Heart Valve Voice Canada is a non-profit patient advocacy organization that works to improve the health and quality of life of people living with heart valve disease. Our mission is to educate and advocate for early detection and diagnosis, along with innovations in treatments, so that Canadians with heart valve disease get the best possible care over the entire patient journey. We have an advocacy network that includes patients and their support systems, a multi-disciplinary group of health care professionals, and other cardiac and patient advocacy and service organizations.
Heart Valve Voice Canada aims to educate and advocate for early detection and diagnosis, along with innovations in treatments, so that Canadians with heart valve disease get the best possible care over the entire patient journey.
Our core objectives are:
1. Raising awareness of the symptoms and severity of heart valve disease in Canada in order to save lives and improve quality of life.
2. Improving the recognition and diagnosis of heart valve disease by educating all those involved with heart valve disease patients on the symptoms and severity of heart valve disease.
3. Working to ensure there is a clear and effective treatment pathway between primary care and specialists to ensure optimal treatment of the disease.
4. Effectively campaigning for the early detection and optimal treatment of heart valve disease across Canada.
5. Providing credible, independent, and practical advice to patients, health care professionals, and policy-makers about heart valve disease.
6. Representing Canada’s heart valve disease patients to ensure they receive the right treatment at the right time, improving the quality of life and overall outcomes for each individual.
Our Board of Directors is comprised of patients and health care professionals who are committed to guiding Heart Valve Voice Canada, including:
Dr. Peniston is a senior cardiovascular surgeon at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario where he has been in practice since 2004. Prior to that, he was a staff surgeon and Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Toronto General Hospital and the University of Toronto. Dr. Peniston works with adults in need of heart surgery or Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) procedures. He has served as the Division Head and Medical Director of Cardiac Surgery and Co-leader of the Structural Heart Division of Southlake Regional Health Centre. He is also a former Residency Programme Director of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Toronto and examiner for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Dr. Peniston is an active member of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. In addition, he has served as the Section Head of Cardiac Surgery for the Ontario Medical Association. Outside of his regular clinical duties, he has also provided care to citizens of Ghana on multiple occasions as part of the Ghana Rural Integrated Development mission.
Dr. Pibarot obtained a doctorate in veterinary medicine (DVM) in 1987 at the University Claude Bernard in Lyon, France and a PhD degree in biomedical sciences from the University of Montreal in April 1995. He is a full-time professor with the Department of Medicine of Laval University and holds the Canada Research Chair (Level I) in Valvular Heart Disease (VHD), is the head of Cardiology Research, and the Director of the Echocardiography Core Laboratory at the Québec Heart & Lung Institute. The objective of Dr. Pibarot’s research program is to develop and validate novel patient-oriented approaches to improve the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of VHD.
He is currently the principal investigator of several multicenter studies and trials funded by Canadian Institute of Health Research and has published more than 650 articles and presented at over 900 invited conferences throughout the course of his career. He is the Associate Editor for structural heart pieces with EuroIntervention and Imaging Section Editor for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Pibarot has received various awards for his work in the field of cardiology.
Dr. Forcillo is a cardiac surgeon who works at the University of Montreal Hospital Centre (CHUM), focusing on valvular heart surgery and aortic surgery. She is the first formerly trained cardiac surgeon in Canada in surgery and percutaneous valve procedures having completed a two-year fellowship with Emory University Hospitals in the U.S., which is one of the highest volume centres in transcatheter valve therapies. Research is also a big part of Dr Forcillo's career. She received her Master’s in Biomedical Sciences and Master’s in Public Health. She is part of a research team at Cape Town (South Africa) that works with the African Union to increase cardiac surgery programs and access to heart valve therapies in Africa. She also has a special interest in women's cardiovascular health as she is one of the co-founders of the Cardio-F clinic at the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM). Dr. Forcillo is eager to participate in the development of new technologies, especially heart valve therapies, in order to offer what is best for her patients.
As a person with lived experience with mitral valve disease Hugh brings the important patient perspective to the Board of Directors.
Hugh is a business strategist, public speaker and author who has advised some of Canada’s most successful leaders and organizations from some of Canada’s largest companies to high-tech start-ups. His expertise in strategic leadership and facilitation will be an asset as we grow and work to improve the health and quality of life of people living with heart valve disease.
Hugh also brings valuable professional experience to the board through his work with non-profit and healthcare organizations, including the Ontario Ministry of Health, hospitals across Canada, Health Canada, and numerous associations including the Ontario Hospital Association, Home Care Ontario, Ontario Caregivers Organization, Ontario Pharmacists Association, and the Ontario Long-Term Care Association.
Hugh lives in Toronto with his wife Michelle, teenage sons and two cats.
Dr. Rima Styra is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and works in the Medical Psychiatry Program at the University Health Network, Toronto General Hospital. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto Medical School, and has a Masters of Education degree from OISE. She has a staff appointment in the Psychiatry, Health and Disease Program, and a secondary cross appointment in the UHN Cardiac Surgery Department, as well as member of the Toronto General Research Institute. Her research is focused on the interface between mental health issues and cardiac disease and in quality of life in minimally invasive cardiac procedures. Dr. Styra is presently involved both in the clinical care of cardiac patients as well as research in the area of quality of life.
Dr. Daneault is an Interventional Cardiologist, Co-director of the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) Program, and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Université de Sherbrooke (CHUS) in Quebec. He is a graduate of the University of Sherbrooke Medical School, where he also received his postdoctoral medical education and cardiology specialist certificate. Dr. Daneault also completed Interventional Cardiology Fellowship programs with both the University of Sherbrooke in 2010 and the NYPH/Columbia University Medical Center in New York in 2012. Dr. Daneault has been published extensively, nationally and internationally, for his work and research on heart valve disease, diagnosis, and treatments and is actively involved in ongoing cardiology research initiatives.
Up until 2018, Lorraine Montoya served as Program Coordinator and Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) for the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) Program at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. During her tenure in this role, Lorraine worked with multiple stakeholders to ensure TAVI patients and their family members were supported and engaged through each stage of their care trajectory. Lorraine holds a B.Sc. in Nursing from the University of Victoria and a Master of Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier University. Throughout her career, Lorraine has worked in nursing roles across Canada and internationally and has received multiple awards for her work in both nursing education and practice. Currently, Lorraine works as a Corporate Coordinator of Professional Practice at the Ottawa Hospital.