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February 20, 2023
McGill and Harvard trained cardiologist Dr. Patrick Lawler joins the MUHC from the University Health Network.
A world class hospital needs world-class talent. The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation is proud to welcome cardiologist Dr. Patrick Lawler to the MUHC as the first recipient of its new Rising Star Award. This unique and prestigious award is helping bring talented physicians from around the world to Montreal, ensuring Quebecers have access to the very best health care. The program helps the MUHC compete with medical powerhouses like the University Health Network in Toronto and Harvard University.
Dr. Lawler grew up in Boston, the son of a cancer researcher. His father’s work got him interested in studying biology, a subject he excelled at. He was awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholarship, an internationally recognized program that has dozens of world leaders and Nobel prize winners among its alumni. Dr. Lawler’s award gave him the opportunity to study vascular biology in Sweden at the Karolinska Institute, one of the world’s foremost medical universities.
Following his time in Sweden, Dr. Lawler, chose to attend McGill University for medical school.
“I had this fascination with Montreal and its culture. It has this amazing mix of old and new, and the innovation happening here excited me, so I decided to attend McGill,” says Dr. Lawler.
He completed his residency in internal medicine at the Royal Victoria Hospital, followed by training in cardiology and critical care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and a graduate degree from Harvard School of Public Health. He met his wife, pediatric cardiologist Dr. Virginie Beausejour Ladouceur, along the way.
“Virginie is Québécoise, and we both love Montreal,” says Dr. Lawler.
Following their training in Boston, he and Virginie moved to Toronto when she was offered a position at SickKids. Dr. Lawler secured a position at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and the couple began to build their careers and their family—they are now parents to two girls.
When given the opportunity to return to Montreal, the couple jumped at the chance.
“The McGill hospitals are world-class, and there's a really exciting energy in Montreal. There's a lot of emphasis on arts and culture, and it's a very lively city. You can feel the energy throughout,” says Dr. Lawler.
They are happy that their daughters will grow up with Montreal’s strong sense of community and that they will have the opportunity to attend French school.
“Living in such a bilingual city added another dimension to my life, and now it will do the same for my family,” says Dr. Lawler.
In April, Dr. Lawler will assume the position of Director of the Coronary Intensive Care Unit at the MUHC. In this role, he will lead the MUHC’s talented cardiology team as they push medicine forward through clinical care and research.
“I really love caring for patients and their families,” says Dr. Lawler.
In addition to his clinical and administrative duties, Dr. Lawler will continue his active research on the relationship between severe infection and heart attack. Patients who have survived sepsis—an extreme and life-threatening response to infection—are 50–70% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. Dr. Lawler wants to find out why and create personalized treatments that can reduce the risk of both these life-threatening illnesses.
He also has unique expertise in designing creative, agile clinical trials. Clinical trials involve testing new medicines and other medical treatments. They are important because they can provide new options for patients who have exhausted all other avenues of treatment. The MUHC looks forward to benefiting from Dr. Lawler’s expertise in this area, which will bring more clinical trials to the MUHC and give more patients access to cutting-edge treatments.
“The MUHC is an incredible, world-class institution, and there are so many exciting opportunities to collaborate with researchers at the MUHC and McGill. I look forward to reconnecting with individuals I knew during my residency and forging new friendships and collaborations,” says Dr. Lawler.
The Rising Star Award is awarded every two years, and provides the recipient research funding and access to mentorship by Montreal’s top physician-scientists. The award will help grow the MUHC’s reputation as a world-class academic health centre, which ultimately means better care for people in Montreal and across Quebec.
“I am honoured to have been selected as the MUHC’s first Rising Star. It’s rare to find good clinicians and talented researchers all in one place. The MUHC has both, and I look forward to working alongside its outstanding personnel,” says Dr. Lawler.
As an added bonus, Montreal will not only benefit from Dr. Lawler’s talent, but that of his wife, Dr. Beausejour Ladouceur. Her expertise in correcting heart rhythm disorders in children will undoubtedly change many young lives.
Outside of his career, Dr. Lawler has a surprising hobby: He started a vineyard in Prince Edward County.
“I’m very interested in farming and spend a lot of my spare time reading up on soil, rocks, anything to do with farming,” he says. “We currently have Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, and Syrah under vine.”
Though the vineyard is a few years away from harvest and wine production, if the care Dr. Lawler puts into it is anything like the attention he gives his medical practice, the wine will be exceptional.
You can help bring top talent to our city by supporting the Rising Star Program. Consider donating to the MUHC Foundation to help us ensure Quebecers continue to have access to world-renowned physicians and the very best care. To donate, visit https://bit.ly/3XTxnWT