The University of Ottawa Heart Institute’s values, strategic directions and enablers of success are all interconnected to support our mission and vision for the future.
In this annual report, we detail our progress in 2022-23 toward realizing that vision.
Navigating this report
Each ring of the wheel below links to a corresponding section of our annual report.
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A message from the chairman of the board
At the end of June, I will be stepping down as chairman of the board of directors of the Heart Institute. I have worn many hats over the years. I have been a patient. I’ve chaired the board of directors for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation. I have served on multiple committees. I have seen this organization go through good times and challenging times. Through it all, one thing has been constant. There is nothing more powerful than the support the Heart Institute receives from its community. There is nothing like it. I will always be proud to have been a part of the Heart Institute’s journey and its community.
Reciprocally, without the support of its many communities, the Heart Institute would not be the centre of excellence it is today. Helen Keller, who experienced and overcame many challenges, once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
This past year, with your support, we did a great deal to make a difference in our community. Patients in the National Capital Region and their families received outstanding cardiovascular care from the clinicians at the Heart Institute, who continue to collaborate and innovate to deliver the best of what medicine has to offer. More than 220,000 patient visits, either virtual or in-person, were recorded last year. These patients received world-class care.
All of our staff, nurses, doctors, researchers, technicians, specialists and volunteers are themselves a community. They are a dedicated and committed group of individuals with a range of experience, expertise and outlooks, who all share a similar passion and enthusiasm for patient care. The Heart Institute’s retention rate is exceptional. Day in and day out, it is the people of the Heart Institute who give life to its mission.
Patient care and research go hand in hand at the Heart Institute. Our research community is rich and vibrant. We believe research is where the next generation of patient care begins. This year, our researchers and scientists contributed 322 scientific publications and were successful in earning more than $26M in peer-reviewed grants. Congratulations!
Volunteers permeate and support all the different parts of the organization. They sit on boards, committees, patient care advisory groups; they run the Boutique, participate in in-patient programs and research, and they assist with fundraising. They are as vital to the Heart Institute’s success as the doctors and nurses providing care in the ORs and the researchers and scientists conducting studies in the labs. Everyone has a role to play.
I am enormously grateful for all our communities’ ongoing support. They are what makes the Heart Institute what it is. They make offering the best cardiovascular care to all who need it possible. They do it for the right reason. Thank you!
With great respect, gratitude, and admiration.
Paul C. LaBarge
Chairman of the Board
A message from the president and CEO
As president and CEO since 2014, and in my former role as head of the Division of Cardiac Surgery, I’ve had the great privilege to watch the organization grow over the years. To work alongside some of the world’s top talents in clinical care, research and medical education has been the most rewarding experience of my career.
It has been another extraordinary year for all of us. The pandemic, now nearly behind us, has had no significant impact on our day-to-day operations. However, we must continue to remain vigilant for the safety and wellbeing of our staff, our volunteers, and the community at large.
No matter your role in the organization, I thank you for your dedication, hard work, and your commitment to our shared vision to be a world-class, patient-centred heart institute in Canada.
Thank you to our community for championing our work and mission, for participating in and contributing to groundbreaking research, and for helping us in the delivery of high-quality care for the Champlain region and beyond. Our success is your success. The impact of our effort is strongest with your collaboration and support.
In this annual report, we reflect on some of the most notable initiatives and achievements from the previous year. There are so many wonderful stories to tell, we couldn’t possibly tell them all. Nevertheless, it is my hope that upon reading this report, you, too, will feel immensely proud of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
There is something special about this place. I cannot say it enough.
May the Heart Institute continue to be a beacon of hope for the people of Ottawa, the Champlain region, and around the world. It is my pleasure and privilege to be your president and CEO.
Dr. Thierry Mesana
President and CEO
Our strategic directions
“Further Together” is our promise to transform the unprecedented challenges of our time into opportunities for collaboration, innovation, and discovery – a path we’re forging toward better, faster, and more accessible health care for all.
We are proud to present highlights of our progress in 2022-23.
Consolidate interdisciplinary heart teams
Heart teams play a pivotal role in shaping the future of cardiac care locally, regionally, and beyond. At the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, these interdisciplinary teams are comprised of clinical experts from various cardiac subspecialties, including members from medicine, nursing, allied health, and research, all driven by our desire for collaboration and innovation.
Heart teams for patient-centred care, research and education
Our goal with heart teams is to improve patient care. Here is how heart teams are delivering on that promise.
