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Global and Population Health Research

PHRI’s global health research aims to combat the combined challenges of poverty-related infectious diseases and under-nutrition; epidemics of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancers; and poorly developed health systems that contribute to higher mortality in low- and middle-income countries, such as with our 10+ year, global PURE study.

We have developed the 4-drugs-in-1 ‘polypill’ to reduce costs and other barriers for people in lower-income countries, and we focus on neglected diseases such as Chagas disease, tuberculous pericarditis, and rheumatic heart disease that affect lower-income countries.

PHRI studies also include birth cohorts of South Asian, Chinese and Indigenous populations in Canada, with the goal of understanding the role of socio-environmental and health system contextual factors on individual CV risk factors, subclinical vascular disease, and clinical CV events.

The PHRI Population Health Sciences Lectureship features world experts in population health, including work in public health, genomics, and global health.

Team Members in Global and Population Health

Sonia Anand

Senior Scientist

Sonia Anand
Senior Scientist

Sonia Anand is a Professor, Medicine and Epidemiology at McMaster University; Associate Chair, Diversity and Equity in McMaster’s Department of Medicine; Director of McMaster’s Population Genomics Program; inaugural Chair, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society; and Director, Chanchlani Research Centre for Global Health at McMaster, among other roles.

Her present research focuses upon the environmental and genetic determinants of vascular disease in populations of varying ancestral origin, women and cardiovascular disease. Sonia has published more than 200 articles in peer review journals. Shas been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Salim Yusuf

Executive Director; Senior Scientist

Salim Yusuf
Executive Director; Senior Scientist

Salim Yusuf is an internationally renowned cardiologist and epidemiologist, whose work over 40 years has substantially influenced prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Born in India, medically qualified at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore in 1976, he received a Rhodes Scholarship and obtained a DPhil from Oxford, during which he (along with Richard Peto, Rory Collins and Peter Sleight) initiated the concepts of large, simple trials, and meta-analysis. He proposed the concept of combination drug treatment for prevention of CVD to achieve large reductions in CVD with a single pill (now called the polypill concept), but more importantly has been evaluating the concept through large randomized trials.

He leads several global studies involving more than 60 countries in every inhabited continent of the world aimed at enhancing knowledge about the biological, behavioural and societal causes, consequences, and approaches to the control of heart diseases, and strokes through large multi-country programs such as INTERHEART, INTERSTROKE, and PURE.

He holds a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario Research Chair and has received (among others) the Lifetime Research Achievement award of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society; the Paul Wood Silver Medal of the British Cardiac Society; the European Society of Cardiology gold medal, the clinical Research Prize of the American Heart Association and the International Award and the Braunwald Lecture of the American College of Cardiology. He has been inducted into the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame; been appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada, and received the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award in 2014. He has received four honorary doctorates, and is among the top 20 most cited health researchers in history.

Salim Yusuf has published more than 1,000 articles in refereed journals, rising to the second most cited researcher in the world for 2011. He has mentored more than 120 scientists, several of whom are in leadership positions across the globe. He has been President of the World Heart Federation (2015-2016), where he initiated several programs (the Emerging Leaders program, road maps for CVD control and a course for training primary care practitioners in CVD prevention) aimed at halving the CVD burden globally within a generation. The World Heart Federation has recognized his contributions by naming the program the Salim Yusuf Emerging Leaders Programme.

He is a Distinguished University Professor of Medicine, and Executive Director of the Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University and Chief Scientist, Hamilton Health Sciences.

Koon Teo

Senior Scientist

Koon Teo
Senior Scientist

Koon Teo is a Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, McMaster University, and provides senior leadership to PHRI’s direction and research studies. He has served as the acting director of the Division of Cardiology at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, and Chief of Cardiology, McMaster University Medical Centre. His wide range of work includes 16 book chapters, 356 articles and 280 abstracts featured in more than 15 medical journals worldwide.

He was the Canadian Principal Investigator for the COURAGE trial the results of which impact the practice of cardiology worldwide, and for the Canadian Institute for Health Research funded ongoing FAMILY study examining the origins of obesity and cardiometabolic risk factors in early childhood. He is also co-principal investigator of The International Polycap Study (TIPS).

