The MUHC Foundation funds a new vision for women's heart care

Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women worldwide? Since 2016, more women have died from this disease than ever before. This is why heart health expert Dr. Judy Luu of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is working on a transformative initiative that will focus exclusively on treating heart disease in women.

“The MUHC is striving to better understand heart disease in women, and especially women from marginalized, remote, and racialized communities, who face additional barriers to care,” says Dr. Luu.

This is why her team is working on the POWER Hub (Pathways to Cardiovascular Care for Women from Ethnic, Racialized, and Remote Communities), a vital heart health initiative focused on mitigating risk factors and increasing access to care for women from disadvantaged groups.

POWER Hub is leading the way for an inclusive and equitable approach to heart health, supported by the MUHC Foundation. It will not only fill the gap in cardiac research for women from racialized communities, but also lay the groundwork for a transformative Women’s Heart Health Centre at the MUHC.

"Often, factors such as cultural differences, language barriers, and the challenges of rural living combine to create significant barriers in accessing health care services," explains Dr. Luu. Research also shows that social and psychological factors, ranging from trauma to a history of discrimination, greatly contribute to heart disease in women.

For Dr. Luu, this project is personal. As a first-generation immigrant born in a refugee camp in Indonesia, she has witnessed her family’s personal challenges in navigating the health care system in Canada. Her parents, who were displaced during the Vietnam War, faced significant health inequities due to multiple barriers. The POWER Hub project embodies her dedicated efforts to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into mainstream medicine and health care research, drawing inspiration from her own lived experiences.

“Growing up with limited resources, I understood all the difficulties that you can face as an immigrant who doesn’t speak the language, and how that relates to health care,” says Dr. Luu.

Reflecting on her personal experience as a displaced person is always an emotional one, but it’s the thread that connects her to her work.

“As health care workers, we have a mandate to seek out and promote equity where we can, ensuring that members of our community receive the support they need,” says Dr. Luu.

POWER Hub aims to establish a multidisciplinary network of health care partners, researchers, nurses, people with lived experience, and people who are directly engaged with the communities they’re serving.

“When I envision what a women’s heart health centre will look like at the MUHC, collaboration and people power are at the heart of it. It’s not just about clinical practice, but about philanthropy, advocacy, research, and collaboration.”

Dr. Judy Luu, MD/PhD, FRCPC

Women’s Heart Health Cardiologist
Assistant Professor, McGill University
Director of Research, Courtois CMR Program

While the POWER Hub is still in its early stages, they have already partnered with the Jamaica Association of Montreal, with the purpose of increasing awareness and generating discussions about how to recognize heart disease in women.

Dr. Luu underscores the role of compassion in this type of community outreach, an undertaking that needs to be approached with a unique balance of skill and heart.

POWER Hub represents a commitment to equity, bridging the research gap in women’s cardiac care and underscoring the MUHC’s commitment to community care.

POWER Hub is made possible by donations to the MUHC Foundation’s Dream Big. Fix Broken Hearts campaign, which is raising $50 million for lifesaving heart research at the MUHC. Your contribution can make women’s heart care more accessible. To learn more, visit

Celebrating life, love, and resilience during Heart Month 2024