Professor Karen Sliwa elected as World Heart Federation President-Elect

6 Sep 2016 - 08:45

Johanna Ralston, CEO of the World Heart Federation made an announcement at its General Assembly which was held during the recent World Congress of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Heath 2016 that, Prof Karen Sliwa of South Africa has been elected by the membership as President-Elect of the Federation, marking two firsts:  she is the first female president and the first from the African Continent. Karen is Director of the Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa, at the University of Cape Town. She will bring to the role of President a wealth of first-hand experience and expertise, with specific understanding of the challenges addressing cardiovascular disease in lower resource settings. We are delighted to welcome her on board, said Ralston.

Professor Sliwa is a clinician-scientist, having trained as an internal medicine specialist and cardiologist. She also holds a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and a PhD related to immune activation in heart failure, and she has played a key role in promoting research and contributing to knowledge in cardiovascular diseases common in Africa.  Born in Germany, Professor Sliwa spent her childhood in Asia and underwent training in countries as diverse as India, the Philipines, Israel and Scotland, prior to setting in South Africa.”

The World Heart Federation ( is dedicated to leading the global fight against cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke. With a focus on low- and middle-income countries, we are the only global advocacy and leadership organization bringing together the CVD community to help people lead heart-healthy lives, added Ralston .
As the only CVD organization in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), we align our efforts around the WHO goal to reduce premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25% by 2025 (25by25). We recognize that to achieve this target will require a primary focus on CVD - the world's number one killer, which makes up 50% of all NCD deaths. Together with our members - a community of more than 200 organizations dedicated to the treatment, prevention and control of CVD - we are working to end needless deaths from exposure to tobacco and other risk factors, lack of access to treatment, and neglected conditions like rheumatic heart disease which kills hundreds of thousands of children and adults each year, concluded Ralston .

Karen Sliwa speaking at the General Assembly


“I am honoured at the trust the World Heart Federation membership has put in me to take the organisation forward. I would like especially to thank the emerging country Societies and Foundations who have supported me” said Prof Sliwa.