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On September 29, Dr. Valentin Fuster, Director of New York's Mount Sinai Heart Center, visited UHN's own cardiac centre to deliver the inaugural Michael J Sole Lectureship. The lectureship was established in honour of Dr. Michael Sole, the founding medical director of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC).
Drs. Sole and Fuster share a common purpose on either side of the border—they are both clinician-scientists and visionary leaders in the fight against cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in North America.
"I am greatly honoured by the Division of Cardiology by this lectureship," says Dr. Sole, who earned his medical degree from UofT, and went on to study at the Cardiovascular Research Institute in San Francisco, Harvard University and MIT.
When he came back to TGH in 1974, Dr. Sole planned on eventually returning to the US, but was wooed by his friends and colleagues to stay in Toronto. He served as Chief of the Division of Cardiology at TGH and TWH from 1989 to 1998 and continues to be inspired by UHN's passion and dedication to patient care.
"Medicine is a wonderful profession. It allows you to explore the secrets of nature, help those who are ill and develop the minds of the next generation—rewards more than sufficient for anyone," he says. "To be part of the evolution of UHN's cardiovascular program to one of the best in the world is an incredible bonus."
But Dr. Sole isn't the only Canadian cardiologist at PMCC to train in the US and return home. This spring, PMCC welcomed Dr. Michael Farkouh, a Sudbury native who trained at the Mayo Clinic and Mount Sinai New York and who worked closely with Dr. Fuster for over 14 years. Dr. Farkouh took on a new role as Director of Clinical Trials at PMCC, marking the launch of a major initiative to establish the PMCC as a leading centre for clinical research in cardiovascular disease.
"PMCC has a tremendous advantage in terms of its diverse patient population, donor commitment and, most importantly, its multidisciplinary approach to research and patient care," says Dr. Farkouh, reflecting on why he believes Toronto is an international hub for cardiovascular research and clinical care. "We have the expertise and infrastructure to compete on the world stage."
Now that Dr. Farkouh is a member of the PMCC team, the centre's collaboration with other leading international centres like Mount Sinai Heart can begin.
"We're very pleased to have this new Lectureship, honouring Dr. Michael Sole's lifelong contributions and thrilled that Dr. Valentin Fuster was our inaugural speaker," says Dr. Gary Newton, Head of the Division of Cardiology at UHN and MSH. "Dr. Fuster's lecture and Dr. Farkouh's recruitment highlight the centre's commitment to fostering an international program in Cardiovascular Research."