Heart Disease :: New Heart Health Strategy to fight heart disease in Canada

“Cardiovascular disease remains our country’s biggest killer,” said Minister Clement. “Canada’s new government is following through on our promise to develop a heart health strategy. The strategy developed will ensure crucial information on prevention and treatment is available quickly and effectively to all provinces and territories. A new Heart Health Strategy will save lives.”

Canada’s new government will initially invest $3.2 million this fiscal year to support the development of Canada’s new Heart Health Strategy, and initial work on addressing hypertension and cardiovascular disease surveillance. This will increase to $5.2 million annually for future years.

The cardiovascular community across Canada is coming together with health officials to improve Canada’s response to cardiovascular disease as a country. Over the next two years, through the development of the strategy, experts and policy makers in heart health in Canada will identify priority areas for action.

Proposals for a new strategy will be developed and presented to the Minister by a steering committee of 20 to 30 expert members, chaired by respected cardiologist Dr. Eldon Smith. Dr. Smith is currently President and Director of the Peter Lougheed Medical Research Foundation, a national initiative to support excellence in health research in Canada.

“I am honoured to chair the Steering Committee, which I know will have a great impact on the health care system in Canada,” said Dr. Smith. “I am committed to working closely with key stakeholders to develop a comprehensive, integrated plan for cardiovascular health and disease over the next two years.”

In November 2008, the committee will report back to the Minister with recommendations and options for a comprehensive Heart Health Strategy.

“The development of a Heart Health Strategy will be closely aligned with the existing national strategies in stroke and diabetes, which will ensure that all aspects of cardiovascular disease are addressed to the benefit of all Canadians. That is what will make it so powerful, “said Carol Jillings, Chair, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Throughout the development of the strategy, input and participation will be sought from organizations with a commitment to improving heart health for Canadians. The intention is to bring together federal, provincial, and territorial government and leading heart health representatives in the development of this strategy.

“We are very excited by this unique opportunity to improve the health of all Canadians,” said Dr. Peter Lui, Scientific Director, Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, Canadian Institute of Health Research. “We must innovate together to find the necessary solutions to fight heart disease in Canada.”

The Public Health Agency of Canada will fund and support the Steering Committee in its work. The Agency’s activities include:

cardiovascular disease surveillance and collaboration with existing cardiovascular disease surveillance initiatives by provinces, territories and other stakeholders;

knowledge development, exchange and dissemination regarding hypertension; and

leading in the production of a Report on Heart Disease and Stroke every two years.

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