Gateway Gazette

University of Calgary Faculty of Nursing Announces New Chair Targeting Heart Health

DIL Walk Foundation partners on a research initiative led by Kathryn King-Shier focused on the South Asian community

Kathryn King-Shier, a cardiovascular nurse scientist, has been named the first Guru Nanak Dev Ji DIL Research Chair in the Faculty of Nursing. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary
Kathryn King-Shier, a cardiovascular nurse scientist, has been named the first Guru Nanak Dev Ji DIL Research Chair in the Faculty of Nursing. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

The Faculty of Nursing and the DIL Walk Foundation announced (Tuesday) the creation of the Guru Nanak Dev Ji DIL (Heart) Research Chair to benefit the study of cardiovascular health in the South Asian population. As chairholder, cardiovascular nurse scientist Kathryn King-Shier will lead research into heart health for this community, who are at greater risk of heart disease than the general population.

“We are excited to partner with the DIL Walk Foundation on this exciting initiative,” says Dianne Tapp, dean, Faculty of Nursing. “Their commitment to cardiovascular health for their community coupled with Kathryn King-Shier’s extensive program of research in this area will go a long way in raising awareness of the heart risks for south Asians.”

DIL Walk co-founder and local cardiologist, Dr. Anmol Kapoor, says the five-year chair will help bring the ongoing research to the community level. “South Asians are three to five times at greater risk of experiencing heart attacks compared to other communities, and they are happening more frequently among younger South Asians as well.”

King-Shier has been working with ethnic communities in Calgary and across the country for more than 12 years with a program of research focused on the ethno-cultural and gender differences in cardiovascular disease symptoms, access to care and prevention activities. As a University of Calgary professor and member of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health, King-Shier’s multi-methods approach enables her to examine health issues from a variety of perspectives. She and her research team have developed rigourous translation processes and have therefore been able to undertake studies in eight languages in addition to English.

“With this chair appointment, I can now concentrate on developing effective, ethno-culturally sensitive programs aimed at prevention and management of heart disease,” says King-Shier. “Ultimately, this should reduce the burden of illness on families, promote quality of life and reduce mortality. I am delighted and proud to have the opportunity to apply my research in a very tangible way.”

Kapoor is confident in the changes that will occur as a result of DIL Walk’s support of a research chair. “This collaboration allows a dedicated team to focus their efforts on lowering the burden of heart disease in the south Asian community in Canada. We hope similar projects could be started across the world, all leading to changes based on scientific evidence.”

The Guru Nanak Dev Ji DIL (Heart) Research Chair is named for the founder of Sikhism and the first Sikh guru. Guru Nanak Dev Ji believed all humanity should be treated equally and encouraged physical and spiritual health through community service and a moral life.

The chair is a $1-million five-year commitment with both DIL Walk and the University of Calgary contributing equally. The DIL Walk Foundation is a Calgary-based not for profit organization dedicated to increasing the awareness of heart disease in south Asians by encouraging them to take a proactive role toward their heart health.

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