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Dr. Robert Ohle appointed Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada/NOSM University Chair in Indigenous and Rural Health Research

Posted on October 16, 2023

Research to focus on cardio- and cerebrovascular disease with Indigenous and rural communities

Dr. Robert Ohle has been appointed Heart and Stroke Foundation/NOSM University Chair in Indigenous and Rural Health Research for a five-year renewable term.

Dr. Ohle will advance research on cardio- and cerebrovascular disease with Indigenous and rural communities, collaborate with Indigenous partners with an aim to build capacity in rural health across Ontario. Working in concert with Indigenous and rural research units, he will consult with elders, Indigenous leaders, health systems managers, government officials, and the public to better understand the challenges faced in these communities.

Northern Ontario has a higher rate of chronic disease than the provincial average. Leading efforts across a large geographic area with diverse populations, Dr. Ohle will promote a shared vision for cardio- and cerebrovascular disease research and share best practices and clinical guidelines to improve quality of care and patient outcomes.

“I am very humbled by the opportunity to work with Indigenous and rural communities to address health disparities in cardiovascular research. Through this position, I can combine my research skills and my passion for Indigenous and rural health to make a positive impact on health equity in Northern Ontario,” Dr. Ohle says. “This important research will make a difference for patients across the region.”

Dr. Ohle, who immigrated to Canada from Ireland, is the Vice-President, Academic and Research Impact, at Health Sciences North (HSN) and Health Sciences North Research Institute (HSNRI), an emergency room physician at HSN, and an Associate Professor at NOSM University. His previous work has involved developing national guidelines for diagnosing and treating acute aortic syndrome, and co-founding the Northern City of Heroes initiative, which aims to increase survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest through improved access to CPR training and AED utilization.

Strategic partnerships such as this are key to changing population health outcomes in Northern Ontario. The position was established in 2013 through a collaboration between NOSM University and Heart & Stroke.

“Heart & Stroke is committed to working in full partnership to advance health equity in Indigenous communities and meeting the challenges of health reconciliation,” says Dr. Lesley James, Director of Health Policy & Systems at Heart & Stroke. “With the support of our incredible partners, including Dr. Ohle and NOSM University, we can leverage learnings from new research to improve the heart and brain health of Indigenous peoples and rural communities in Ontario and beyond.”

“We are proud to support Canada’s next generation of heart and brain researchers and extend our congratulations to Dr. Ohle on his appointment as Chair.”

This announcement comes on World Restart a Heart Day, which is recognized annually on October 16. This global campaign aims to increase public awareness on cardiac arrest, the importance of learning CPR and how to use an AED to save a life.

About NOSM University
NOSM University is Canada’s first independent medical university and one of the greatest education and physician workforce strategy success stories of Northern Ontario. More than just a medical university, it was purpose-built to address the health needs of the region. While advocating for equitable access to care, the university contributes to the economic development of Northern Ontario. NOSM University relies on the commitment and expertise of the peoples of Northern Ontario to educate health-care professionals practice in Indigenous, Francophone, rural, remote, and underserved communities. With a focus on diversity, inclusion, and advocacy, NOSM University is an award-winning, socially accountable organization renowned for its innovative model of distributed, community-engaged education and research.About Heart & Stroke
Life. We don’t want you to miss it. That’s why Heart & Stroke has been leading the fight to beat heart disease and stroke for 70 years. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so Canadians don’t miss out on precious moments. Together, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy. @HeartandStrokeFor more information
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