Recipient of the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award, 2014
"For his exceptional leadership in global clinical trials and population studies of cardiovascular disease that shaped best guidelines for prevention and treatment"

Professor of Medicine, and Executive Director of the Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University and Vice President for Research, Hamilton Health Sciences

Salim Yusuf’s work over 35 years has substantially influenced prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease globally. Medically qualified in Bangalore 1976, he received a Rhodes Scholarship and obtained a DPhil from Oxford, during which he (along with Richard Peto and Peter Sleight) initiated the concepts of large, simple trials, and meta-analysis. He coordinated the ISIS trial (which set the structure for future international collaborative work in cardiovascular disease) that demonstrated the value of beta-blockers in myocardial infarction, and sat on steering committees for all subsequent ISIS trials.

In 1984, he moved to the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, where he was a leader in their SOLVD trial (establishing the value of ACE-inhibitors on LV dysfunction) and DIG trial (clarifying the role of digitalis). In 1992 he moved to McMaster University, where he has established an international program of research in cardiovascular diseases and prevention, culminating in the creation of the Population Health Research Institute, which he founded and heads. His therapeutic trials have established the roles of ACE-inhibitors in CVD prevention (the HOPE study), dual antiplatelet therapies in acute coronary syndromes (the CURE study), and the roles of novel antithrombotics and invasive interventions.  The PHRI was recently cited by SCImago as possessing the highest impact of Canadian Centers and the 7th highest impact in the world.

His epidemiologic work in over 60 countries in all the inhabited continents of the world shows the majority of risks of both cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease are attributable to the same few risk factors. He currently leads the largest ever study revealing  the role of societal changes in CVD among 155,000 people from 700 communities in 22 high, middle and low income countries. These studies have led to better understanding of the role of societal changes on behaviours and risk factors, and how they lead to CVD.

Over the last 3 decades he has built capacity for clinical and population research across Canada (first through the Canadian Cardiovascular Collaboration, and more recently through CANNeCTIN) and the world by establishing networks at over 1500 sites in 85 countries, spanning all inhabited continents of the world. He has trained over 50 researchers, many of whom are nationally or internationally renowned leaders in medical research. He has helped develop major research institutes or programs in Canada, India, Argentina, Brazil, S. Africa, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and China.

He holds a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario Research Chair, was a Senior Scientist of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (1999-2004), and has received over 35 international and national awards for research, induction into the Royal Society of Canada, an appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada, and in 2014 he will be inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

He has published over 800 articles in refereed journals, rising to the second most cited researcher in the world for 2011.  He is President-elect of the World Heart Federation, where he is initiating an Emerging Leaders program in 100 countries with the aim of halving the CVD burden globally within a generation.