Canadian Vascular Network and Heart & Stroke Canada Summer School 2019

Image of a group of people with their certificates

Between the 5th – 9th August 10 postgraduate researchers from the BHF Centre of Research Excellence in Glasgow and ICAMs attended the Canadian Vascular Network Summer School in Vascular Health, which took place in Montreal, CA. This learning event was supported by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the British Heart Foundation and the Canadian Vascular Network and follows a successful Summer School in Glasgow held the previous year.

Our delegates joined over 40 researchers from across Canada, with links to the Canadian Vascular Network and the Heart and Stroke Foundation Women’s Heart and Brain Health program. This innovative programme integrated lectures and laboratory based practical sessions to provide attendees with a greater understanding of translational and sex-based approaches to vascular diseases.

International vascular experts provided morning lectures to the attendees aimed at highlighting sex-related pathophysiological differences in these conditions and the effect of sex on healthcare access and outcome. A prime example of this was valvular heart disease, where different mechanisms are responsible in women, who in turn have disparate access to advanced treatments and adverse health outcomes. Afternoon sessions comprised of practical workshops, where attendees had the opportunity to experience a wide breadth of research methods utilised in vascular research at McGill University. These sessions highlighted the current and future challenges in the study of sex differences in vascular syndromes but also the opportunities available to conduct high quality research to improve sex-related health outcomes.

Some of the most insightful sessions incorporated the perspectives of women with lived experience of vascular conditions, with a focus on their disease process, symptoms, healthcare delivery and priorities for research. The final session comprised of a patient interviewing a panel of delegates to assess how their awareness of sex differences in vascular research had been influenced through these patient-researcher interactions. The opportunity to bring basic science and clinical researchers together to reflect on the relevance of their research to those with lived experiences was highly rewarding.

Overall, this event was hugely popular with the attendees and will undoubtedly have a significant and pervasive impact on their knowledge and approach to the study of sex, gender and vascular disease. It is fair to say that the social programme went down a treat too and we would like to extend our thanks to our Canadian colleagues for their excellent organisation of the whole week's activities! 

Thank you to our BHF CoRE Clinical Fellow who authored this article. 

Image of a group of peopleGroup photo of delegates at the CVN Summer School 2019


First published: 21 August 2019

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