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Libin Institute introduces five year strategic plan

Submitted by dawn.smith on Fri, 04/28/2017 - 12:25pm
Fri, 04/28/2017 - 12:00

Dawn Smith/Libin Institute

The Libin Cardiovascular Institute has a new overarching research strategy.

The Institute, an entity of the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services that includes membership of more than 175 physicians and researchers, is releasing its Strategic Plan 2017-2022, which sets the Institute’s research and research training priorities over the next five years.

Institute Director, Dr. Todd Anderson, said the plan is a framework that addresses goals and strategies for research and research training/mentoring at the Libin Institute, which is responsible for the delivery and coordination of all cardiovascular research, education and care in Calgary and includes a referral base of Southern Alberta as well as parts of British Columbia and Western Saskatchewan.

“This Strategic Plan… is meant to provide focus for our vision and mission: to prevent suffering and premature death from cardiovascular disease and provide better patient care,” said Anderson, noting Libin Institute Deputy Director Dr. Anne Gillis led the development of the Plan after numerous consultation sessions with stakeholders that began in December, 2015.

The Plan’s two new research priorities are vascular health and disease and heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias), including autonomic dysfunction such as fainting.

The Plan embraces the idea that no treatment plan fits all and therefore places an emphasis on patient-centred precision medicine.

Vascular health not only encompasses heart problems like coronary artery disease and diseases of the aorta, but also conditions that may lead to heart disease, such as obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and high blood pressure.

According to Anderson, vascular disease remains the leading cause of death in Canada and contributes to problems such as heart failure, which is one of the top reasons for hospital admissions.  

The Libin Institute is also focusing on arrhythmias and autonomic dysfunction—including atrial fibrillation, sudden cardiac death and fainting disorders.  

Anderson said the Libin Institute has assembled an outstanding team of basic science, clinical and outcomes researchers in both priority areas.  

He sees this Plan as a way of taking advantage of the Institute’s strengths and providing opportunities to grow in these important areas.

Dr. Gillis is also excited about the new Strategic Plan, noting several new researchers have already been recruited to the Libin Institute as a result of the new priorities.

“Bringing in established and new young research investigators re-energizes the Libin Institute,” she said. “But we also want to build on the strengths and successes of our established investigators.”

She noted the plan focuses on discovery of new therapies, early detection of risk/disease and delivery of enhanced patient care.

Dr. Sofia Ahmed, the Libin Institute’s Director of Research, Training and Mentorship, said the Institute’s mandate of mentoring the next generation of researchers and clinicians will continue under the new Strategic Plan.

“The education piece is of critical importance,” she said. “You can’t grow or even maintain [excellence and innovation] if you don’t train people and launch them in their careers. Education and mentorship is the only way the Institute will continue to grow.”

Gillis added faculty renewal, retention and research training, as well as the core enabling platforms of the Libin, will continue to be keys to the Institute’s success.

These platforms include the Mozell Family Analysis Core Laboratory; the Stephenson Cardiac Imaging Centre; numerous clinical research groups; and APPROACH, which is one of the largest cardiac databases in the world.

Gillis said although the Libin Institute focused the Strategic Plan on research, the ultimate motivation is patients.

“At the end of the day, all of these research priorities come back to the patient and our success depends on expanding our relationships with the community at large,” she said.  

Click here to see the new Libin Institute's Strategic Plan 2017-2022.



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