Press Releases

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

St. Boniface Hospital celebrates 10 years of Cardiac Sciences with a dedication honouring Dr. Morley Cohen

2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the consolidation of all cardiac sciences services following 2003 Koshal Report's recommendation to improve the delivery of cardiac services to Manitobans.

"St. Boniface Hospital and the WRHA's Cardiac Sciences Program have made many improvements and have dramatically changed the face of cardiac care for families in Manitoba over the last 10 years," said Health Minster Erin Selby. "Today we celebrate that hard work and look towards continued success in cardiac innovation in the future."

"Today we honour the example set by Dr. Morley Cohen and continue to strive for improvement and innovation in cardiac care," said Lori Lamont, Vice President of Interprofessional Practice and Chief Nursing Officer with the WRHA. "Dr. Cohen's work was revolutionized cardiac care and inspired the spirit of research which lives on today at St. Boniface and in our Cardiac Sciences Program."

The 2004, consolidation moved cardiac surgery, cardiology, cardiac anesthesia, and cardiac intensive care to St. Boniface Hospital. Since then, The Cardiac Sciences Program has experienced tremendous growth, attracting a number of internationally recognized cardiac specialists, and now occupies new space within the I.H. Asper Clinical Institute.

"It's terrific to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the program," says Dr. Alan Menkis, Medical Director of the Cardiac Sciences Program, who came to Winnipeg in 2004 from London, Ontario, to head the newly-created program. "It has been a very satisfying, hard-working, at times frustrating and ultimately rewarding 10 years."

Heart disease remains the number one cause of death worldwide, and every year, the number of patients seeking cardiac care increases. The Cardiac Science Program conducts over 50,000 patient visits, 17,000 echocardiography exams, and 1,200 cardiac surgeries per year.

The Cardiac Sciences Program and St. Boniface Hospital have chosen to mark the 10th anniversary with a special plaque and exhibit tracing the contributions of Dr. Morley Cohen who is widely regarded to be a pioneer of open-heart surgery.

"Fifty-five years ago this month, Dr. Morley Cohen conducted the first open-heart surgery in Manitoba at St. Boniface Hospital on a 5-year old, [who is] still alive today, in large part due to the Grey Nuns' faith in Dr. Cohen's vision for people with heart disease," says Dr. Michel Tétreault, President and CEO of St. Boniface Hospital. "Cardiac care has changed dramatically since Dr. Morley Cohen's day, and we are proud to honour his contributions to pioneering research into the workings of the heart."

With the support of the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, St. Boniface Hospital and the WRHA Cardiac Sciences Program have erected a plaque and dedicated a conference room in the I. H. Asper Clinical Research Institute which houses the Cardiac Sciences Program. A permanent public exhibition tracing the history and evolution of cardiac sciences in Manitoba from its inception until the present time has also been installed for the enjoyment and education of patients, visitors and staff.

"The early 1950's saw a small group of pioneering surgeons at the University of Minnesota literally invent open heart surgery. Winnipeg's own Dr. Morley Cohen was one of those pioneers," says Charles LaFlèche, President and CEO of the St-Boniface Hospital Foundation. "With its long history of innovation in health delivery, it is not surprising Dr. Cohen established his cardiac surgery program at St-Boniface Hospital. The Foundation is proud to support the 10th anniversary celebrations through this exhibit honouring this medical legend."

For more information contact:

Bronwyn Penner-Holigroski
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Tel: 204.926.7868 |
Cell: 204.782.2898

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