Women’s Cardiovascular Health Initiative

Advancing women’s cardiovascular health

About Us

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women in Canada, claiming a life every 20 minutes. Yet heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases are often undetected in women because they frequently have different symptoms than men. In addition, there is a persistent gap in scientific knowledge when it comes to women’s cardiovascular health.

The goal of the Women’s Cardiovascular Health Initiative is to close this gap in research, training and care, enabling the best possible outcomes for women.

group of women

Our Programs

Evidence-based medicine is an important piece of the puzzle for improving patient care. We aim to be a world leader in developing scientific evidence to fill the gaps in knowledge related to women’s cardiovascular health. By incorporating sex and gender considerations in all research within the Libin Cardiovascular Institute, we hope to better understand the unique challenges women face at all stages of their lives.

It’s critical that physicians and researchers are aware that individuals have unique biological sex and gender differences and that each individual needs to receive the right treatment at the right time for them. Our aim is to increase awareness about the need to incorporate sex and gender considerations in research to optimize patient care.

We are taking a practical approach to improving women’s cardiovascular health in Calgary by developing a Calgary-based  clinic. Health care providers at this clinic will follow the latest evidence-based medical guidelines in cardiovascular prevention, management and rehabilitation to provide patient-centred care. Besides providing top-notch care, the clinic will create an opportunity for researchers to connect with patients to better incorporate their experiences and voices into women’s cardiovascular health research.

We aim to help women better understand, and ultimately, take charge, of their own cardiovascular health. Women are empowered to improve their own cardiovascular health when they are aware of the unique challenges they may face. By connecting them with experts and supporting programs, we will improve their cardiovascular health outcomes. 

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee was created in early 2021 to ensure EDI best practices are incorporated into all aspects of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute. The guiding principle of the committee is to ensure that our members and the community we support can work, learn and heal in a physically and psychologically safe environment.

The goals of this committee are:

  1. To develop and assess EDI policies within the LCI context
  2. To implement and embed EDI best practices within the LCI.
  3. To advise LCI leadership when a breach of EDI or harassment policy occurs.

Dr. Michelle Keir created the committee to address areas of inequity within the Institute's clinical domain. In 2022, Dr. Keir was named the EDI Lead, and the Committee was expanded to cover the academic space to unify all EDI and harassment policies.

Completion of the CIHR's Online Training Modules: Integrating Sex & Gender in Health Research is a requirement for Libin Institute funding and scholarships. 

Our Team

Dr. Lauren Drogos

Dr. Lauren Drogos – Program Director

Dr. Drogos, PhD, coordinates the Libin Cardiovascular Institute’s Women’s Cardiovascular Health Initiative.  Her education and research background are in women’s health, with a focus on mental health and cognition. She received her PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Psychology, within the division of Behavioral Neuroscience. She has also completed postdoctoral training at the University of Calgary within the departments of Physiology and Pharmacology, and Psychology. 

Dr. Sofia Ahmed

Dr. Sofia Ahmed - Lead

Dr. Ahmed, MD, is a clinician-scientist and professor in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. She is the vice chair (Research) for the Department of Medicine, education chair and council member of the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences, lead of the Alberta Strategy for Patient Oriented Research Capacity Development Platform, and advisory board member for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Gender and Health. Dr. Ahmed is a strong proponent of the importance of mentorship and fostering excellence in the next generation of cardiovascular and kidney researchers.

We know there are disparities for women across the age cycle, and I think it is really important that physicians, and all women, are aware of these risk factors

Dr. Sandra Dumanski, MD

Sex and gender researcher