Dr. Michael Domanski
Dr. Michael Domanski is a specialist in advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology. The PMCC's multidisciplinary setting inspired his move from New York City. (Photo: The Globe and Mail)

The Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) has become a powerful centre for innovative medical research that attracts scientists from all over the world.

"The multidisciplinary environment allows cross-fertilization of ideas by stimulating interaction across various medical specialties and scientific disciplines," says Dr. Michael Domanski, Cardiology Division Director at University Health Network (UHN) and Mount Sinai Hospital. "This feature of our environment is attractive to bright, creative people."

Dr. Domanski, a specialist in advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology, made the move from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York to the PMCC "because it looked like a chance to make a difference in terms of research and also in patient care and teaching," he says.

"The commitment of the organization to innovation is expressed by its leadership."

Dr. Patrick Lawler, a cardiologist who joined the PMCC's emerging cardiovascular clinical trials group in April, was attracted from his position at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital, as well as Harvard Medical School in Boston, because the centre encouraged creative thinking and encouraged taking scientific risks.

"It seemed like there was a spirit of wanting to do different things and trying different approaches to a disease that we've been treating for some time," he says, noting that a good deal of research "has plateaued" in cardiovascular disease. "It's time for a fresh look and a fresh perspective, and I thought that the people here were the ones who might be able to do that."

Dr. Lawler, a Boston native who attended medical school and completed his residency at McGill University in Montreal, was impressed with the diverse group of people at the PMCC who have expertise in clinical trials, including epidemiologists, biostatisticians, regulatory scientists and administrators.

"Lots of aspects of science are a team sport, but having the right team is really essential to doing these large clinical trials and translational studies," he says, adding that international recruitment is part of an overall trend to "break down the borders" in medicine.

"One of the richnesses of the medical community here is the diversity of backgrounds that people bring from across the world," Dr. Lawler says. "It's important to continue that."

Dr. Barry Rubin, Medical Director of the PMCC, says that recruiting is among the stated goals of the Peter and Melanie Munk Charitable Foundation's third donation to the PMCC in 2011, along with retaining the best and the brightest.

"We've been unbelievably successful at doing that," he says, noting that key elements of the strategy have included establishing five new chairs and four centres of excellence. "Our vision is to be the best heart centre in the world, and you can't be that without having the best people."

PMCC Magazine 

The third annual Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) magazine published by The Globe and Mail focuses on why Canada's premier cardiac centre is known for being "the heartbeat of innovation." The magazine explores the PMCC model that supports the creation, development and evolution of innovative ideas into action – making "today's idea, tomorrow's practice." It also examines the impact that a culture of innovation has on the way cardiovascular care is delivered now and into the future.

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