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Meet our Emerging Leaders

Khalid AlHabib MBBS



In addition to his role as an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at the King Khalid University Hospital, Khalid is currently the President of the Saudi Heart Association (2011-2014, re-elected for 2014-2017). He has been the Principal Investigator of several first-of-their kind registries in Saudi Arabia: acute coronary syndrome (SPACE registry), coronary angiography/PCI (CARES), heart failure (HEARTS), and the 2nd phase of the ACS registry in 6 Arab Gulf countries (Gulf RACE-2). Several manuscripts were published in local and international peer-reviewed journals, including Circulation, European Journal of Heart Failure, PLOS-One, and International Journal of Cardiology. He is the current PI of the 3rd phase of the ACS registry in the Arabian Gulf (Gulf RACE-3),  a Co-PI of Gulf CARE (the first multinational heart failure registry in the Arab world), the PI of the PURE study in Saudi Arabia (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological study): in collaboration with Prof. Salim Yusuf (PHRI, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada), and the PI of the International Heart Failure registry (Inter-HF) in Saudi Arabia: in collaboration with Dr.Hisham Dokainish and Prof. Salim Yusuf (PHRI, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada).

Alvaro Avezum MD, PhD, FESC



Alvaro is currently the director of the research division of Danta Pazzanese Institute of Cardiology in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Alvaro completed a 2-year fellowship research training at McMaster University (Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department and Cardiology Division) after which he has introduced the concept of Evidence-based Medicine, particularly, Evidence-based Cardiology, by means of lectures, courses and publications to about 4,000 cardiologists, linked to the Brazilian Cardiology Society. Alvaro has also had experience in capacity building and clinical trials coordination in Brazil: In 1989 he was part of a team conducting the first international multicentric trial in Brazil, building a cardiovascular network involving 80 hospitals in 16 states. Since then they have conducted 50 studies utilizing this growing network (up to 250 centres in 2014) through a central coordination at our institution. This initiative allowed a substantial and unique capacity building for research in cardiovascular disease in Brazil.

Alvaro has additional experience in clinical practice evaluation and improvement in Brazil (Knowledge Translation Research): As the national coordinator of the GRACE registry (ACS cross-sectional study), since 1999, it has become possible to evaluate the demography, diagnose, treatment and prognosis of acute coronary syndrome patients in Brazil. Based upon GRACE results he and a team conducted a program of clinical practice improvement, entitled NetCor, aimed at incorporating evidence-based therapies in ACS. This model has been used for other cardiovascular fields, allowing implementation of evidence-based therapies in Brazil.




Rong graduated in 1997 from the Tong-Ji Medical University (Wuhan, China) and joined the affiliated Tong-Ji Hospital where he completed his residency and fellowship of Internal Medicine. He has been working as a Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist since 2000. Rong received his doctoral degree in the specialty of cardiology in 2002. He was trained at the National Heart Centre in Singapore, University of Insubria and University of Pavia in Italy, and Cleveland Clinic in USA. He became a senior clinical research fellow at the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute in Austin (TX, USA) since 2010. He is now practicing as a Chief Physician in the Department of Cardiology of Beijing Anzhen Hospital and holds a position of Professor of Medicine at the Capital Medical University (Beijing, China).

Ann Gates



Ann is a clinical pharmacist, health and exercise strategist, and social media expert in the area of physical activity. Sher has worked with some amazing people (namely Dr Mike Evans of ’23 ½ hours’) who have helped to shift the barriers to communicating important health messages around heart heath and exercise. By working together they reached 1.7 million people in 3 weeks with one health message! Ann is passionate about sustainable change within health care systems and enabling all health professionals to provide effective exercise advice and support to patients. She worked in the NHS for 23 years but then founded her own consultancy in exercise medicine. She also has extensive experience both clinically and strategically, in all aspects of disease management.

