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Q&A with Stacey Matthews



Researcher Q&A


Q&A with Stacey Matthews

Stacey Matthews is the new project lead for the Global Cardiovascular Research Funders Forum’s Women’s Cardiovascular Health Initiative. Stacey’s role involves:

  • Identifying and promoting opportunities to improve research policies and practice among the global research community, focused on women’s cardiovascular health and equity;
  • Identifying, developing and collaboratively funding strategic multinational cardiovascular research initiatives focused on advancing women’s cardiovascular health;
  • Mobilising existing and wider networks and leveraging greater public and private investments in cardiovascular research focused on women’s cardiovascular health; and
  • Sharing knowledge and best practices among GCRFF participating organisations and with the broader community of health research funders.

Here, Heart Foundation team member, Stacey, discusses the GCRFF’s ambitious plans to enhance women’s cardiovascular health and research.

Why is it important to focus on women’s heart health?

Heart disease in women is under-recognised, under-treated and under-researched. Historically, most cardiovascular disease research has been conducted on men, and those findings have been generalised to women. It is important to prioritise research on women to better understand sex- and gender-based differences, such as women-specific risk factors and heart conditions that are more common in women.

How will you work with other organisations in this forum?

The project is composed of representatives from 12 GCRFF partner organisations, bringing together individuals with diverse roles and backgrounds across 9 different countries. Currently, I’m working closely with the initiative Chair, Dr. Christine Faubert from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. We’re in the consultation phase of the project, collaborating with each organisation to comprehend their initiatives on women-specific cardiovascular health and research. Our focus is on understanding priorities and identifying any gaps in knowledge.

What will your involvement in the initiative be moving forward?

I’ll be working with GCRFF partners to develop a joint position paper on how research funders can combat sex and gender inequities in cardiovascular research. We also plan to launch a major research funding opportunity jointly sponsored by the GCRFF partner organisations to address knowledge gaps and improve women’s cardiovascular health.

What scale of impact are you hoping this initiative will have on women’s heart health?

We're aiming for big impact. Bringing together 12 major research organisations allows us to speak with one unified voice, promoting attention to women's cardiovascular health globally. By collaborating internationally, we can uncover and address gaps in our understanding of how cardiovascular disease affects women, paving the way for better overall cardiovascular health, awareness, and care.

Last updated09 February 2024