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World Congress of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Health Empowers Attendees to Tackle Global Cardiovascular Health Crisis

By Erick Alexanderson, MD, FASNC, president of the Mexican Society of Cardiology--
The World Heart Federation (WHF) is dedicated to leading the global fight against cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke. The WHF is the only global advocacy and leadership organization bringing together the CVD community to drive the CVD agenda and help people live longer, better, more heart-healthy lives. 
The organization's main purpose is to prevent and control these diseases through awareness campaigns and action—promoting the exchange of information, ideas and science among those involved in cardiovascular care and advocating for disease prevention and control by encouraging healthy diets, physical activity and tobacco-free living at the individual, community and policymaker levels. To make its mission happen, the WHF is working on three CVD Roadmaps dedicated to secondary prevention, tobacco control and raised blood pressure. 

In June, Mexico hosted the WHF's World Congress of Cardiology & Cardiovascular Health (WCC 2016), a conference dedicated to promoting cardiovascular health and uniting CVD specialists with other disciplines to network, share knowledge and build innovative solutions for patients and populations. Over four days, researchers, cardiologists, policymakers and health leaders participated in more than 120 sessions on cardiovascular health and cardiology practice, discuss ground-breaking research and consider technological advances. The program was interactive and designed to respond to the needs of professionals. We had the opportunity to explore the spectrum of CVD in Latin America: the epidemic of atherosclerosis, Chagas' and rheumatic heart disease, obesity, tobacco and health systems. 

At WCC 2016, we recognized that CVD—the leading cause of death globally— is responsible for over 17.5 million deaths each year worldwide, with 80 percent of CVD deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. WCC 2016 attendees came away feeling empowered to reinvigorate our global commitment to addressing cardiovascular health and reducing the number of premature deaths.  Perhaps most important, the WHF World Congress connected participants looking to learn from practical examples how interventions from around the world can be implemented in various settings to save lives.

The World Congress featured many highlights. To name a few: 
  • Presentation of the Mexico Declaration for Circulatory Health, including tobacco, the most comprehensive global declaration on heart health; 
  • Launch of a Global Status Report outlining disease-control activities worldwide; and 
  • Unveiling of the ground-breaking INVICTUS program, with its focus on beating the chronic health challenges linked to CVD, by reducing the most prevalent risk factors and increasing population education.
At the closing ceremony, Tom Parks, MD, from the United Kingdom, received the WHF Early Career Investigator Best Abstract Award for his abstract “Genome-Wide Association Study of Susceptibility To Rheumatic Heart Disease In Oceania: Preliminary Results.” WHF President-Elect David Wood, MD, revealed that the Global Summit on Circulatory Health will be held in Cape Town in 2017, and more than 5,000 delegates joined the WHF's rallying call for individuals, heart societies and policymakers around the world to accelerate the fight for cardiovascular health.  

President Salim Yusuf, MD“We know what to do, we just need to do it. We have shared tools and findings from all over the globe at this congress and now the responsibility is ours to turn this knowledge into action.”
"One politician doing the right thing can save more lives than a thousand doctors.” —WHF President Salim Yusuf, MD.  

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