After three decades of dedicated research and leadership, PHRI Senior Scientist Salim Yusuf has announced his resignation as Executive Director of the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI), effective June 30, 2024. 

Salim Yusuf, who has also served as a Distinguished Professor of Medicine at McMaster University, has been a key figure in shaping PHRI’s vision and growth. He joined McMaster University in 1992 as Director of the Division of Cardiology, where he founded PHRI. Under his leadership, the institute has grown from a small team of three to nearly 400 members, conducting more than 50 research studies across 105 countries. 

During his tenure, PHRI’s research spanned multiple disciplines, including cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes, infectious diseases, and more. The institute’s work has led to significant advancements in clinical practice and global health policies and has benefited several millions of people. PHRI has also built Canada’s largest research biobank, housing over 4 million samples. This biobank has been crucial in discovering new causes and predictors of various health conditions. 

Additionally, PHRI has been ranked as the top research institute in Canada out of 58 institutes, 4 times in the last decade and has consistently been in the top two for scientific productivity over the last two decades. 

“Our success is largely due to our wonderful and cohesive team who have been dedicated and have made landmark contributions with a spirit of true collaboration” said Yusuf.  

Yusuf’s leadership has not only advanced scientific research but also secured more than one billion dollars in funding, supporting numerous research projects and establishing new research facilities. His collaboration with McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) has led to the creation of many endowed research chairs. 

Yusuf’s remarkable career in the 32 years spent at McMaster University “has been one of the major reasons for McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences being recognized as one of the most research intensive in Canada and of the world’s leading medical schools” said Paul M. O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences, in a letter to Yusuf.

“Your success has also been the basis of the development of many very successful careers, not only in cardiology, but also perioperative care, surgery, infectious diseases, diabetes, as well as other areas of medical research focus. I am very grateful for all you’ve done for McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences.”  

Tracey MacArthur, President and Chief Executive Officer at Hamilton Health Sciences, said “The establishment of PHRI as an international leader on clinical practice guidelines is a testament to the institute’s contributions, which have benefited millions worldwide.”  

Although stepping down as Executive Director, Yusuf will remain involved as a Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Senior Scientist at PHRI, continuing his research and mentoring colleagues. 

Yusuf has received numerous prestigious awards throughout his career, with the most recent being an honorary degree from Oxford University. Other notable recognitions include the Lifetime Research Achievement award from the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, the Lifetime Award from the World Heart Federation, the European Society of Cardiology gold medal, the American Heart Association Clinical Research Award, the Killam Prize, and the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award. He has been among the highest cited scientists in the world for over a decade.   

In a letter addressing the PHRI community, Yusuf said “My deep appreciation to McMaster University and HHS, for their support, which has been essential to my successes and that of PHRI.” 

“However, you, the members of PHRI, have been central to our (and my personal) many achievements. My special thanks for the enjoyable journey over the last 32 years and our impactful contributions to advance human health and scientific knowledge.” 

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