The team improved patients’ access to care by decreasing wait times for positron emission tomography (PET), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) testing.
Using artificial intelligence, the team has demonstrated cardiac implanted electronic devices can be detected and identified from chest X-ray images, an achievement that makes it easier for specialists to determine whether the technology is working correctly.
Complex Coronary Revascularization
The team is pioneering the Ottawa Hybrid Coronary Revascularization Model, a minimally invasive surgery option for coronary artery disease treatment leading to reduced morbidity in patients for which this procedure is suitable.
The team has successfully implemented a new model of care for venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV ECMO) patients, a temporary mechanical assistance device allowing for prolonged cardiopulmonary support, including an internal education and certification program for specialists.
The Heart Institute has expanded its range of specialty clinics with support from the team to include services for amyloids, inherited myopathies, palliative care and pulmonary hypertension, all common conditions associated with patients of heart failure.
Valvular Heart Disease
As part of a longitudinal study, researchers and the team are working to expand the valvular heart disease registry and biobank facility at the Heart Institute, an initiative that will support a diverse range of research in the fields of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of valvular heart disease.
To improve hypertension care for our patients, the team is evaluating remote hypertension monitoring and management using a new and specialized tool.
Women's Heart Health
The team developed a clinical protocol for treating heart attacks in women with non-obstructive coronary arteries.
Expand our regional institute model
As an early adopter of telehealth technologies, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute has been reshaping the delivery of health care for more than two decades. We now offer a full range of patient-centric care services designed to work within the current environment in which we live. The result is a better, faster, and more accessible approach to health care than ever before.
Here’s how we’ve expanded our model to bring the Heart Institute to you.
Regional education program continues to improve cardiac care at Champlain area hospitals
Our regional education program provides ongoing support and education to healthcare professionals in the region. Sessions, delivered throughout the year help staff of partnering hospitals better understand and prepare for the care and management of heart patients. Presented below are three recent highlights:
We ran education sessions on changes to our CODE STEMI (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction) protocols to ensure the improved delivery of care for STEMI patients.
We launched the first annual “Regional Education Day,” a hybrid offering of presentations focused on rehabilitation, obesity guidelines and smoking cessation, among others. More than 200 participated.
We held the first “Women’s Heart Health Education Day,” which attracted more than 250 participants. Our hybrid program invited healthcare professionals and patient partners to participate and share their experiences.
Life-saving support to Newfoundland and Labrador
Eastern Health and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute have formalized an agreement to help ease the waiting list for cardiac surgery in Newfoundland and Labrador. As part of the deal, surgeons from the Heart Institute now provide professional and academic sessions for Eastern Health cardiac-care staff. Learn more on CBC News.
Educational webinars continue to reach patients and providers
HeartWise webinars cover an array of health topics related to cardiac wellness. New presentations are uploaded regularly, and past webinars are available to watch on demand. In 2022-23, we delivered over 18 webinars.
Improved access to your health and medical information with MyChart
MyChart now connects patients to nine partners in the region, with the recent addition of Deep River and District Hospital, Kemptville District Hospital and Winchester District Memorial Hospital.
Over the previous fiscal year, we’ve observed a 67% increase in active accounts initiated by our patients. Growth is attributed to an increase of MyChart demonstrations, the integration of MyChart for virtual visits, and the implementation of e-registration.
Focus research on precision medicine for better care
Clinical research, big data, women’s heart health, cardiac imaging, and genetics. These are some of the most significant focus areas for researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute today.
A year in research: The Research Beat Year in Review showcases and celebrates cardiovascular research excellence in Ottawa. It features success stories from researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, as well as from researchers engaged in cardiovascular research across the region.
Research by the numbers 2022-23
Research faculty, including 28 scientists and clinical scientists
awarded in peer-reviewed grants
published research articles
active clinical research studies
endowed fellowships awarded
Promote cardiac wellness with a focus on women’s heart health
The University of Ottawa Heart Institute offers programs, education and services for the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease risk factors to patients, families, healthcare practitioners, and the public.
Women are under studied, under diagnosed, under treated, and under aware when it comes to cardiovascular disease. That’s why, in 2014, we established the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre. Every day since, we have worked to narrow the gaps in care delivery and ensure women are as well informed and well cared for as men.
Premier quit-smoking event celebrates 15-year milestone
The Ottawa Conference: State-of-the-Art Clinical Approaches to Smoking Cessation celebrated its fifteenth milestone in 2023. It returned to in-person programming while continuing to offer the option to participate virtually in the conference.
