posted on Oct. 18: Award-winning scientist appointed inaugural chairholder in diabetes research


[img_inline align=”right” src=”” caption=”Hertzel Gerstein”]Canadians suffering from diabetes have new hope with the announcement today that Hertzel Gerstein, a professor of medicine, will be the first chairholder of the Population Health Institute Chair in Diabetes Research, sponsored by Aventis Pharma Inc.

“The research will focus on two areas – preventing diabetes and developing new management strategies for health care providers and people already affected by diabetes,” said Gerstein.

Aventis Pharma Inc. committed $1 million in funding to establish the new chair.

Last year Aventis was a funder, with other partners, of the DREAM (Diabetes Reduction Approaches with ramipril and rosiglitazone Medications) study, an international clinical trial testing ways to prevent type 2 diabetes.

Jean-Francois Leprince, Aventis Pharma Inc. president, said the latest sponsorship “reaffirms our commitment to the diabetes field and complements the extensive research and development efforts underway within our own global organization to find innovative therapies to combat and treat an illness which will soon take on epidemic proportions.”

John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences said the company's generous gift “will allow Dr. Gerstein to continue to look for ways to prevent the consequences of diabetes, and indeed diabetes itself – a disease that affects one in 14 Canadian adults over the age of 20.”

As chair, Gerstein will lead research on risk factors for diabetes, ways to prevent diabetes and ways to prevent its progression and consequences. He will also develop and assess approaches to improving the health care provided to people with diabetes in Canada.

Gerstein and Salim Yusuf, a professor of medicine, have already made strides in diabetes research with their work in the McMaster-led HOPE (Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation) study.

In addition to leading the DREAM study, Gerstein was also the principal investigator of the MICRO HOPE study that showed that the drug ramipril can prevent both kidney and cardiovascular disease in high risk people with diabetes.

Hamilton residents have already benefited from Gerstein's work when Diabetes Hamilton was launched last year. Diabetes Hamilton is a unique public health approach to effective diabetes management.

Diabetics and health care providers registered with the program receive, at no cost, up-to-date information on how to prevent problems and stay healthy. It is estimated that diabetes affects about 10 per cent of the population – about 40,000 people in the Hamilton area alone.

In 1999 Gerstein was awarded the Canadian Diabetes Association Young Scientist Award and the Frederick G. Banting Award in recognition of his research into this disease.