News release: Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit 2018 — April 5 highlights

OTTAWA — The University of Ottawa Heart (UOHI) and Heart & Stroke today open the second Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit. National and international leaders, knowledge users, and women living with heart disease 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. This year’s theme, State of the Heart, focuses on women’s heart health across the lifespan.  Summit delegates will return home armed with new tools and knowledge that will help reduce the impact of heart disease on women.

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

Today's highlights: Thursday, April 5, 2018

Keynote Presentation: Women’s Cardiovascular Health Across the Lifespan
9:10 to 10 a.m. 

In this Summit keynote Sonia Anand, MD, from McMaster University, looks at the current state of affairs in Canada, from the impact of cardiovascular health in pregnancy and the future health of offspring, to sex and gender differences for aging women and those within diverse ethnic groups.

Maternal Placental Syndromes and Cardiovascular Health
10:20 to 11:20 a.m.

  • The Maternal Health Clinic: An Initiative for Cardiovascular Risk Reduction in Women With Pregnancy-Related Complications
    Graeme Smith, MD, from the Kingston Health Sciences Centre, looks at pregnancy-related cardiovascular risk indicators and explains how to develop an action plan for affected women.
  • Clinical Management Guidelines: Hypertension During and After Pregnancy Kara Nerenberg, MD, from the University of Calgary, describes the clinical practice implications of recent Canadian guidelines related to high blood pressure during and after pregnancy.

Autoimmune Disease in Women: A Novel Risk Factor
11:20 to 11:50 a.m.

Paula Harvey, BMBS and PhD, from the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, looks into the role of autoimmune disorders on the atherosclerotic process, and its implications on cardiovascular risk in women.

Young Women: A Population at Risk
12:50 to 1:50 p.m. 

  • Premature Coronary Artery Disease in Women: Lessons Learned from GENESIS-PRAXY 
    Dr. Louise Pilote, MD, from McGill University, takes a look at: the differences between men and women in terms of presentation, process of care and outcomes of heart disease; women - specific conditions increasing vascular risk; and the differences between gender (psychological sex) and sex (biological sex).

  • Smoking and Young Women: Real Challenges and Distinct Opportunities
    Kerri-Anne Mullen, PhD, from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, talks about the effects of smoking specific to women, and the importance of cessation.

Cardiovascular Health in Indigenous Women: Current State of Affairs and Emerging Areas for Improvement
1:50 to 2:20 p.m. 

Marcia Anderson, MD, from the University of Manitoba, looks at heart health within a sociopolitical context: identifying priorities for assessing the quality of cardiovascular care and defining cultural safety and anti-racism as they relate to cardiovascular care for Indigenous women.

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


“There is still much to be done to raise awareness and promote cardiovascular health in women, and to identify the gaps in knowledge and care which affect Canadian women impacted by heart disease," said Thais Coutinho, MD, Chair of the Canadian Women's Heart Health Centre and Co-Chair, Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit. "The Summit is the largest conference in the world dedicated exclusively to the unique aspects of cardiovascular health and disease in women. It is truly a catalyst for change, with the ultimate goal of helping women live longer, healthier lives." 

“Women in Canada are unnecessarily suffering and dying from heart disease,” says Yves Savoie, CEO, Heart & Stroke. “By banding together – researchers, funders, health care workers, system leaders, governments, women with lived experience, and others – we can transform women`s heart health and give women an equal chance to survive and recover from heart disease.”

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 <<link to >> 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)