Nicotine dependence webinars help patients to quit smoking
We introduced a weekly educational class targeted to patients and families of patients who use tobacco products or e-cigarettes. Nurses report those who attend the Nicotine Dependence Webinar prior to their first appointment have a better understanding of the behaviour changes required to quit smoking and are more aware of the pharmacology options available.
“Poison in every puff,” new quit-smoking campaign warns
Carolyn Bennett, Canadian minister of mental health and addictions and associate minister of health, announced in June 2022 that every cigarette sold in the country would soon carry a warning message aimed at curbing smoking, especially among young people. Learn more in coverage from The New York Times and The Globe and Mail.
A national strategy for women’s heart health
During the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, Thais Coutinho, MD, chair of the Canadian Women's Heart Health Centre at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, called for a national strategy to improve women’s heart health. Learn more in coverage by CBC News and La Presse.
A network for improved women’s heart health
Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation, the network works to improve the awareness of risk factors that disproportionately or uniquely affect women and will look to systematize processes for prioritizing and tailoring screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of CVD and its risk factors in women. Learn more in the Ottawa Citizen.
Five years of wearing red for women’s heart health
In February 2023, the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre and its National Alliance celebrated the fifth Wear Red Canada Day campaign in communities across the country to raise awareness for women’s heart health. In support of that important mission:
Wear Red Canada’s key messages are available in 14 languages, including American Sign Language and Quebec Sign Language.
Learn more in the 2023 report card.
Educating patients about women’s heart health and hypertension
We launched patient education groups focusing on topics related to women’s heart health and hypertension. Each session begins with a 30-minute presentation followed by a 30-minute Q&A opportunity.
Enablers of success
Technology and data, philanthropy, communication, infrastructure, staff and patients enable our success.
Technology and data
The Heart Institute has established a cybersecurity committee to strengthen and safeguard its networks.
Information technology teams have safeguarded networks via enhanced VPN controls and geo-fencing techniques.
We have expanded the use of our high-performance computing environment, facilitating research and leading to an increase in publications.
Jump In™ for women’s heart health
In September 2022, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation’s 30-day virtual fitness event went coast-to-coast-to-coast. With over two million hours of physical activity shared on social media, participants raised awareness about women’s heart health and important funds for the Heart Institute.
February is Heart Month
Heart Month is an annual opportunity for individuals, groups and businesses to raise funds and awareness for the Heart Institute while promoting the benefits of cardiovascular health. In 2023, the city glowed with support as businesses participated in the Light the Town Red initiative to raise awareness.
The Wilbert Keon Memorial Golf Tournament
This year marked the creation of the Wilbert Keon Memorial Golf Tournament. The event was held at Eagle Creek Golf Club in memory of the visionary pioneer and heart surgeon who founded the Heart Institute. A full roster of 144 golfers participated.
Heart Institute Foundation community report for 2022-23
Read the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation’s community report for more information about the contributions from the community and the allocation of funds.
Research chairs ensure continued success in care and research
The University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation has established three chairs to support life-saving care and research at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute: The Dr. T. G. Mesana Endowed Team Chair in Heart Valve Disease (Learn more in the Ottawa Citizen); The J. Earl Wynands Associate Chair in Cardiac Anesthesiology Research, and The University of Ottawa Heart Institute Chair in Cardiac Nursing.
Total page views
Social media growth*
Sessions from outside Canada
*Growth represented as a percentage over the previous fiscal year.
Media regularly turn to our healthcare professionals for their expertise on a wide range of important heart health topics. In 2022-23, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute appeared in over 550 articles published by verified print and online media. One of the most reported stories this year focused on the benefits of high-intensity interval training on cardiovascular health. Learn more in coverage by CNN Health.
The best of The Beat
These are our top five articles from 2022 as determined by page views.
The University of Ottawa Heart Institute's communication team works closely with other units, departments and divisions across the organization. Here we highlight how collaboration within the organization has helped us deliver on these projects.
To tell the stories transcending laboratory benches and shaping life-saving care at the patient bedside, we created Where Care Begins, a website that showcases the scientific priorities, heart teams and innovation hubs of the Heart Institute to the general public.
+Cardiology: Rare Cardiac Conditions Conference
In February 2023, the Heart Institute held its first annual, all-digital Rare Cardiac Conditions Conference. More than 40 local, national, and international experts delivered presentations. During the program healthcare professionals, researchers, and policymakers learned about the challenges and opportunities involved in understanding and treating rare cardiac conditions.