Rahul Chanchlani

Scientist

Rahul Chanchlani
Scientist

Rahul Chanchlani’s research program aims to promote interdisciplinary research collaborations among peers and experts to address knowledge gaps in key renal diseases such as acute kidney injury, kidney transplantation, hypertension and nephrotic syndrome among neonates and children. As principal investigator, his research on acute kidney injury and hypertension is supported by grants from Hamilton Health Sciences New Investigator Award (2017), Physician Services Incorporated Grant (2018), Kidney Foundation of Canada Grant (2019), and an Early Career Award by Hamilton Health Sciences (2020). Rahul has worked on PHRI’s START study to understand the determinants of adiposity and hypertension among newborns of South Asian origin in Canada and India.

He joined the Division of Nephrology in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster Children’s Hospital as an Assistant Professor in September 2015. In November 2016, he finished his Master’s in Clinical Epidemiology (Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation) and Clinician Investigator Program from the University of Toronto. He is also an associate faculty in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI) at McMaster University. Rahul was appointed as an adjunct ICES scientist in February 2020.

Zubin Punthakee

Scientist

Zubin Punthakee
Scientist

Zubin Punthakee is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine (endocrinology and metabolism) and Pediatrics, at McMaster University. His research interests are: clinical trials of diabetes management; association between obesity and insulin resistance/diabetes, especially in youth; health care delivery and outcomes during transition from pediatric to adult care; and long-term outcomes of pediatric endocrine diseases.

At PHRI, he has held leadership roles in the TIDE trial, ORIGINALE study and RICH LEGACY study. He has published more than 22 articles, been supported by Research Career Awards from Hamilton Health Sciences and the Department of Medicine at McMaster University, and holds research grants from agencies including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Jackie Bosch

Investigator

Jackie Bosch
Investigator

Jackie Bosch started working with Salim Yusuf in 1993, before PHRI was formally created, as she was completing her Masters in Clinical Epidemiology, with the intent to learn how to do clinical trials so she could run trials in post-stroke rehabilitation. Most recently, she has been a co-investigator on large trials in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as understanding the causes of functional decline as well as developing simple, internationally applicable interventions to improve post-stroke disability.

She is Assistant Dean of the Occupational Therapy program, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, McMaster University, and has received awards such as the (McMaster) President’s Award for Outstanding Service, and the PHRI Award for Outstanding Contributions to Global Collaborations. She has more than 65 peer-reviewed publications.

Andrew Mente

Scientist

Andrew Mente
Scientist

Andrew Mente is a Principal Investigator for the Epidemiology program at PHRI, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University. He’s working in the ongoing Population Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, interested in the role of essential minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium) and dietary fatty acids in cardiovascular diseases in populations around the world.

He has received a Research Fellowship from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and a Research Early Career Award from Hamilton Health Sciences, and has published more than 45 papers and two book chapters. Andrew received his doctoral degree in Epidemiology from the University of Toronto, and completed his post-doctoral training in cardiovascular epidemiology at McMaster University.

Saba Naqvi

Research Fellow

Saba Naqvi
Research Fellow

Under the supervision of Sonia Anand of the global and population health research team at PHRI, Saba Naqvi is working on the adiposity trajectory of children as part of her post-doctoral fellowship. Saba pursued her Ph.D. in nutrition from St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore, India where she worked on measurement of body composition in Indian pregnant women and their neonates using a technique which measures natural radioactivity of the body. Her main research interest focuses on maternal and child health and early onset of chronic diseases.

Sarah McDonald

Associate Scientist

Sarah McDonald
Associate Scientist

Sarah McDonald is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist (high-risk obstetrician) and Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at McMaster University. Her research as a Clinician-Scientist is supported by a Tier II Canada Research Chair.

