In 2019, Professor Karen Sliwa will become the first female World Heart Federation President (WHF) and the first from the African continent. Karen is regarded the world over as an innovative and critical thinker and a leader in cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Karen is a clinician-scientist who trained as an internal medicine specialist and cardiologist, and who currently holds the position of Director of the Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa, University of Cape Town. She has a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and a PhD related to immune activation in heart failure, and has played a key role in promoting research and contributing to knowledge in diseases common in Africa.
“I was born in Germany, spent my childhood in Asia and then trained in countries as diverse as India, the Philippines, Israel and Scotland before settling in South Africa,” says Karen. “This has given me a deep understanding that each country and region has its strengths and weaknesses, and that there are lessons we can learn from each other, irrespective of the level of health development. I am passionate about learning from colleagues around the globe and welcome the opportunity my WHF position will bring to help drive the global CVD agenda.”
Under David Wood’s leadership as President 2017-2018 and Karen’s in 2019, WHF will continue to engage and work closely with its 200+ strong membership to develop an ever-stronger voice in cardiovascular health advocacy, driving national policy and action to achieve a 25% reduction in premature mortality caused by CVD by 2025.