St. Mary's General Hospital Foundation

New cardiac program at St. Mary’s brings preventative care to at-risk patients without primary care access

News Release

Kitchener-Waterloo, ON | Feb. 26, 2024
St. Mary’s General Hospital is expanding its suite of cardiac services through a new program focused on preventing cardiac risks for patients who need it most – those without a primary care provider or family doctor.
St. Mary's PREVENT CLINIC Powered by Manulife
PREVENT Clinic, powered by Manulife, is a new initiative that will operate out of St. Mary’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic at The Boardwalk. The multi-year donation by Manulife will enable St. Mary’s to launch this unique program focused on patients without primary care access in an acute care hospital setting.
Many Canadians lack access to services, including proper screenings, evidence-based medical advice, and classes and resources to improve fitness or lifestyle.
Data from the Ontario College of Family Physicians reveals that 2.2 million Ontarians (16 per cent of the province’s population) do not have access to a family doctor, including an estimated 65,000 in Waterloo-Wellington.
“Additionally, the data indicates that people who are most vulnerable in our communities are among those most likely not to have a family physician,” says Dr. Heather Warren, Vice-President, Medical Programs & Quality at St. Mary’s.
“This includes people from racialized communities, newcomers to Canada and Ontario and some of our lowest income earners and underhoused members of our community.”
Up to 80 per cent of premature cardiac events, including heart attacks and strokes, can be prevented by healthy lifestyle choices and by identifying and managing cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol and diabetes, says Dr. Warren.
“Until now, our focus has been on managing patients with cardiovascular diseases. PREVENT Clinic will give patients the opportunity to decrease their risk of developing cardiovascular diseases before it happens.
“Hospital staff will work with patients at high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases without a primary care provider, identified through our emergency departments, to medically manage cardiac risk factors. Also, the clinic will provide educational resources and lifestyle support to encourage healthy eating, active living and smoking cessation.”
In alignment with their Impact Agenda and commitment to sustained health and well-being, Manulife has committed $900,000 over the next three years to support staffing, equipment purchases and development of educational resources to run the clinic. Manulife will also continue its support of St. Mary’s annual RedDAY event by matching community donations in support of the clinic.
"Manulife is proud to be a long-standing partner of St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation, and the new PREVENT clinic is an important milestone in helping people in Kitchener-Waterloo access the care and support they need to help prevent premature cardiac events,” says Naveed Irshad, President & CEO, Manulife Canada. “Our purpose here at Manulife is to help Canadians live longer, better and healthier lives.
“It is through community investments, like this one, that we are able to help build healthier, more equitable communities. We couldn’t be more proud to contribute to this potentially life-saving initiative."
PREVENT Clinic is an extension of a longstanding partnership between Manulife and St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation, dating back to 2000.
Manulife has invested a cumulative $4.6 million in St. Mary’s programs. Their impact includes matching donations toward a new catheterization suite and the expansion of St. Mary’s Heart Rhythm program, which treats patients with irregular heartbeats. The foundation has also partnered with Manulife to raise awareness about the serious risks of heart disease and to advance community health and well-being.
“Together with Manulife and our hospital colleagues, we’re bringing the best of our expertise and knowledge to build a healthier community,” says Jaime Wilson, Vice-President, Philanthropy at St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation.
“This initiative is very much a partnership, where we’re designing a solution from the ground up, so that patients can reach their fullest health potential.”
PREVENT Clinic will start seeing patients in April 2024.
The program joins the existing suite of full-service cardiovascular care at St. Mary’s Regional Cardiac Care Centre, which cares for more than 1.4 million residents annually, stretching from Grey Bruce to Haldimand Norfolk.
St. Mary’s has ranked as one of the top cardiac programs in the country by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) Cardiac Care Quality Indicators Report for seven years.
Launched in 2003, the cardiac program has since doubled in size and impact. In Ontario, 10 per cent of the population is referred to St. Mary’s for cardiac care – from non-invasive diagnostic testing to cardiac surgery, cardiovascular intensive care to cardiac rehabilitation.
St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation
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About St. Mary's General Hospital Foundation
St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated solely to generating financial support for the life-saving care provided by St. Mary’s General Hospital. Funds donated by the community through St. Mary's General Hospital Foundation go toward vital equipment, construction and resource requirements for St. Mary’s General Hospital which are not covered by or exceed funding provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health.   
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About St. Mary's General Hospital
Located in the heart of Kitchener, St. Mary’s is home to the Regional Cardiac Centre, Regional Chest Program and Regional Eye Program. As leaders in our field recognized globally for world-class, innovative healthcare, our vision of “Inspiring Excellence. Healthier Together” is not just about our approach to patient-centred care, it’s also about our commitment to our staff.
For nearly a century, St. Mary’s has provided compassionate care to our community serving over 1.4 residents locally and beyond each year. We are the second-largest acute care hospital in the St. Joseph’s Health System with a team of over 2,000 staff, physicians and volunteers dedicated to ensuring patients receive the highest-quality care possible.
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St. Mary's General Hospital Foundation

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435 The Boardwalk, Suite 300
Waterloo, ON, N2T 0C2


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