Welcome to International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences (HEARTACADEMY.ORG)


Click here to enjoy Dr. Willerson's talk (video).

Project Plan

Cardiovascular Diseases are the world’s number one killer.  They claim 18 million lives every year.

Coronary, cerebrovascular, peripheral artery, rheumatic and congenital heart diseases, along with hypertension, heart failure and embolic disorders are so prevalent that combined they represent a world-wide pandemic. Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD), including heart disease, stroke and vascular abnormalities cause over 35 deaths every minute world-wide. It has been projected that by 2030, 23.6 million people will die annually from cardiovascular diseases. In the USA, more women have died from CVD than men every year since 1984, a trend which has become global. Even children face congenital heart disorders; acquire problems from diseases like rheumatic fever, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and chagas disease; and develop risk factors, particularly obesity, which manifest throughout their lives. 

While devastating in the United States and developed countries, people in impoverished nations are even more vulnerable.  Over eighty percent of cardiovascular deaths in the world occur in these countries where little patient care, prevention, education, or training is available.  The largest increases in the incidence of cardiovascular diseases in the coming decade are projected to occur in the eastern Mediterranean region, while the largest increase in deaths will occur in Southeast Asia.

The devastation of CVD cannot be measured by deaths alone. The staggering costs in the United States, including health care expenditures and lost productivity from deaths and disability, were projected by the American Heart Association to be more than $500 billion in 2010 and cost the European Union nations nearly $260 billion. In the European nations, care of patients and productivity losses exceeded another $115 billion.

The economic load of cardiovascular diseases are no longer of concern only to the affluent, industrialized world. With the exception of sub-Saharan Africa, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the developing world. The economic impact is born by already meager health systems and extends deep into the current and future economies of these nations.  Cardiovascular deaths and the economic productivity of caregivers who give up working to care for the ill, represent a defeating economic loss. Already, researchers have estimated that between the developing economies of Brazil, India, China, South Africa, and Mexico, 21 million years of future productive life are lost each year to cardiovascular disease.

While staggering, these are only the economic numbers: the true cost in human terms of suffering and lost lives is incalculable.

This global killer must be stopped.

Description and Goal:

The Global Network to Fight Cardiovascular Diseases is being formed to educate and train medical personnel around the world in research, treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease.  The goal of the network is to stem the rising rate of CVD by transferring knowledge primarily in emerging nations.  The Global Network is being formed under the auspices of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Science (IACS).


IACS has built relationships and intends to expand such cooperation. Dr. Shanthi Mendis, Senior Advisor - Cardiovascular Diseases of World Health Organization in Geneva has written in CV Network; spoken on “Future of Heart Health” (now online on our web site http://sbrc.tv/1/watch/41.aspx) and recently offered full support for the Global Network. We have met on numerous occasions and have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore areas of mutual support with HeartBeat International. Subsequent to meeting with Dr. Abdallah Daar, Chief Science and Ethics Officer of Grand Challenges Canada, we followed his suggestion and have met with IACS Fellow Dr. Arun Chockalingam, Director, Office of Global Health, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Willerson, Mr. Berkowitz and Dr. Chockalingam had a meeting on Sept. 21, following the UN Summit on Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases in New York on Sept. 18-20. Dr. Chockalingam offered to establish an alliance between our Global Network and the NHLBI / United Health Group Centers of Excellence Global Health Program of 103 Centers including India, Peru, Guatemala, China, South Africa, Kenya, China, Argentina and Bangladesh. We discussed the potential for us to provide the cardiovascular training to supplement their broader interest in all chronic diseases. Indeed, Dr. Chockalingam stressed that CVD are their priority. As we were to conclude, Dr. Chockalingam invited us to attend the Annual Meeting on Oct. 23-25 when N I H hosts representatives from the Centers and other interested people. Of particular interest is the attendance by senior executives of the United Health Group (a leading health care company, serving more than 75 million people worldwide) . Ivan Berkowitz attended and facilitated attendance by Dr. Chockalingam and his Deputy, the Project Director Dr. Cristina Rabadan-Diehl at the meeting of the Global Network Steering Committee during the Annual A H A Scientific Sessions in Orlando Nov. 14, 2011. From that intensive discussion, we have targetted to work with the N I H - U H G Centre of Excellence in Bangalore, India.


