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Prof. Salim Yusuf

Salim Yusuf, Distinguished University Professor of Medicine, and Executive Director of the Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University and Chief Scientist, Hamilton Health Sciences. Immediate Past President of the World Heart Federation

Salim Yusuf is an internationally renowned cardiologist and epidemiologist, whose work over 35 years has substantially improved the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, thereby benefiting millions of people. Medically qualified in Bangalore 1976, he received a Rhodes Scholarship and obtained a DPhil from Oxford, during which he (along with Richard Peto and Peter Sleight) initiated the concepts of large, simple trials, and meta-analysis. He coordinated the ISIS trial (which set the structure for future international collaborative work in cardiovascular disease) that demonstrated the value of beta-blockers in myocardial infarction, and served on the steering committees for all subsequent ISIS trials including the landmark ISIS 2 trial that showed that both thrombolytics and aspirin reduced mortality in AMI.

In 1984, he moved to the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, where he developed and led the SOLVD trial (establishing the value of ACE-inhibitors in heart failure and LV dysfunction) and DIG trial (clarifying the role of digitalis). Both of these are the first large trials in heart failure and served as the model for subsequent major trials in heart failure resulting in substantial improvements in mortality.

In 1992 he moved to McMaster University as the head of the Division of Cardiology, subsequently becoming the Vice-President of Research, and the Founding Director of the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) at Hamilton Health Sciences, where he has established an international program of research in cardiovascular diseases and prevention. His therapeutic trials have established the roles of ACE-inhibitors in CVD prevention (the HOPE study), dual antiplatelet therapies in acute coronary syndromes (the CURE study), novel anti-thrombotics and invasive interventions. The PHRI was recently cited by SCImago as having the 7th highest impact in the world (and highest in Canada).

His epidemiologic work in over 80 countries in all the inhabited continents of the world shows the majority of risks of both heart attacks (INTERHEART) and strokes (INTERSTROKE) are attributable to the same few risk factors thereby simplifying prevention of CVD globally. He currently leads one of the largest studies exploring the role of multiple levels of influences (societal, policy, health behaviour, risk factors, health systems) on the development and outcomes after CVD and other non-communicable diseases among 200,000 people from 800 communities in 25 high, middle and low income countries in 5 continents (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology: PURE study).

Over the last 3 decades he has built capacity for clinical and population research across the world by establishing networks involving over 100 sites in 85 countries, spanning all inhabited continents of the world. He has trained over 100 researchers, many of whom are internationally renowned leaders in medical research. He has helped develop major research institutes or programs in Canada, India, Argentina, Brazil, S. Africa, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and China.

He holds a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario Research Chair, was a Senior Scientist of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (1999-2004), and has received the Lifetime Research Achievement award of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, the Paul Wood Silver Medal of the British Cardiac Society, the European Society of Cardiology Gold medal, the American Heart Association Clinical Research Award, the Eugene Braunwald Lecturer of the American College of Cardiology in 2014, and over 50 other international and national awards for research. He has been inducted into the Royal Society of Canada, appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada, in 2014 he received the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award, and was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Wroclaw, Poland, and from the University of Goteborg, in 2015.

He has published over 1000 articles in refereed journals, was the second most cited researcher in the world for 2011 and has several times been in the top 20 cited scientists. His h-index is 179 (157,305 citations Thomson Reuters), 209 (221,794 citations Google Scholar). He is the Immediate Past President of the World Heart Federation, where he has initiated an Emerging Leaders program in 35 countries (goal of >100 countries) to build capacity for implementation of evidence into practice, and the Roadmaps program to reduce the CVD burden globally within a generation.

He was elected a Fellow of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences 2017.