 2016 Canadian Women’s Heart Health Advocacy Award to Dr. Sonia Anand (individual award) from McMaster University, and to Drs. Len Sternberg and Jennifer Price (team award) from Women’s College Hospital, for their remarkable visionary contributions as advocates for the heart health of women in Canada, through mobilizing others to increase awareness and take action to reduce women’s risk of heart disease. 


Judith Lachance
Promotion and Communications Officer
University of Ottawa Heart Institute
613-798-5555, ext. 17793
613-806-0188 (cell)

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