World renowned heart expert at UCalgary receives national award from the Canadian Cardiovascular Society

November 26, 2008

By Andrea Di Ubaldo

Photo courtesy of CCS

Dr. George Wyse: Photo courtesy of CCS

A wise man once said, “There’s never a better time to do things. It gets more complicated the longer you wait, so it’s best to just get it done right away.”

That wise man is Dr. George Wyse, world renowned heart expert at the Faculty of Medicine and the recipient of the 2008 Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) Annual Achievement Award.

Heeding his own advice, Wyse doesn’t wait to get things done; he sometimes does things three at a time. As the principal investigator for a study on atrial fibrillation (irregular and often rapid heart rhythm) – the most common cardiac arrhythmia requiring treatment, he conducted that study while also leading in two other overlapping trials over almost 20 years to change the way that condition and other cardiac arrhythmia problems are now treated around the world to improve patients’ survival and quality of life.

The award recognizes a lifetime of achievement of Canadians who have made outstanding contributions in their career to aid the growth of the cardiovascular field.

“What do you do after you get an award like this? It’s like they’re telling you to get out, but I’m on the work-till-you-die plan,” he smiles.

After taking the time to think about what the award means, he says recognition is important and plays a big role in the lives of those that strive to achieve.

“It’s important to inspire, so young people can aspire,” Wyse says. “Recognition is always good.”

Surrounded by friends and others getting awards at the awards ceremony on Oct. 26, Wyse was treated to a very pleasurable honour.

“I got to meet and talk to Ross McLean again. He was one of my first teachers here at the Faculty of Medicine in 1970. He made a big impression on me. He’s 87 years old now.”

A few of Wyse’s other awards include a 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal, an Alberta Centennial Medal and the Heart Rhythm Society’s 2007 Distinguished Scientist Award. He is also a Serving Member of the Order of St. John.

He was a graduate of the Faculty of Medicine Class of 1974 and joined the Faculty of Medicine at UCalgary in 1978. Wyse’s research has resulted in over 200 peer reviewed publications, along with book chapters and invited publications. He has served on boards, numerous committees, and was president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta and director of the Cardiology Training Program at the University of Calgary. He is a past Alumnus of Year Award of the University of Calgary (2005) and one of the Top Forty Alumni on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the University of Calgary. He’s also chair of the International Experts Advisory Committee of the Strategic Advisory Board of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta.

“I’ve been here (UCalgary) for a long time and it’s gratifying to see how things have progressed,” he says. “We need good people to keep it going.”

When asked what his advice for success is, Wyse says, “Be prepared to work hard, set realistic goals, and reevaluate them periodically. Be comfortable with change. Things change fast – get used to it.”

About the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary

The U of C’s Faculty of Medicine is a national leader in health research with an international reputation for excellence and innovation in health care research, education and delivery. Through its educational programs, the Faculty of Medicine trains the physicians and scientists who will lead the next generation of health practitioners. Through its clinical work, continuing medical education programs, and close relationship with the Calgary Health Region, the Faculty of Medicine moves new treatments and diagnostic techniques from the laboratory bench to the hospital bedside efficiently and effectively, improving patient care.

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