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Heart and Stroke Foundation honours leading Saskatchewan health researcher

Heart and Stroke Foundation honours leading Saskatchewan health researcher

Saskatoon, Feb. 20, 2009 - The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) is presenting Dr. Jim Thornhill of Saskatoon with its highest honour, the Award of Merit, at a ceremony in Ottawa this weekend.  Dr. Thornhill is being recognized for his outstanding leadership in the field of heart and stroke research, and for his lifelong dedication to improving prevention, treatment and recovery from stroke, benefiting people throughout Saskatchewan and across the country.

Dr. Thornhill is Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, and is Special Advisor to the Associate Vice-President Research - Health, University of Saskatchewan /Vice-President Research and Innovation, Saskatoon Health Region. He is also a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan life member and past board member, and he continues to have direct involvement in leading the development of an integrated stroke strategy for the province.

Dr. Thornhill came to the University of Saskatchewan in the 1980s, pursuing an active research career focusing on the effects of temperature and inflammation on stroke. Very soon after, he became involved as a funded researcher and volunteer for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. He was one of the original founders of the Saskatchewan Stroke Research Centre and has continued to serve on various provincial and national Heart and Stroke Foundation committees, including several terms on the Foundation’s Provincial Board of Directors.

Dr. Thornhill’s research interests lie in understanding the key role temperature plays in the quality-of-life outcomes for people who have a stroke. He has co-developed and holds patents for cooling collars for stroke patients in the pre-hospital setting, so that the usually-short window of opportunity for effective stroke treatment may be extended. His other projects have looked at new and novel ways to halt the same inflammatory cascade that too often results in poor outcomes for stroke patients.

While at the University of Saskatchewan, and throughout his research career, Dr. Thornhill has mentored and supervised many undergraduate and graduate students, helping to launch these students into health research careers. He has hosted CIHR workshops on grantsmanship for these young researchers, and has at least 75 peer adjudicated publications and more than 80 published abstracts. More recently, he was named the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) delegate for the University of Saskatchewan and was appointed to a three-year term as special advisor to a newly formed joint initiative relating to health research and innovation between the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Health Region and in the new U of S Academic Health Sciences Centre.

In additional to his personal research and teaching contributions, he has been a consistent and persistent force for building research capacity in the province and improving collaboration between partners along the way. He has been instrumental in removing barriers and building bridges so that institutions and organizations can cooperatively nurture a growing health research community here, with active and engaged interdisciplinary research teams.

“Dr. Thornhill is a true champion of opening doors to collaboration among health researchers, policy-makers and clinicians in the community,” says Sally Brown, HSFC chief executive officer. “His focus on finding new and innovative ways to create synergies among the many players in the health research field will ultimately improve Canadians’ health and help the Foundation advance its mission.”

“Dr. Thornhill exemplifies the big heart Saskatchewan people are known for,” echoes Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan President Nikki Gerrard. “His volunteer commitment to the Heart and Stroke Foundation is extraordinary. The gift of his time, expertise and talent combine with his desire to make a difference in the health and lives of our province’s people, and make him an outstanding citizen. We are thrilled that he has been selected for this prestigious national honour.”

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan ( is a leading funder of heart and stroke research in Saskatchewan. Our mission is to lead in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.


For more information, please contact:

Rhae Ann Bromley
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan
Cell 306-631-8559                                                                 

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