McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Renowned McMaster nurse scientist dies

Published: July 27, 2017
Heather Arthur
Heather Arthur

Heather Arthur, a renowned McMaster University nurse scientist, has passed away.

Arthur, who pioneered cardiac rehabilitation research in Canada, died Thursday morning from cancer.

A long-time faculty member at McMaster, Arthur retired in late 2013 as a professor emerita. A McMaster School of Nursing alumna, she had joined the faculty in 1981.

"Heather was respected by many and her impact on McMaster's Faculty of Health Sciences and the field of cardiac research are both significant and long lasting," said Paul O'Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

"Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this difficult time. She will not be forgotten."

During Arthur's career, she held the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario/Michael G. DeGroote Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Nursing Research, and she was the chief scientific officer at Hamilton Health Sciences.

Arthur became the first woman and the first nursing professional to be awarded the Canadian Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation Terry Kavanagh Prize in 2013.

"I was really surprised that there had been no women to receive the awards," Arthur told the CBC in June 2013. "I'm just happy to see a woman who has contributed a lot to research in the field. It's pretty exciting."

In recognition of her pioneering contributions, the Heather M. Arthur Population Health Research Institute/Hamilton Health Sciences Chair in Inter-Professional Health Research in the McMaster School of Nursing is being established to further interdisciplinary health research. The chair goes for approval by the University's senate and board of governors this fall.

News of the chair brought great joy to Arthur and her family during her final months. She even helped establish some ideas she would love to see the chair produce.

"Heather has always been a tireless advocate of nursing research and the central role that nurses play in advancing health care," said John Kelton, professor in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and past dean of the Faculty.

"The Heather Arthur endowed chair strengthens the role of nursing scholarship in Canada's leading health sciences faculty. Heather must be proud knowing that she has been pivotal in advancing this approach."

Salim Yusuf, director of the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) and professor of medicine at McMaster, said: "Heather Arthur is an outstanding researcher who strongly mentored and supported a number of health professionals to develop research careers."

Sandra Carroll, acting associate dean and director of McMaster's School of Nursing, considered Arthur both a mentor and a friend. She met Arthur more than 10 years ago and the opportunity proved life-changing.

"Her mentorship over the years has influenced the course of my career," said Carroll.

"I will always be grateful her hearing her words of wisdom. When I'm not sure what to do, I will always hear Heather's voice."

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