Canada's First Research Chair in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Chosen

Vancouver, November 20, 2009 — Renowned B.C. kinesiologist and heart disease researcher Dr. Scott Lear is the inaugural recipient of the Pfizer/Heart and Stroke Foundation Chair in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Research at St. Paul's Hospital, established in partnership with Simon Fraser University (SFU).
Funding from this $4.6-million endowed chair will allow Dr. Lear to move his internationally renowned research program into a patient care setting, where he will have daily interaction with clinicians and patients. Working at the Providence Heart + Lung Institute based at St. Paul's Hospital, he will investigate why people get heart disease and what they can do to prevent or manage it.

“We're excited to have Scott in this position and anticipate this Chair will elevate his already remarkable work to make SFU a leader in this area and further the work of the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul's Hospital,” says Dr. John O'Neil, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU.

Dr. Lear is a leading researcher in the area of cardiovascular disease in Canada. He has conducted several high-profile studies demonstrating the disparities in heart disease risk across different ethnic communities. Dr. Lear is also responsible for developing an internet-based cardiac rehabilitation program which provides prevention strategies that allow rural patients to receive care in their own homes. This program has helped contribute to improvements in patients' cholesterol, blood pressure and body weight measurements. The additional funding will allow Dr. Lear to further explore how technology can help break down geographical barriers to prevent heart disease and provide tailored treatments for different populations in Canada.

“Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in British Columbia, Canada and most countries throughout the world, yet much of this is preventable,” explains Dr. Andrew Ignaszewski, Division Head of Cardiology at St. Paul's. “With our aging population, it is essential to focus on prevention to improve quality of life for patients and reduce the impact on the health care system.”

The chair was established in 2007 with $1.25 million from Pfizer Canada, $1.128 million from St. Paul's Hospital Foundation, including $1 million from an anonymous donor, $750,000 from Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon and $1.5 million from SFU.

“This position, with Dr. Lear's leadership, will serve as a catalyst to further much needed research into the prevention of cardiovascular disease at the population level and recruit additional expert researchers in the field to advance research and ensure inclusion of cardiovascular disease prevention measures into clinical practice and health policy decisions,” says Dr. Bernard Prigent, Vice-President of Medical Affairs at Pfizer Canada.

“We are very excited about the establishment of this Chair,” says Ms. Bobbe Wood, President and CEO of Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon. “It ensures the advancement of research and that its application and the promotion of healthy living will be pushed to an even higher level.”

“The leadership contributions from SFU, Pfizer Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the anonymous donor to St. Paul's Hospital Foundation for this Chair will have a dramatic impact on heart disease prevention at St. Paul's Hospital and SFU, improving the health of people in B.C. and beyond,” says Stephen Shapiro, President & CEO of St. Paul's Hospital Foundation. “On behalf of the St. Paul's Hospital Foundation, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to our donors and partners for their leadership and generosity.”

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Media Contacts:

Erica Branda
Simon Fraser University

Leah Lockhart
Providence Health Care

Julie-Catherine Racine

Pfizer Canada

Susan Pinton
Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon


About the Chairholder, Dr. Scott Lear
Dr. Lear completed his undergraduate education at SFU in Kinesiology and a PhD degree in cardiovascular disease research at the University of British Columbia. Since then, he has established an internationally renowned research program in British Columbia. He holds multiple competitive grants and awards, including support from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU
The Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) was launched in 2004 to create a new type of health faculty that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators, health professionals, students and the community. Its purpose is to train leaders to understand and to create new knowledge about the multiple factors that shape health over a lifespan and to apply this knowledge to develop healthy public policy. The FHS is innovative and embraces an environmental approach that recognizes the interactions and relationships among many determinants of health.

FHS is Canada's largest and only independent Faculty of Health Sciences with a focus on population and public health. The establishment of this new faculty represents a major commitment by Simon Fraser University to expanding research and education in the health sciences.

Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul's Hospital
The only organization of its kind in Canada, the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul's Hospital (HLI), unites all of Providence Health Care's heart and lung research, education and care programs under one umbrella. Home of the provincial Heart Centre, the Institute's cardiac program provides a full spectrum of cardiac care—from research and prevention, to treatment, care and rehabilitation. HLI also works in partnership with the Centre of Excellence for Prevention of Organ Failure (PROOF Centre), anchored at St. Paul's, which is devoted to identifying biomarkers of risk, presence and progression of heart, lung and kidney failure. For information, visit

St. Paul's Hospital Foundation raises funds to support inspired care, research and teaching at St. Paul's Hospital, a leading academic health science centre in Vancouver, Canada.

Pfizer Canada Inc.
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., the world's leading biopharmaceutical company. The company is one of the largest contributors to health research in Canada. Our diversified health care portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the world's best-known consumer products. Every day, Pfizer Canada employees work to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. We apply science and our global resources to improve the health and well-being of Canadians at every stage of life. Our commitment is reflected in everything Pfizer does, from our disease awareness initiatives to our community partnerships, to our belief that it takes more than medication to be truly healthy. To learn more about Pfizer's More than Medication philosophy and programs, visit To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit

Heart and Stroke
The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy. Health education and research findings are helping to reach our vision: Generations free of heart disease and stroke.