New national heart role calls for team focus

08 March 2011

The inaugural Heart Foundation Chair of Heart Health at The University of Auckland, Associate Professor Rob Doughty will draw inspiration from his favourite team, the All Blacks, when he takes up his challenging new role to improve the cardiovascular health of New Zealanders on June 1.


Rob is a practising cardiologist as well as a teacher and researcher in cardiology at the University’s Faculty of Medical Health Sciences. Rob’s vision will see the establishment of a team including biomedical, clinical and population health expertise, all focused upon improving the heart health of New Zealanders.

Heart disease, the single biggest cause of death for men and women in New Zealand, is a formidable opponent. However, Rob Doughty is confident that he is up to the challenge. “The key thing about heart health is you can prevent it or you can treat it. That’s very motivating for me.”

In his new role as Chair of Heart Health at the University, Rob will bring together the many research activities and projects already underway in heart health nationally and the global knowledge base in preventative heart care for the benefit of New Zealanders. National leadership and advocacy for heart health are also key to the role.

This Chair of Heart Health is the culmination of an enormous fundraising effort by the Heart Foundation which has raised $5 million to date for the establishment of the new research Chair. Central to the fundraising was last year’s national bike ride “Great Ride for Heart” in which Rob himself was a major participant.


Norman Sharpe, Medical Director of the Heart Foundation says: “Rob’s broad vision for the future of heart heath and the strong prevention focus and advocacy role of this new position will make the Chair of Heart Health an investment in the future of all New Zealanders.”

Professor Iain Martin, Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at The University of Auckland says: "The appointment marks a key milestone for the relationship between the Heart Foundation and the University. Rob’s appointment was made from a very strong field of national and international candidates and his success is testament to his very considerable achievements. We look forward to him developing the great potential that exists thanks to the generosity of all those who supported the establishment of the Chair." ;

Like the All Blacks, Rob’s vision for success is to use the whole playing field. “It will be the convergence of the research hub, the Heart Foundation and the national support that will ultimately make the Chair most effective. The Heart Foundation’s motto is ‘together we will beat heart disease’ and that’s absolutely right.”


  • Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) causes 40% of all deaths annually in our country - approximately 10,500 people each year.
  • Heart disease is the single biggest cause of death for both men and women in this country, much of which is premature and preventable.
  • Female deaths from heart disease are four times more than female deaths from breast cancer.
  • On average, seven New Zealand women will die of heart disease every day.
  • Sixteen New Zealanders die each day, or one person every 90 minutes, as a result of heart disease.
  • One in twenty adults has been diagnosed with heart disease. That's approximately 161,000 adults and includes 118,500 with angina and 89,400 who have had a heart attack resulting in them being hospitalised.
  • There are more people living with heart disease now than ever before.


Nicole Bremner 
Senior Communications Advisor 
NZ Heart Foundation 
Phone 526 8420(DDI), mobile 021 672 594

Megan Fowlie 
Communications Adviser 
Faculty of Medical Health Sciences 
The University of Auckland 
Phone 3737599 ext 83257, mobile 021 802 143