Opportunities - Preventing Heart Attacks in Alberta

Preventing Heart Attacks in Alberta

Alberta Health Services


Heart attacks are a primary cause of death in Alberta and it is expected that the number of people having them will continue to increase. The Framingham Risk Score (FRS) is a list of questions used to estimate a person’s chance of having a heart attack. Patients that get a high score on the FRS have a higher chance of having a heart attack. These patients should be offered a type of medication, called statins, which helps protect them from having a heart attack.  Unfortunately, the majority of doctors do not use the FRS to screen their patients. Also, the majority of Canadians that should be taking statins, are not taking them.  


To address this problem, the Cardiovascular Health and Stroke Strategic Clinical Network (CvHS SCN) is working on a project that will make it easier for doctors to use the FRS.  The plan is to have the FRS screening questions included on lab requisition forms.  The approach has already been tested in the south part of Alberta and the results were good. The test showed that adding the FRS to lab requisitions resulted in more doctors screening their patients, and more patients getting statins.


The next step in this project is to make the FRS lab requisition forms available to all doctors across the province. Communication to doctors will be a big part of the next phase to make sure doctors use it properly.  We also want to increase patients’ awareness and understanding of the FRS and statins.  Therefore, communication to patients will be another important piece of the next phase. 


Patient Opportunity

We are looking for approximately 10 Alberta-based patients and family caregivers (i.e. patient partners) who have a lived experience of cardiovascular disease and treatment to be part of a patient advisory panel. The patient advisors will be involved throughout the project duration, and involved in the following activities:

1) Providing feedback on the project activities from the patient perspective;

2) Participating in meetings and virtual information sessions;

3) Participating in focus groups and providing feedback to develop communication materials for patients;

4) Providing feedback on the project results.


Time Commitment

The start of this 2-year project is dependent on whether or not it is funded by Alberta Health Services (AHS). If funded, the anticipated start date will be in the fall of 2020. Patient advisors will be expected to participate in 12 meetings over the 2 year period of the project.  They may also be invited to participate in up to 5 focus group sessions.



Patient advisors will be compensated approximately $900 for the full advisory panel participation, and $25 per focus group session, in addition to reimbursement for travel and parking.



To learn more about this opportunity or to apply, please contact the Project Team:


Agnes Lehman




Danijela Piskulic