Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

“An investigator, teacher and role model; a leader in the development of health research policy.”

© Steve Tracy and CMHF
2014 Inductee

Salim Yusuf, MBBS DPhil

November 26, 1952
MBBS - Bangalore University; DPhil - Oxford University
Dr. Salim Yusuf is an internationally renowned cardiologist and epidemiologist whose work over 35 years has substantially influenced prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. The leading North American clinical trialist in this field, his epidemiologic work in more than 60 countries shows the majority of risks of both cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease are attributable to the same few risk factors. His large-scale studies involving several hundreds of thousands of individuals in dozens of countries have changed the way some of the world’s most deadly health conditions are prevented, treated and managed.

Medically qualified in Bangalore in 1976, Dr. Yusuf received a Rhodes Scholarship and earned a DPhil from Oxford, during which time 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 and demonstrated the value of beta-blockers in myocardial infarction.

In 1984, Dr. Yusuf moved to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA, where he was a leader in their SOLVD trial (establishing the value of ACE inhibitors in LV dysfunction) and DIG trial (clarifying the role of digitalis). In 1992 he moved to McMaster University, where he 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. The work by his group has lead to a better understanding of risk factors for heart disease and strokes globally, the discovery of new treatments such as ACE inhibitors, dual antiplatelets, and novel antithrombotic agents to reduce mortality, heart attacks and strokes. His current work explores the role of the environment, health policies and health systems in influencing cardiovascular disease mortality globally.

Dr. Yusuf’s influence on international researchers is perhaps one of his most enduring gifts. By involving researchers in collaborative networks, and by providing practical training in the conduct of productive research projects, he has helped establish a much deeper understanding of the key principles that underlie epidemiological research in an astounding number of research fellows who have benefited from his direct supervision.

Dr. Yusuf 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 more than 40 international and national awards for research including in 2014 the Gairdner Wightman Prize, induction into the Royal Society of Canada and appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

He has published more than 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.