An Unsung Hypertension Hero retires

Lianne Vardy_1

a tribute by Dr. Norman Campbell

On April 8th 2015, Lianne Vardy retires from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

 

For those not aware, Lianne Vardy was a Director in charge of non-communicable disease with the hypertension portfolio from 2005 to 2010, a period marking a pinnacle in collaboration between the federal government and the hypertension care community. During this time, the Outcomes Research Task Force (ORTF) had regular meetings; increased to 50 members with representatives from most provincial, governmental and academic centres across Canada; had unprecedented support, allowing for the creation of the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System for Hypertension, the first assessment of knowledge attitudes and behaviours of hypertensive Canadians; and the development and regular evaluation of key hypertension indicators to guide our recommendations process.

 

Under her leadership, a newly evolving public policy aspect of the hypertension community was supported, and a major grant from the federal government was obtained to educate Canadians and health care professionals about dietary salt. Work groups of 30 people each were supported to develop public education on hypertension and a broad based dietary salt education program. The Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) was upheld as a model of government and non-government collaboration, something several other countries are now trying to mimic. The ISH meeting in Vancouver in 2010 was supported so that it could have a substantive public health component.

 

While working with the hypertension care community, Lianne typically worked seven days a week without regard to the hour of day. She brought (infectious) high energy and passion to hypertension outcomes research. Lianne Vardy constantly looked for means and mechanisms to promote the health and wellbeing of Canadians. Many of us will miss Lianne and the heydays of collaboration she brought with her. Long lasting friendships were established that will last well beyond retirement. In 2010, Lianne was transferred to an infectious disease portfolio where she became an Associate Director General, creating a gap in our collaboration with the federal government that has never been filled since. The hypertension community should pause to thank a highly dedicated, highly effective public servant who helped bring hypertension in Canada to a new level of achievement. There is only one Lianne Vardy, lets sing her hypertension song and wish her the best in a new phase of life.

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