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The initiative is headed up by a committee of senior cardiologists, all Heart Foundation alumni, with full regional coverage across New Zealand.

The development committee have kindly volunteered to support the Foundation100 programme with their experience and expertise. They provide energy, visibility and advocacy to ensure that together we can make a direct and enduring difference for the future leaders of heart health.

We are very grateful to them for their knowledge, guidance and enthusiasm.

Gerry DevlinGerry is a graduate of Trinity College in Dublin, who moved to New Zealand in 1988. He successfully completed his FRACP in 1995 and is a Fellow of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. He became a Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology in 2012 and completed an MD thesis with the University of Auckland in 2013.

The accomplished clinical and academic cardiologist who completed an interventional fellowship in Toronto was Associate Professor in Medicine with the Waikato Clinical School prior to moving to Gisborne where he now provides cardiology services.

Dr Gerry Devlin is a strong proponent of collaboration to improve equity in cardiovascular disease. He plays an integral role with the Hauora Tairawhiti’s Healthy Hearts — Save 1000 Lives initiative, which aims to provide an innovative approach across primary and secondary care, as well as enable Mātai’s engagement in heart research within communities that have one of the country’s highest death rates from heart disease.

Gerry is an Associate Professor (Hon) in Medicine, the University of Auckland and a busy clinical researcher with over 100 publications. Research interests include acute coronary syndromes, heart failure and systems of care.

He also holds the role of Medical Director for the Heart Foundation (since 2014) while maintaining highly effective regional and national leadership in heart health care.

Norman SharpeNorman Sharpe graduated in Medicine from the University of Otago in 1968, followed by postgraduate training in Auckland and at the University of California, San Francisco (supported by the Heart Foundation and Medical Research Council research fellowships).

In 1978 he was appointed Senior Lecturer in Medicine at the University of Auckland and cardiologist at Auckland Hospital.

He became Head of the Department of Medicine and then Head of the School of Medicine at the University of Auckland from 1987-2003, and was appointed to the Chair in Medicine in 1992. He was also Chief of Medicine at Auckland Hospital from 1995 to 1999.

During this time he founded the Clinical Trials Research Unit which later transitioned to the National Institute of Health Innovation. The clinical research conducted over 20 years demonstrated that early intervention with ACE inhibitor medication led to improved heart function and better long-term outcomes for heart failure patients; it is now recommended as standard practice in international guidelines.

In 2003 he was appointed Medical Director of the Heart Foundation, a position he held until 2014.

From 2003 until 2016 he worked as a part-time physician in acute general medicine at Grey Base Hospital on the West Coast and he initiated the development of comprehensive Rheumatic Fever Prevention and Management Guidelines.

Professor Sharpe is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and an Honorary Fellow of the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

andrew aitkenAndrew had a distinguished undergraduate career during his medical studies at the University of Otago, qualifying in 1987. As a junior doctor in Wellington, he& pursued cardiology, achieving FRACP in 1998.

He proceeded to Edinburgh in 1999 for post-fellowship training, to take up the post of Specialist Registrar in Cardiology at the Royal Infirmary. There, his main focus was the development of skills in interventional cardiology.

Another aim in Edinburgh was to further his experience in Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology, so for the first six months of 1999, Andrew was Paediatric Cardiology Registrar at Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children. He returned to the Specialist Registrar in Cardiology post at the Royal Infirmary for the remainder of 1999, before returning to New Zealand.

On his return in January 2000, Andrew was appointed Consultant Cardiologist at Wellington Hospital and he has been an interventional cardiologist for the last 20 years.

He is also responsible for the Congenital Heart Disease service at the hospital. As well as being involved in the care of babies and children with heart disease problems in the past, Andrew has developed the Adult Congenital Heart Disease service. He has also been instrumental in establishing the cardiovascular genetics clinics in Wellington and the multidisciplinary care of pregnant women with cardiovascular conditions.

Andrew has an interest in pulmonary hypertension and serves on the PAH panel for PHARMAC, as well as being a member of the Cardiovascular Subcommittee.

Cherian SebastianCherian was born in India and graduated in Medicine from the University of Calicut. He migrated to New Zealand as a house surgeon at Auckland Hospital in 1988.

His training in cardiology took place at Wellington Hospital, and he was awarded a Heart Foundation Overseas Training Fellowship to travel to Oklahoma, USA for further training in Interventional Cardiology and Echocardiography.

On his return to New Zealand in 2001 he established the first Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at Taranaki Base Hospital.

Cherian joined Waikato Hospital as an Interventional cardiologist in 2002 and has worked with Waikato Heart and Midland Cardio-Vascular Services since then.

He is a former Clinical Director of Cardiology, Director of Cardiac Catheterisation laboratory, Director of Cardiology training and current Director of Coronary Care Unit at Waikato Hospital.

John ElliotJohn is a General and Interventional Cardiologist who holds joint appointments as an Interventional Cardiologist at Christchurch Hospital and as an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Otago Christchurch School of Medicine. He has also been in part-time private practice since 1996.

He graduated from the University of Otago in 1979, completed his PhD and further clinical training in medicine at Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, followed by advanced training in cardiology at Green Lane Hospital, Auckland.

In 1992 he was awarded the White Parsons Heart Foundation Overseas Training Fellowship which enabled him to travel to the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, USA and complete his Fellowship in Interventional Cardiology.

He returned to Christchurch in 1995. His clinical achievements include helping to establish the busy and successful coronary angioplasty program at Christchurch Hospital, completing multiple clinical audits, and ongoing research into novel cardiovascular medications and coronary stents.

He also served as Chair of the New Zealand Committee of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand in 2006 and 2007.

Dr Gerard T WilkinsBorn and educated initially in southern New Zealand, Dr Wilkins graduated in 1978 from the Otago Medical School and completed specialist training in Internal Medicine and subsequently Cardiology in 1984. He was involved in the earliest use of coronary angioplasty in New Zealand from 1981-1984. Awarded a National Heart Foundation overseas scholarship, he continued his education as a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University in Boston, USA from 1984-1988 

There, significant contributions to the development of the then new imaging technique of Echocardiography and Doppler were made including foundation work in the selection and management of patients for balloon valvuloplasty, infarct sizing in myocardial infarction and management of prosthetic heart valves. From this period the widely used Wilkins Score for mitral valvuloplasty case selection was developed.

Dr Wilkins has continued a pioneering interest in vascular intervention and has been involved in the introduction of many new techniques, devices and trials, including the first use of coronary stents in NZ. He has worked with denervation techniques, and structural heart disease and has a very long experience in complex coronary intervention and teaching which ranges from medical students, the training of registrars and advanced Trainees in Cardiology through to many roles as expert faculty at international cardiology conferences. 

Dr Wilkins was appointed to the staff of Otago Medical School in 1988 and returned with his family to New Zealand taking up a job with both the University and Dunedin Hospital. Dr Wilkins is an Associate Professor of Medicine, at Otago University and a Consultant Cardiologist at Dunedin and Mercy Hospitals.

Read an interview with Gerry for the CSANZ Annual Scientific Meeting 2021.