For most of this century, heart disease has been the number one killer of men and women across America. Tremendous gains have been made in understanding the causes and treatment of cardiovascular disease, yet each year an estimated 17.7 million people die and millions more are disabled by heart-related ailments.
An innovative program at the University of Wisconsin has brought exciting new approaches to combating heart disease. Since 1994, the UW Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC) has brought together over 130 different researchers, physicians and educators to focus on ways to prevent and treat cardiac problems. Faculty from more than 30 specialties—from genetics to pharmacology and preventative cardiology to zoology—are collaborating in a broad attack on cardiovascular problems through basic research, clinical investigation, diagnosis, treatment and public education. Working together, physicians and researchers combine their unique perspectives, sparking fresh ideas and reducing the time it takes to bring new discoveries out of laboratories and to patients.
The CVRC has been a central resource for their efforts. It has encouraged cooperative research and provides funding for pilot projects. The Center works to recruit and retain outstanding faculty and to train new generations of researchers. It has developed an extensive cardiovascular database and has expanded awareness of heart disease through public forums.