Facing a “perfect storm” of warning signs, Dr. Jafna Cox will be seeking solutions as Nova Scotia’s first ever research chair in cardiovascular health.

At a ceremony yesterday in Halifax, Cox said he hopes to bring people together from different fields to break new advancements. Judging by his speech, he’ll need all the help he can get.

Heart disease is already the leading killer in Canada and it looks to get worse, Cox told those in attendance at the Lord Nelson Hotel. Between raising health care costs, growing obesity rates and the “demographic time bomb” of our aging population, Cox said heart problems could stretch the system to its limits.


But he’s still optimistic.

“I’m from Ontario. Ontario is a wonderful province but it’s a huge province,” he said afterwards.

“Here in Nova Scotia our entire population is smaller than many health districts in many other provinces. We have what I call a manageable laboratory -- it’s just large enough you can have statistical power but it’s not overwhelming.”

Most importantly, Cox said the province’s professionals are dedicated to working together, which helps advance changes that would get bogged down in larger areas.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia, the QEII Foundation, as well as Fred and Elizabeth Fountain, Marjorie Fountain and the late Sheldon Fountain fund the research chair position.

Cox said the economic recession will be a challenge, but it just highlights the need for outside-the-box thinking. He spoke of lowering costs by moving more services out of hospital, such as holding nutrition counselling in grocery stores.

“We’ll get through it. We have to get through it,” Cox said. “But there’s a relatively easy way to get through it and there’s a very, very difficult and painful way to get through it. I don’t want to go the latter route.”

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