When we beat as one, we accomplish so much.
Thanks to the generosity of donors and volunteers, in fiscal 2022, Heart & Stroke invested $24.2 million in life-saving research and $31 million in advocacy, health promotion and community programs.
Here are some of the achievements our donors and volunteers made possible in 2022:
1. Investing in life-saving research
Problem: Despite many research breakthroughs, much work remains to be done in the fight to beat heart disease and stroke. Every five minutes, someone in Canada dies from heart disease, stroke or vascular cognitive impairment.
The cause is urgent: More than 3.5 million people across the country of all ages, ethnicities and genders are living with heart disease, stroke and vascular cognitive impairment. And this number is on the rise as Canada’s population ages and more people are diagnosed with these conditions at a younger age.
Solutions: We spur innovation, accelerate the translation of knowledge into action and support the next generation of heart and brain researchers across Canada.
Here are just a few examples of the groundbreaking research and lead investigators you supported in 2022:
- A pacemaker innovation led by Dr. Jacqueline Joza that could prevent heart failure
- A breakthrough discovered by Dr. Ren-Ke Li that can regenerate damaged tissue after a heart attack
- Progress against challenges such as high cholesterol and atrial fibrillation – both key risk factors for stroke
Also in 2022, your gifts supported the first ever $5 million Heart Failure Research Network grant, which will fund a team of 100 researchers led by Dr. Jean Rouleau at the Montreal Heart Institute from across Canada working together to improve prevention, detection and management of heart failure. This major award leverages Heart & Stroke donor dollars through a partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Mitacs.
Through partnerships like this, Heart & Stroke has put its focus on collaboration and increased mission impact. Together with our partners, we have a broader reach and the ability to launch strategies that can multiply our impact when funding and supporting breakthrough research.
- Learn more about how your donations support research breakthroughs.
2. Working to improve health equity
Problem: Studies have shown that different communities in Canada experience unique challenges in accessing treatment, diagnosis and support. Some face a greater risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
Solutions: Through our health equity strategy, we are committed to working alongside community partners to close gaps in diagnosis, treatment and care so all people in Canada can achieve optimal health outcomes.
Here are some of the milestones you supported in 2022:
Closing the gender research gap in heart and brain health: In 2022, we focused on developing the next phase of our women’s heart and brain health initiative (launched in 2016), including the formation of a new international initiative, the Global Cardiovascular Research Funders Forum, which seeks to address women’s health inequities.
This phase builds on five years of progress, including:
- Mobilization of $10 million in funding for women’s heart and brain health research
- Increased public awareness of women’s unique risk factors and symptoms
- Catalyzing efforts to transform heart and brain care for women, engaging healthcare stakeholders and women as active partners.
Over the next few years, we will continue to put women’s health equity on the radar of all people in Canada so that every woman can get access to the support and care they need when it comes to their heart and brain health.
Empowering Indigenous communities with brain and heart health knowledge: In 2022, your gifts supported several initiatives, including many created in partnership with Indigenous-led organizations, aimed at sharing knowledge and tools with Indigenous communities to lower the risks of developing diseases and to lead healthy, active lives.
Our HeartSmart Kids™ program, a trusted and engaging set of online resources for educators, students and families created in partnership with Indigenous organizations and communities, marked National Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2022 with a new storytelling series, Holistic Health and the Healing Aspects of Musical Expression. In 2022, HeartSmart Kids™ reached more than 450 educators and 14,000 Indigenous students and families in 334 schools and community settings across the country.
3. Promoting health to reduce risk factors
Problem: Nine in 10 people in Canada have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. While some cannot be modified, many can be through healthy eating, regular physical activity and other behaviours
Solutions: Heart & Stroke is committed to helping people in Canada live healthier lives by creating and promoting healthy environments.
Here is some of the progress you supported in 2022:
Jump Rope for Heart: Heart & Stroke’s Jump Rope for Heart, active in schools across Canada, brings together students, teachers and families to learn about healthy habits while raising funds to support Heart & Stroke’s mission. In 2022, 475,000 students in 1,900 schools across Canada participated in the program.
Influencing healthy public policy: Heart & Stroke advocacy efforts resulted in key legislative and policy changes, including:
- Protecting youth and adults from nicotine: Legislative changes introduced in 2022 included a new 20% tax on vaping products in Saskatchewan and a comprehensive ban on flavoured vaping products in the Northwest Territories. New federal regulations to revise tobacco health warning messages and place warnings directly on cigarettes will make Canada the first country in the world to introduce these types of health warnings.
- Restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods to kids: As a champion of the objectives of the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition, Heart & Stroke was pleased to see new regulations in Health Canada’s 2022 regulatory plan, which would restrict the marketing of food and beverages high in sodium, sugars and saturated fat to children.
- Helping people in Canada make more informed food choices: Heart & Stroke has long advocated for clear, visible and easy-to-read front-of-package nutrition labelling to help Canadians to make healthier food choices. In June 2022, Canada’s Minister of Health announced the adoption of front-of-package nutrition labels to appear on food and beverages that are high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat. This policy is critical because Canadians continue to consume large amounts of ultra-processed foods that add excess sodium, sugars and saturated fat to their diets and increase their risk of chronic disease.
Helping people manage their health: Heart & Stroke partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart to offer five programs through the PC Health App, aimed at preventing and managing high blood pressure while increasing awareness of the condition. These programs have reached over 75,000 users since May 2021.
4. Saving lives
The problem: Too many people in Canada are dying from heart disease, stroke and vascular cognitive impairment — one person every five minutes.
Solutions: As a trusted leader in health education, Heart & Stroke is proud to work with health professionals and the public to equip them with the latest, evidence-based knowledge and tools to save lives and improve outcomes from heart disease and stroke.
2022 accomplishments made possible by your support include:
Improving survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: Heart & Stroke is committed to improving survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest by 50% by doubling the CPR bystander response rate and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs). This year:
- Our network of over 8,500 instructors trained more than 360,000 people on how to provide emergency cardiovascular care and first aid.
- We developed a team-based, gamified CPR and AED learning program designed to help people overcome their fear to act quickly when they see someone in cardiac arrest.
Update of Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations: The Canadian Stroke Best Practices Recommendations (CSBPR) are the gold standard of stroke care and a key driver of systems change and delivery of high-quality stroke care in Canada. In 2022, Heart & Stroke published the seventh edition of the Virtual Stroke Rehabilitation module. Throughout the year, our Canadian Stroke Best Practices website received over 575,000 page views.
Public Awareness of Heart Failure: In February 2022, Heart Month 2022 was dedicated to increasing heart failure awareness, through our first public awareness initiative as part of the Heart Failure Action Plan. 36.1 million people were reached through earned media coverage, and the report was broadly distributed across Canada.
Raising awareness of stroke signs: Across Canada, Heart & Stroke champions our signs of stroke awareness campaign, FAST (Face, Arms, Speech and Time). In 2022, our awareness campaign generated an estimated 473 million impressions through public service announcements on TV, radio, billboards and transit ads.
5. Enhancing recovery
Problem: An estimated 3.5 million people in Canada and their families are living with the effects of heart disease, stroke and vascular cognitive impairment. Their most urgent needs include support during the transition from hospital to home and support for those caring for a family member or friend.
Solutions: Heart & Stroke research and community outreach programs are focused on improving the recovery and overall quality of life of people affected by heart disease and stroke and their caregivers.
In 2022, you supported these advances:
- Building community: Heart & Stroke’s Online Peer Communities saw an increase in membership, with 12% growth in our Community of Survivors (for people with lived experience), and 9% growth in our Care Supporters Community (for caregivers). Related programs include our Community Connect engagement newsletter and our Living with Stroke program.
- Engaging people with lived experience: Through our e-registry network, over 3,900 people who have experienced heart conditions or stroke and their caregivers or care partners received practical information and resources to support recovery and wellness.
- Partnering with Indigenous communities to enhance access to stroke rehabilitation: In 2022, Heart & Stroke began a partnership with the College of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Manitoba, the Riverview Health Center and eight First Nations communities, which seeks to co-develop and deliver culturally appropriate approaches to stroke rehabilitation in the First Nations communities. The partnership is named, ‘Kiga mamo anokimin onji minoayawin / Ka mamawi atoskatenow minoyin’, which translated from Ojibway and Cree means, ‘we will work together for health and wellness’. The goal of this three-year initiative is to better understand the communities’ needs and priorities, bridge gaps in access to culturally safe services, and build local capacity to provide stroke rehabilitation services in the communities.
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Learn more about Heart & Stroke research.