Her research focuses on preterm birth. Her research on primary and secondary prevention of preterm birth (i.e. prevention of preterm birth itself and of its sequelae) has informed several national guidelines from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC). She co-leads the Canadian Preterm Birth Network funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Katherine Morrison

Associate Scientist

Katherine Morrison
Associate Scientist

Katherine Morrison is Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University, and a Principal Investigator for childhood risk factors research at PHRI. She has received various awards including the Excellence in Pediatric Research Award, and a Heart and Stroke Foundation Fellowship in Preventive Cardiology. Katherine is supported in her research by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Hamilton Academic Health Sciences Organization, and McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Russell De Souza

Associate Investigator

Russell De Souza
Associate Investigator

Russell De Souza, a registered dietitian and nutritional epidemiologist, focuses his research on dietary factors that influence chronic disease throughout the lifespan, with a particular interest in macronutrients, dietary patterns and cardiovascular disease.

He received his doctoral degree in nutritional epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. He completed post-doctoral training in systematic reviews and randomized trial methodology jointly at McMaster University, and at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Diana Sherifali

Associate Investigator

Diana Sherifali
Associate Investigator

Diana Sherifali is an Associate Professor, School of Nursing, McMaster University, and clinical nurse specialist in the Diabetes Care and Research Program at Hamilton Health Sciences. She is also Director of the McMaster Evidence Review and Synthesis Team based in the School of Nursing. Her research focuses on optimizing the management of diabetes and quality of life of people with diabetes across the lifespan.

She received the inaugural Heather M. Arthur Population Health Research Institute / Hamilton Health Sciences Chair in Inter-Professional Health Research at McMaster University in 2019.

Gayle Lewis

Associate Program Manager

Gayle Lewis
Associate Program Manager

Gayle Lewis joined PHRI’s Arrhythmia group in 2005 to work on the RE-LY trial; she started up the AVERROES trial in 2007, which she managed until its 2010 close. In 2012, Gayle moved to PHRI’s Global Health program, where she works on various epidemiological studies including PURE, as well as the rheumatic AF treatment study, INVICTUS.

Prior to joining McMaster University, she worked in Toronto at Digital Equipment of Canada for five years and was responsible for the development, testing, implementation and training of the Canadian Automatic Quoting system (AQS) for all Sales Representatives across Canada.

Gayle has been an employee of McMaster University since 1989 when she joined the Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics Group, and remained on campus until 1992, at which time she relocated to the Clinical Trials Methodology Group.

Sumathy Rangarajan

Program Director

Sumathy Rangarajan
Program Director

Sumathy Rangarajan has been Program Director, Global Health, since 2016, preceded by many years’ service at PHRI in other roles. She oversees the PURE study team, as well as the INVICTUS rheumatic AF treatment trial, the CANPWR pediatric weight management registry, and others.

She holds both a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master of Science degree from Pune University in India.

Dipika Desai

Program Manager

Dipika Desai
Program Manager

Dipika Desai oversees many epidemiologic studies, including the South Asian birth cohort, START, the South Asian Heart Risk Assessment (SAHARA), and the Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds (CAHHM), as well as management assistance and oversight in the utilization of samples from a number of other studies.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Food and Nutrition from the M S University in Baroda, India, and a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of British Columbia.

Nora Abdalla

Senior Research Coordinator

Nora Abdalla
Senior Research Coordinator

Nora Abdalla has been working at PHRI for 15 years with a primary focus on coordinating observational birth cohort studies, and has been part of the ACT COVID 19 treatment trial team since March 2020.

She obtained a Bachelor degree in Medicine and Surgery, a Masters of Science in Paediatrics from Cairo University, and is a Master of Public Health candidate at the University of Waterloo.

ongoing

CAHHM

Global and Population Health

Led by co-Principal Investigators Sonia Anand of PHRI; Matthias Friedrich of Montreal Heart Institute; and...

completed

DISCOVER

Global and Population Health

The objective of the DISCOVER study was to determine the strength of the association between:...

completed

EpiDREAM

Global and Population Health

In the DREAM clinical trial, 18,990 men and women, from 21 countries, were screened for...

completed

EpiDREAM Genetics

Global and Population Health

The objective of the EpiDREAM study was to determine if 16 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)...

completed

FAMILY

Global and Population Health

The objective of the Family Atherosclerosis Monitoring in Early Life (FAMILY) study was to measure...

Guyana flag
completed

Guyana CVD

Global and Population Health

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the most common causes of death in Guyana. Risk...

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