News release: Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit 2018 — April 6 highlights

OTTAWA – The University of Ottawa Heart (UOHI) and Heart & Stroke host the second Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit. National and international leaders, knowledge users, and women with lived experience are gathered in Ottawa to brainstorm strategies to eradicate the gap in women’s heart health, showcase emerging research − and hear the innovations in science, prevention, treatment and recovery.

What: Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit
When: Today, April 6 (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Where: The Westin Ottawa, 11 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa

Today's highlights: Friday, April 6, 2018

Risk Factor Management: Sex-Specific Considerations 
8:35 a.m. to 9:35 a.m.

Risk factors for heart disease – including high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol levels – impact women differently than men. Some also pose a greater health threat for women. How do risk factors affect women differently? And what does this mean for treatment and future health?  

  • High blood pressure
    Thais Coutinho, MD
    University of Ottawa Heart Institute and University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON 
  • Diabetes 
    Amel Arnaout, MD
    The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON
  • Cholesterol/Statins
    Todd J. Anderson, MD, FRCP
    Libin Cardiovascular Institute, University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB

Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention 2018: Contemporary Issues and Contemporary Approaches 
9:35 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Robert Reid, PhD, from the UOHI and the University of Ottawa, looks at cardiac rehabilitation in women, and strategies to increase their participation.

The Burden of Heart Disease: The Voices of Women
1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

Insights from women who have successfully recovered from heart disease and have a strong passion for supporting and helping others to become advocates within their own communities and networks. This session, moderated by Caroline Lavallée from Montréal, QC, will be streamed on Facebook Live.

Health Care Gaps for Women: Attributions to Sex Differences in Cardiovascular Medicine and Steps for Creating an Equitable Health Care System
4 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. 

In this keynote presentation, C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, reviews the evidence, and describes the issues and identified strategies related to healthcare equality and equity for women at risk or currently living with cardiovascular disease.

Women’s Heart Health Advocacy Award 
4:50 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The 2018 Canadian Women’s Heart Health Advocacy Award recognizes the contributions of an individual or group working to improve the heart health of women in Canada through advocacy, awareness, and support. The award recognizes the outstanding commitment in mobilizing women and health professionals to take heart health seriously and act to reduce women’s risk of heart disease.

The award will be presented to the winning individual or group during the closing ceremonies of the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit.

** See the summit program for complete list of presentations and workshops 


“Women across Canada deserve optimal cardiovascular care and a dedicated research strategy that identifies important gaps in women–specific science,” says Michele Turek, MD, cardiologist at the Ottawa Heart Institute and the Ottawa Hospital and Co-Chair, Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit. “I believe that this 2018 Canadian Women's Heart Health Summit will critically appraise these gaps, enhance awareness and will deliver much-needed strategies to ultimately improve cardiovascular health for women.”

“There is an urgent need to accelerate recent progress in order to equitably protect women’s hearts,” says Yves Savoie, CEO, Heart & Stroke. “There is still a glass ceiling when it comes to women’s heart health, and it will take all of us, working together, to break it down. The Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit delegates will return home armed with new tools and knowledge that will help reduce the impact of heart disease on women.”

Facts: Women's heart health
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of premature death for women in Canada (dying before reaching their expected lifespan) 
  • Every 20 minutes a woman in Canada dies from heart disease
  • Heart attacks are more deadly for women
  • Women are only half as likely as men to attend cardiac rehabilitation 
  • Nine out of 10 women have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke

Hosted by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and Heart & Stroke, the 2018 Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit takes place in Ottawa, Ont. from April 5-6, 2018. Building on the success of the 2016 Summit, the 2018 program brings together approximately 250 national and international experts and stakeholders to further advance women’s heart health. The 2018 theme, State of the Heart, focuses on women’s heart health across the lifespan.

Together, we will transform and enhance Canadian women’s lives through research, awareness, policy development and care. 


Judith Lachance
Promotion and Communications Officer
University of Ottawa Heart Institute
613-696-7000, ext. 17793
613-806-0188 (cell)