Nicolas Girerd MD, PhD



Nicolas is an Assistant professor in Therapeutics at the University of Lorraine, Nancy, France. He is a clinical cardiologist specialized in heart failure, much involved in the Heart Failure outpatient clinic of the Nancy University Hospital. He has a special interest in the management of acute heart failure both during and after the initial hospital stay. He is also a clinical researcher in charge of the biostatistics and data-management division of the Clinical Investigation Center of the Nancy University Hospital. He holds both a Master in Epidemiology (Laval University, Québec, Canada) and a PhD in Biostatistics (Lyon University, Lyon, France). Nicolas works with Pr Faiez Zannad and Pr Patrick Rossignol who recruited him in 2012 when he switched his main clinical and research interest from interventional electrophysiology to heart failure. His main research interests are now focused on the diagnosis, risk-stratification and treatment of acute heart failure. Of note, the assessment and management of congestion is currently the core of his research work. Aside from his clinical and research activities, he regularly teaches clinical research and therapeutics to undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Kamilu Karaye MSc



Kamilu was born and grew up in Kano, a densely populated city in north-western Nigeria. He schooled at University of Jos, Nigeria, for his basic medical degree, and Imperial College of University of London for Post-graduate Diploma and MSc in Cardiology. He is also a third year Research PhD Cardiology student in Umea University, Sweden. Kamilu trained at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in Kano (Nigeria), University College Hospital in Ibadan (Nigeria), and University of Jos Teaching Hospital in Jos (Nigeria). He qualified as a Fellowship of West African College of Physicians (FWACP) in 2004, was awarded the FACC in August 2013 and FESC in Sept 2014. Kamilu has been dead of the Department of Medicine, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria, and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria, since May 2014 and was promoted to the position of Professor of Medicine at Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria, in October 2014. His research interests include peripartum cardiomyopathy, heart failure, hypertension, dyslipidaemia and right heart disease.

Dhruv Kazi MD, MSc, MS



Kazi is a general cardiologist and a cardiovascular health economist interested in understanding and improving long-term clinical outcomes among patients with cardiovascular disease in the United States and overseas. He is particularly interested in the optimization of health care expenditures to maximize societal value. For instance, how does one determine the “best” use for scarce resources when considering alternative diagnostic or therapeutic strategies for a given disease or a range of commonly encountered diseases? Rather than viewing optimization as a zero-sum game, can we develop creative ways (for instance, by exploring synergies within the system or using low-cost technologies) to enhance productivity and expand the pie? His recent work has involved the evaluation of novel diagnostic approaches, medical devices, drug therapy and genetic testing, and has included the creation of discrete-time Markov modeling, as well as the use of advanced statistical techniques for large observational datasets (Medicare, Kaiser, National Inpatient Sample).

J-D Schwalm MD, MSc, FRCP(C)



Dr. Schwalm completed his honours Bachelor of Science degree with a specialization in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Guelph, Ontario. Medical school, internal medicine residency, and cardiology fellowship training were all completed at McMaster University, Ontario.  Subsequently, he completed an interventional cardiology fellowship at McMaster University, and obtained further training in this field at the University of Ottawa, Heart Institute.  Dr. Schwalm is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, with certification in internal medicine and cardiology.   Dr. Schwalm is a fulltime interventional cardiologist at Hamilton Health Sciences.  He is actively involved in postgraduate medical training of residents and fellows in invasive angiography, angioplasty, general cardiology, and internal medicine.  Dr. Schwalm completed a Master of Science in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa.  He has a particular interest in knowledge translation, as it relates to the field of cardiology. He is Principal Investigator of two ongoing provincial and international randomized controlled trials. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers, abstracts and book chapters.

Lijing Yan PhD, MPH



Lijing is currently the Deputy Director at The George Institute for Global Health at Peking University Health Science Center and Director of the China International Center for Chronic Disease Prevention. She is also a senior researcher at the China Center for Health Economics Research, Peking University, Beijing, China and an adjunct associate professor at the Department of Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA and Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Australia. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Peking University, a Master of Public Health degree and a doctoral degree in Demography from the University of California, Berkeley. Her main areas of research are chronic disease prevention and control (hypertension, diabetes, and stroke in particular), economic evaluations in health care, and integrated health management. She is the Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on a number of NHLBI-funded and China-funded research grants. She has published dozens of peer-reviewed scientific papers some of which in leading medical journals such as JAMA, Circulation, and Archives of Internal Medicine. In her current capacity as the Director of the Chronic Disease Center, she oversees the research, capacity development, and advocacy activities for a large network of 5 international academic institutions and 7 Chinese institutions in their concerted efforts to combat chronic diseases in China. The flagship project of the Center is the China Rural Health Initiative (LifeSeeds Program).

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