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New Research Program Investigates the Leading Cause of Death for Women

Vancouver, October 19, 2011 - Providence Health Care and the University of British Columbia (UBC) announced the establishment of the first research program in B.C. to focus on the impact of gender-based differences on cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke).

The UBC Heart and Stroke Foundation Professorship in Women’s Cardiovascular Health, held by Dr. Karin Humphries, will develop a focused and integrated vision for cardiovascular care, education and research for women throughout the province, including rural communities. The Professorship will be based out of St. Paul’s Hospital, which is known around the world for its work in the prevention of heart disease and for the care, treatment and support of people living with heart conditions.

Humphries will focus on researching the detection and early treatment of cardiovascular disease and finding new ways to improve the education of physicians, women and their families on heart disease and stroke. She will also develop strategies to improve outcomes for women at highest risk, including Aboriginal and South Asian women and those of poor socio-economic status.

Humphries is a leading research scientist at the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences (CHÉOS) at St. Paul’s and Associate Professor in the Division of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine at the UBC Faculty of Medicine with extensive experience studying gender-related differences in cardiovascular disease. She will be a national Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada spokesperson on women’s cardiovascular disease issues.

The Professorship, a partnership between St. Paul’s Hospital and UBC, is being supported through part of $1.25 million in one-time funding to establish cardiac fellowships that was provided by the Ministry of Health through Cardiac Services BC, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, and through a contribution of $500,000 from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.


Dr. Moira Stilwell, Parliamentary Secretary for Industry, Research and Innovation
“The Province of British Columbia is proud to support the health of women across the B.C. through the creation of the UBC Heart and Stroke Foundation Professorship in Women’s Cardiovascular Health at St. Paul’s Hospital. This Professorship marks an investment in reducing the burden of heart disease on women and their families as well as on our health care system, in addition to a commitment to retaining our most talented researchers.”

Dr. Karin Humphries, UBC Heart and Stroke Foundation Professor in Women’s Cardiovascular Health
“For decades, cardiovascular disease was considered a man’s disease, but the reality is that more women are dying of heart disease than men. Although evidence suggests that gender differences can affect the prevalence, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of cardiovascular disease, we haven’t seen enough research in this area of study.”

Dr. Gavin C.E. Stuart, Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Vice Provost Health, University of British Columbia
“The UBC Heart and Stroke Foundation Professorship in Women’s Cardiovascular Health at St. Paul’s Hospital is a crucial step towards improving the way cardiac services are managed and accessed throughout the province. Dr. Humphries’ extensive research in this field makes her the ideal person to lead the development of a focused and integrated vision for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular health in women in B.C.”

David Babiuk, Provincial Executive Director, Cardiac Services BC
“We have an exceptional leader, researcher and colleague in Dr. Karin Humphries, and we know that her work will have a positive impact on both the prevention of heart disease in women and the care of women with heart disease in B.C. Our support is on behalf of Cardiac Services BC, BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, two of the agencies of the Provincial Health Services Authority and the five regional Health Authorities who we partner with in fulfilling our provincial cardiac services mandate.”

Bobbe Wood, President, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
“Although heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in women, many women are not aware of their risk factors for and warning signs of cardiovascular disease. By supporting Dr. Humphries’ work, we hope to address this serious gap in knowledge in both the public and the health care community.”

Stephen Shapiro, President & CEO of St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation
“This Professorship further advances the world-leading research and innovative patient care that takes place at St. Paul’s Hospital through its roles as the provincial heart centre and an academic health science centre. On behalf of St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, I would like to thank Cardiac Services BC, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and all of the other donors who made the Professorship possible.”

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