Monash University is aiming to change the future of heart health

Monash University is changing the future of heart health, with the establishment of the Victorian Heart Institute (VHI), which will focus on training and leading a future focused workforce, extensive research and innovation to deliver measurable change in the rates of heart disease in Australia.

The Institute, under the leadership of Professor Steve Nicholls, will be located within the Victorian Heart Hospital (VHH) upon its completion in 2022.

The VHH is a collaborative partnership between the Victorian Government, Monash Health and Monash University and will be Australia’s first stand-alone heart hospital and research facility.  The substantial investment by the Victorian Government will give Victorians the specialist cardiovascular health care that they need to meet changing community needs.

Heart disease is one of Australia’s biggest health problems, representing one in four of all deaths, with over one thousand people a day hospitalised and costing the economy $7 billion each year.

The VHI will focus on five grand research challenges to better prevent and treat heart disease:

Women’s Heart Health
Women are three times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer, yet they are poorly represented in trials. There is more to be done in developing treatments and generating more awareness on women’s heart health.

Under-served populations
Exploring the specific requirements for Australia’s Indigenous Peoples, for migrant communities, patients in mental health services and other areas, to co-develop and expand on specialised services to meet their needs.

Living Well
The all important combination of diet, sleep, exercise, mindfulness and a well-being lifestyle and the role they play in heart health – and the recognition that it is going to take a multidisciplinary and holistic health approach to create the most impactful solutions.

Personalised Medicine
A multidisciplinary approach for personalised care, the right treatment for the right person at the right stage of the disease, it can be different for everyone.

New Technologies
Leveraging the amazing talent from across the university and their partners to adapt and develop new technologies such as bespoke heart implants, medical wearables and regenerative cells that could affect the lives of millions.

Alongside his role as director of the Victorian Heart Institute, Professor Steve Nicholls will also head the Victorian Heart Hospital (VHH) and is the director of MonashHeart.

“The VHI is all about innovation with a drive for knowledge that improves care and outcomes for everyone,” Professor Nicholls said.

“By virtue of building a standalone facility that is unique in its own right, placing it on a university campus and having researchers in the same place as patients, we hope to change the narrative of heart health within a purpose-built precinct.”

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AC said Monash has been a leader in innovative research and educational excellence for more than 60 years, and the launch of the VHI marks another key chapter in the University’s history.

“We are extremely proud to establish an institute that focuses on one of our greatest health threats – heart disease,” Professor Gardner said.

“Not only will the Institute conduct ground-breaking research into some poorly understood and under-researched areas of heart disease, our world-leading experts will also help educate and develop the next generation of heart specialists, ensuring ongoing advancement in this area.”

To mark the launch of the Victorian Heart Institute and explore the important issues around heart health, Monash University will be hosting a free live event with leading experts in heart disease.

A Different Lens: Matters of the HeartThursday November 5th at 7.30pm

Hosted by – Dr Sally Cockburn (Dr Feelgood) – media personality and a leading health communicator in Australia

Professor Stephen Nicholls – Cardiologist, and inaugural Director o of the Victorian Heart Institute

Professor Peter Currie – Director of Research of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute

Professor Sophia Zoungas – Head of the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University and Professor of Diabetes, Vascular Health and Ageing

Dr Emily Kotschet – Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist at MonashHealth

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