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A research superstar who put patients first

Dr. Jack Tu leaves a legacy of innovation and caring
Dr. Jack Tu in front of a bookshelf

Heart & Stroke is mourning the loss of Dr. Jack Ven Tu (1965-2018), who passed away suddenly on May 30.

Jack was an internationally renowned cardiologist and scientist with expertise in medical epidemiology and health services research. A research superstar, his achievements are reflected in hundreds of peer-reviewed publications as well as numerous awards, including the prestigious Canada Research Chair in Health Services Research. But his greatest impact will continue to be seen in many significant improvements in patient care and healthcare services delivery in Canada and beyond.

The well-being of patients was at the centre of Jack’s work. He was responsible for several of Canada's largest, most comprehensive studies of cardiac patient care, many with research grants from Heart & Stroke. He also led the Ambulatory Care Research Team (CANHEART) study, which focused on measuring and improving community-based care for those with cardiovascular risk factors.

When Jack started his career at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) in the 1990s, one of his first assignments was to work with Heart & Stroke and other partners to examine gaps in stroke care across the province. This early work we did together led to the development of the pioneering Ontario Stroke System, now a model for stroke care around the world. And this work has evolved into today’s stroke system performance monitoring.   

Jack supported Heart & Stroke as a donor and as a valued advisor and volunteer. He was an inaugural member of the Heart & Stroke Council on Mission: Priorities, Advice, Strategy and Science (CoMPASS) and a collaborator on many other initiatives, including Heart & Stroke initiatives with Chinese communities in Ontario.

Jack had a great interest in improving the health outcomes of Chinese-Canadians and was a principal investigator on the Chinese-Canadian cohort of the Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds, a massive study aimed at uncovering how ethnicity, lifestyle and environmental factors impact our risk for developing chronic diseases including heart disease and stroke.

It’s obvious that Jack was a brilliant researcher but he was so much more than that to us — a friend, collaborator, mentor and colleague. Jack was thoughtful, kind and humble and a great supporter of patients as partners in research.

We send deepest sympathies to his cherished family — his wife Jane, son Eric, parents Jun-bi and Beth — as well as his extended family and many colleagues and friends. Heart & Stroke is honoured to have been selected to receive donations in memory of Jack.

We will miss you Jack.

Natalie Gierman is Senior Manager, Health Partnerships and Patient Engagement, at Heart & Stroke.

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