+Clinical: Educational publications for patients
Between April 2022 and March 2023, we produced 9 educational publications for patients and families.
Six handouts, two brochures, and one tool for patients with coronary artery disease.
State-of-the-art operating rooms and a modern pharmacy
The Heart Institute has finalized plans for a new electrophysiology (EP) laboratory and two new catheterization (cath) laboratories, the final step toward realizing state-of-the-art cath, EP and hybrid operating rooms. The Heart Institute is also modernizing its pharmacy infrastructure for improved patient care.
Open-heart and catheter-based procedures
Pacemaker and defibrillator implantations
*Growth represented as a percentage over the previous fiscal year.
**Results from Q4 of 2021-22.
Patient partners in health care
Patients and their families play an active role in shaping care delivery and facilitating research, making them essential to our continued success.
Last year, we registered more than 20 projects through the Patient Engagement Program. Teams of experts and more than 35 patient partners collaborated to improve everything from products to processes, including:
A pandemic plan review
An inclusion project
A prehab alcohol screening project
An aortic heart surgery patient treatment tool
Prediction models and patient decision-making tool for aortic valve replacement
Patient partners joined several committees throughout the organization, including the cardiac rehabilitation quality of care committee, the obesity guidelines committee, the patient educational materials task force, and the quality of care committee.
Our patient education materials task force reviews all requests to create or revise materials for patients, caregivers and their family members. Some of our reviews this year included the following materials:
Living Well as a Caregiver
Recovering from Your Heart Surgery
Stop Weight Bias and Stigma
Myths About Obesity
Alcohol Use After Cardiac Surgery
Our Patient Alumni Association works to connect and support Heart Institute patients, their families, friends, and caregivers. The association actively seeks opportunities to enhance understanding of heart conditions and treatments, to assist patients and caregivers in building support networks, and to integrate their perspectives into research and care.
Quality service in English and French
As a public service agency designated by the Ministry of Health under the French Language Services Act, the Heart Institute must guarantee access to quality services in French for designated services on a permanent basis.
Over the years, we have developed several ways to fulfill this important mission.
Active offer: We continued to distribute the "Je parle français" buttons to our bilingual staff throughout the year to help patients, visitors and staff find French-speaking support when they need it. We also worked closely with departments to facilitate the proactive offering of services in French.
Translation services: We processed 627 requests in 2022-23 – over 275,000 words – to ensure materials accessible to patients are available in both of Canada’s official languages.
French Language Learning Program: Last year, 34 learners completed a French-language training course to improve their reading, writing and speaking skills.
Hundreds of dedicated individuals
The collective strength of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute resides in the quality, skills, and dedication of hundreds of individuals, including those who serve on boards and volunteers. In April 2023, our team consisted of 1,650 administrative, clinical, and research personnel.
Joining our clinical and research teams
We are proud to have welcomed several clinicians and researchers to the Heart Institute family.
Rene Allard, MD
Colleen McFaul, MD
Melih Basar, MD
Ming Hao Guo, MD
Lawrence Lau, MD
Staff engagement, retention and recruitment
The Heart Institute has established a position dedicated to staff and employee engagement, retention, and recruitment. This new position works collaboratively to recognize staff achievements, to improve staff and employee wellbeing, and to promote the Heart Institute as a workplace of choice for cardiac care professionals around the globe.
Patients come first
By relentlessly demonstrating a strong commitment to world-class care and health promotion, our team creates a unique environment for our patients and their families, exceeding their expectations, and offering the best care through integrated clinical practice, education, and research in a bilingual setting. Continuing to improve care is essential to putting patients and their families first.
What began in 1976 as a single department in The Ottawa Hospital has flourished into Canada’s largest and foremost cardiovascular care centre.
Accreditation: In 2022, Accreditation Canada again granted the Heart Institute its highest designation: Accreditation with Exemplary Standing. Accreditation Canada evaluates the performance of health service organizations against national standards. These standards examine all aspects of care, from patient safety and ethics to staff training and partnering with the community.
The degree to which care, research, and education are increasingly integrated is a defining aspect of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Not only is teamwork and collaboration important to us – it’s essential to who we are.
We partner with other healthcare facilities, research institutions, universities, regional stakeholders, industry, and government in Canada and abroad. Thank you to all our partners.
The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is held accountable for the use of public funds. KPMG audits our financial statements yearly. We are transparent to all stakeholders, including all Canadians. We give taxpayers value for money by managing responsibly.
TOTAL REVENUE $267.5 MILLION