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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 Professor, Medicine and Epidemiology, McMaster University, Director of the university’s Population Genomics Program, and Associate Chair, Diversity and Equity, Department of Medicine.

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

Dr Salim Yusuf, PHRI Executive Director
Dr Salim Yusuf, PHRI Executive Director
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).

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.

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.

Ted Scott

Associate Investigator

Ted Scott
Associate Investigator

Ted Scott is Chief Innovation Officer, and Acting Vice-President, Research, Hamilton Health Sciences. He is Chair of the Synapse Life Sciences Consortium in Hamilton, and was previously Chief Innovation Officer and Dean of Applied Research at Mohawk College, where he studied Radiography and Sonography.

He is an expert digital health strategist and has a wealth of experience in industry relations and procurement, as well as innovation policy. He returned to HHS where he started his career as a sonographer after working at The Hospital for Sick Children and Huntsville District Memorial Hospital. Ted is a lifelong learner who earned his Masters of Applied Science in Medical Ultrasound and his PhD in Diagnostic Imaging from Charles Sturt University of Australia.

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

Associate Program Manager

Dipika Desai
Associate 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.

Gayle Lewis

Associate Program Manager

Gayle Lewis
Associate Program Manager

Gayle Lewis joined PHRI’s Arrhythmia group in 2005 to work on the RELY 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 5 years and was responsible for the development, testing, implementation and training of the Canadian Automatic Quoting system (AQS) for all Sales Representatives across Canada.

She 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.

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SAHARA

Global and Population Health

The objective of the SAHARA study was to screen 1,000 people of South Asian origin...

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SHARE

Global and Population Health

The objective of the SHARE study was to establish whether health variations between populations can...

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SHARE-AP

Global and Population Health

The objective of the SHARE-AP study was to establish whether health variations between populations can...

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SHARE-AP ACTION

Global and Population Health

Obesity is a major public health problem in North America, particularly in Aboriginal people. The...

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START

Global and Population Health

The objective of the START study is to better understand why South Asian people (originating...

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STOP-CHAGAS

Global and Population Health

Benznidazole is recommended for treatment of Chagas infection. Effects of combination therapy with benznidazole and...

medical professional with patient with peripheral artery disease PAD
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WAVE

CVD Prevention

The WAVE trial was a phase III international, multi-center RCT of warfarin plus antiplatelet therapy...

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