IACS Leadership: 

Dated: January 31, 2012      


Dr. Victor J. Dzau,
Chancellor, Health Affairs & Dean,
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, North Carolina,  U S A

Dr. Salim Yusuf
Professor of Medicine
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Dr. James Willerson, IACS President
President and Medical Director: Texas Heart Institute
Professor: The University of Texas Health Science Center
Houston, Texas, U S A

Sir Magdi Yacoub, IACS Past-President
Professor, Imperial College London
National Heart & Lung Institute at H.S.C.
Harefield, U K

Dr. Bohuslav Ostadal, IACS President-Elect
Professor and Past Director, Institute of Physiology,
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic

Dr. Naranjan Dhalla, IACS Executive Director
Distinguished Professor, University of Manitoba
St. Boniface Hospital Research
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Dr. Nirmal Ganguly
Distinguished Biotechnology Research Professor
Department of Biotechnology
National Institute of Immunology
New Delhi, India

Dr. Otoni Gomes
Professor, Surgical Cardiovascular Clinic
Minas Gerais Federal University Medical School
Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Dr. Jay N. Cohn
Professor of Medicine
Director, Rasmussen Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
University of Minnesota Medical School
Minneapolis, MN

Dr. Junbo Ge
Professor of Medicine/Cardiology: Director, Department of
Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University
Chairman, Shanghai Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases
Shanghai, China

Dr. Ernest Madu
Chairman and CEO, Heart Institute of the Caribbean
Kingston, Jamaica

Dr.Sharon Mulvagh
Director of Womenfs Heart Clinic, Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota U S A

Dr. Edward Kaplan
Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics,
University of Minnesota Medical School
Minneapolis, Minnesota U S A

Dr. Jawahar Mehta
Director, Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics
Director, Molecular Cardiology
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Little Rock, Arkansas U S A

Dr. Mohamed Boutjdir
Professor, Depts. of Medicine, NYU School of Medicine and
SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Associate Chief of Staff for R&D, VA New York Harbor Healthcare
New York, New York U S A

Dr. Giuseppe Ambrosio
Director of Cardiology
University of Perugia School of Medicine
Perugia, Italy

Dr. Naoki Makino
Professor and Head
Division of Molecular and Clinical Gerontology
Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University
Beppu, Japan

Dr. Angel Zarain-Herzberg
Profesor Titular C de TC
Dept. Bioquimica Fac. de Medicina, UNAM
Apdo, Mexico

Dr. Dragan Djuric
President, Serbian Physiology Society
Institute of Medical Physiology
University of Belgrade School of Medicine
Belgrade, Serbia

Dr. Suzanne Oparil
Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics
Division of Cardiovascular Disease
Department of Medicine
University Of Alabama Birmingham
Birmingham, Alabama, U S A

Dr. Jan Slezak
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Bratislava, Slovak Republic

Suzy Lanier
Medical Editor and Executive Assistant to Dr. Willerson
The University of Texas Health Science Center
Houston, Texas, U S A

Ivan Berkowitz
IACS Heart Health Scholar
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Council will appoint an Ambassador from each country (using the United Nations model). These Ambassadors will provide leadership for the Global Network. They will identify local sites that have the potential for providing and developing young professionals upon their return from training abroad. Ambassadors will encourage applications from outstanding prospects to become Global Network Scholars. Further, the IACS Ambassadors will ensure the Global Network education and training is delivered in a results-based manner and will monitor progress of participants. They will facilitate IACS "Team Visits". An Advisory Committee will be formulated to facilitate cooperation with other global heart health initiatives. We have created a list of  “DELIVERABLES”  which will be the basis of continuing review and evaluation of success. Administration of the Global network is being coordinated by the IACS Heart Health Scholar, Ivan Berkowitz MBA.


Scholar candidates from around the world will be screened and selected by a panel from the Council.  The chosen candidates, all promising medical professionals and researchers, will spend three years in pre-eminent cardiovascular research and treatment centers of excellence in North America and Europe being mentored by leading cardiovascular specialists who have proven interest and experience working with protégés from developing countries.  In the first five years of operations, the Global Network plans to sponsor 155 Scholars.


Upon completion of their sponsored studies, Global Network Scholars will expand cardiovascular education and training within their home countries.  Accepting a Global Network sponsorship will carry with it the commitment to return to home countries to practice, develop programs, disseminate information and train others to fight cardiovascular disease.

IACS Communications:

IACS will target support of the Global Network through its continuing publication of a quarterly bulletin CV Network which is distributed online. IACS in the process of updated its website www.heartacademy.org to provide more interactive and timely sharing of developments. As well, IACS has begun and will extend use of social networks to encourage sharing and exchanges within the IACS links of professionals, students and the public. IACS has achieved significant success in sharing online talks and discussions from international events which promises for further extending the impact of the Global Network participants. Investigation is underway to have IACS conferences entirely networked online in the manner of the highly successful, web-based series of conferences by the International Society of Holter and Non-invasive Electrocardiology (ISHNE). There seems to be potential to facilitate distance learning courses.

