Founded at the Foothills Hospital in 2005 as a collaborative effort between a group of visionary philanthropists, Alberta Health Services, and the Divisions of Cardiology and Diagnostic Imaging, the Stephenson Cardiac Imaging Centre has achieved international success in the arenas of Cardiovascular Research, Education and Clinical Care over the past 10 years.
The Stephenson Centre began operations under the direction of Dr. Matthias Friedrich, a Cardiologist and Cardiac Imager recruited from Germany in order to establish a dedicated program of Cardiac MRI in Calgary. This program was the first of its kind in Canada and established Cardiac MRI as an important pillar in Cardiac Care in Southern Alberta. The Centre has grown into one of the most innovative clinical environments in Alberta for the performance of translational clinical research, the training of physicians and researchers, and for the delivery of world-class cardiac imaging services.
In 2013 the Centre transitioned to a new Director, Dr. James White, a Cardiologist and Clinician Scientist. Dr. White brought a new academic vision and has strengthened the existing team. With academic focus now aimed towards validating the strengths of cardiac MRI to prevent Sudden Cardiac Death among those with advanced heart disease, and to influence therapy in patients with early heart disease, the Centre is well poised to guide the practical use of this imaging in routine patient care. To assist in this aim Dr White has brought expertise in data collection and analytics and is working very closely with the Alberta Health Services Analytics team to establish one of the largest secure data repositories surrounding cardiovascular imaging in Canada.
Currently the Centre supports a remarkably successful team comprising over 30 individuals. With 2 dedicated cardiac MRI scanners located at the Foothills Medical Centre and South Health Campus, the Stephenson Cardiac Imaging Centre performs approximatyely 3500 cardiac MRI studies per year, conducts numerous clinical research studies, and collaborates with basic science and clinical researchers from within Alberta and around the world. Through this the Centre has gained international respect and currently attracts trainees from around the globe, inclusive of Italy, Australia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. Publication of the Centre’s research has appeared in top international medical journals and has driven great success in peer-reviewed grant support. The Centre currently receives funding from multiple agencies, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Institutes of Health Research, and Mitacs.