It’s no secret that for decades, Canada’s healthcare system has held the reputation of being one of the world’s best, fostering breakthroughs in technology and medical research in a variety of fields including cardiology and cardiovascular science.

Over the decades since Canada’s inception as an independent nation in 1867, numerous doctors and prestigious scientists in the fields of cardiology have emerged, pioneering new and innovative ways to conduct research, inspiring generations of aspiring doctors and clinicians after them.

Dr. John Robert Evans

Dr. John Robert Evans

Despite being an educated and critically acclaimed cardiologist in his own right, what set Dr. John Robert Evans apart from his contemporaries and other doctors in Canada was the way he approached medical education.

Known for his kindness, compassion, and goal to build life-lasting relationship with all his patients and colleagues, Evans reinvented what it meant to be a medical educator as well as being the founder of the MaRS Discovery District organization.

Born in 1929, Evans completed his medical education at the University of Toronto and became a Rhodes Scholar shortly after, before completing his doctoral degree at Oxford specializing in internal medicine and cardiology.

Upon his arrival back to Canada, Evans, as president of the University of Toronto, filled a formative role at Sunnybrook hospital which saw him transform the reputation of the institution from a veteran’s hospital to a world-class medical centre.

Evans’ also transitioned the MD program at UofT to a hands-on, experiential program that prioritized genuine relationships not only in the classroom setting, but also with patients.

In 1965, Evans became the dean of McMaster University’s medical school and, along with his tight-knit team, created the McMaster Method which has been adopted by schools not only in Canada, but also around the world.

It was under his leadership that McMaster, and the Hamilton area became so notable for their medical practices.

Evans passed away in Feb. of 2015.

Dr. George Wyse

Dr. George Wyse

The best way to describe Dr. George Wyse would be to simply call him a pioneer of cardiovascular research, more specifically in the areas of cardiac arrhythmias and their treatments.

Cardiac arrhythmias, in simple terms, are abnormal rhythms of the heart. These abnormalities, such as atrial fibrillation, can lead to blood clots and increases the risk of heart failure and even having a stroke.

Wyse symbolized something greater to his community as he spent his entire career at the University of Calgary and the Alberta community at large.

He graduated from the university’s medical program in 1974 where he immediately began training in cardiology and internal medicine. Four years later, he joined the faculty of medicine, eventually becoming associate dean of clinical affairs and stayed there for his entire active career before becoming an emeritus professor.

Throughout his career not only was he at the forefront of innovation in his chosen field, but he inspired entire generations to pursue similar research, evident in his citation in over 18,000 publications.

One of the people drawn to Wyse’s work was Robert Rose, a professor in cardiac sciences, physiology, and pharmacology at the University of Calgary.

According to Rose, he turned to Wyse due to similar interests when he joined Calgary in 2017.

“I think anyone who is interested in understanding cardiac arrhythmias and potential ways to treat it knows of George Wyse. His contributions to those fields are so known and important that it would be impossible not to come across George.”

Of all the contributions made to the treatment of cardiac arrythmias, Rose believes the greatest one was Wyse becoming one of the leading clinical trialists in the world.

“He became good at finding answers for scientific questions regarding whether treatment A or B were better for atrial fibrillation. Sounds simple enough but before him, no one had really had the answer until George came along.”

To this day, the work conducted by Wyse in clinical trials is being advanced and built upon constantly to find new and various ways to treat cardiac arrythmias.

In Rose’s case, he is researching new ways to find even more effective treatments for things such as atrial fibrillation.

George Wyse passed away on Jan. 6 in his home in Canmore, AB.

Dr. Clare Baker

Dr. Clare Baker

One of the most notable figures in Canadian medical history, and more so a pioneer in cardiovascular surgery, Dr. Clare Baker and his team are responsible for preforming the first successful heart transplant in Canada.

Born in raised in Biggar, Sask. Baker was determined to make a name for himself in the world of medicine, attending the University of Toronto’s medical program and graduating in 1946.

Throughout the early stages of his career, Baker worked under and learned from surgeons in both the U.S. and Canada, ultimately settling in Toronto.

Charles Perrin

On Nov. 17 of 1968, Baker and his team altered the course of medical history when they preformed the heart transplant for Charles Perrin Johnston, who lived for six years after the procedure.

This event was seen as so grand and monumental that Baker was rewarded with the Order of Canada, the second highest honour in the entire country.

In a time when heart surgery was almost like a taboo due to how complex and risky the procedures well, Baker preformed close to 150 open-heart surgeries and five transplants throughout his illustrious career.

Baker was also known for being a great educator in the hospital setting, and was fond of those under his wing.

In an article with Unity Health, one of Baker’s colleagues Dr. John Wilson who was also Johnston’s cardiologist, only had the highest praise for the former surgeon.

“Clare was exceptional. He was a big man, a tower of strength, and when you looked at him you had confidence. I worked with him for 30 years; we were a team. I was J.K. and he was Baker, so we were known as Jake and Bake.”

At the age of 88 Dr. Clare Baker passed away on Aug. 10, 2010.

You May Also Like
Heart Health
Read More

Protecting Heart Health During Menopause

Menopause brings about many changes, and one of the riskiest is to your heart. Here's what you need to know and how to help keep your heart healthy for years to come.