IACS “Think Tank”:

Periodically, the IACS Council and Ambassadors, Global Network participants and their mentors will meet to determine progress and exchange best practices. Initially, these meetings will coincide with annual meetings of the American Heart Association, European Cardiology Society, and American College of Cardiology.

IACS “Team Visits”:

As documented by Dr. Grant Pierce in CV Network Vol.10 No.1 Pages 12/13, IACS will encourage teams of scientists to visit emerging countries and, during each visit, will meet with three segments of the society: the general public, the student population (graduate and undergraduate), and the health professionals. Their purpose will be the effective provision of the latest developments in the field of cardiology, nutrition, preventive medicine, and cardiovascular health and disease. The information will be delivered in lecture-based format with question and answer periods at the end of the lectures. The lectures will be given at a level suitable for each of the three audiences: more general and entertaining for the lay public; more specific and detailed for those engaged full time in health care.

Global Network Costs:

Sponsorship Costs Per Participant (Three Year Sponsorship)


Expense Item

One year cost per trainee

Three year total per trainee
















Network Administration







Sponsorship Costs for Global Network Program   (Five Year Costs)


Expense Item





Year Three

Year Four









Sponsorships (5)






Sponsorships (10 new)






Sponsorships (20 new)






Sponsorships (40 new)














Funds for the Global Network to Fight Cardiovascular Diseases are being raised from foundations, corporations, and individuals.  While Scholars’ home countries are expected to provide some support, the majority of the funding will be provided through private funds raised by the Global Network. The Academy is registered to give Tax Deductible Receipts in Canada (International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences Inc.) as well as in the United States (Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences Foundation USA Inc.).  An Appropriate receipt will be issued.

Your support is critical

Now, more than ever before, it is imperative to tackle the worldwide pandemic of cardiovascular diseases.  With the singular focus develop the training, translational research, new therapies, and alleviate CVD in humans world-wide, the Global Network gives communities and countries around the world a vital weapon. 

We ask you to consider becoming our Partner in our bold initiative by underwriting the education and training of one or more Global Network Scholars for their three-year sponsorship. Your gift of $282,000 will support one Scholar for their three-year sponsorship.

In appreciation of your gift, the Global Network will recognize Partners for contributions at a variety of levels such as Gold Sponsors of five trainees; Silver Sponsors of three; Bronze Sponsors of one; as well as Friends and Supporters. The Global Network sponsorships allow for flexibility in naming opportunities.  We would be most interested to target a country or a center of excellence which you might suggest. – such a sponsorship might be named to recognize the donor.

We have also established a category for “FOUNDERS” who will help to launch our efforts with a donation of $25,000.

We are planning a detailed program to report regularly on results.

Operations of the Global Network will commence as funding is secured.

Please contact Ivan Berkowitz for further information and how to make a contribution to the Global Network.

Ivan Berkowitz  MBA 
Heart Health Scholar
International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences
3021 - 351 Tache Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
R2H 2A6
Telephone: 1-204-228 3193
E-mail: ivan@mts.net 

World-renowned Research Centre renamed

St-Boniface Hospital honoured Winnipeg visionary and philanthropist Paul Albrechtsen by renaming its Research Centre the St-Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre. The Centre is the global headquarters of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences where our Dr. Naranjan Dhalla was the founder of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences.

He was interviewed recently by the American Physiological Society's for their "Living History Program.

Click here to enjoy


3rd Harold Buchwald Lecture by Dr. Sharon Mulvagh, Mayo Clinic, Rochester


Click for An Important Conversation About Heart Health between Dr. Mulvagh and Marlo Thomas

If you missed the MANSHIELD CONSTRUCTION HEART HEALTH LUNCHEON featuring the 5th Harold Buchwald Lecture on October 3, 2013, please Click here for Dr Yusuf's extraordinary talk

Dr. Robert Roberts made a very special talk as the first Yetta and Jack Levit Distinguished Lecture. Click here to enjoy Dr. Roberts ' talk. On Nov. 2/15, Dr. John Cairns second Distinguished Lecture was extraordinary Click here for the lecture.

2nd Harold Buchwald Heart Health Lecture Sept. 29, 2009 ... an incredible talk by Dr. Jay Cohn which inspired Ivan Berkowitz to pursue a number of options which led to Dr. Duhamel's HAPPY Hearts Project. Click here to watch video

Read the latest bulletin from St. Boniface - excellent reports on IACS Fellows Drs. Menkis, Pierce and Kirshenbaum - great heart health advice!