What will it take to avoid millions of preventable cardiovascular disease death? Coordinated action and new ways of working across disciplines and sectors are key. This week saw the inauguration of a group of emerging leaders who are dedicated to making changes to reduce premature mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 25% by 2025.

The Emerging Leaders programme is a presidential initiative of the World Heart Federation that promises to develop a group of future professional leaders who are focused on mortality reduction of CVD throughout the world. Travelling from 16 countries as far apart as Saudi Arabia, China and Chile, the participants successfully competed for 25 places on the programme and were chosen on their ability and commitment in this area of non-communicable chronic diseases. The backgrounds of the Emerging Leaders vary from nutritionists to cardiologists, health system and policy researchers – recognizing that a multi-sector approach is needed to make lasting change.

Acknowledging that the ambitious targets for 2025 need sustained campaigns of both prevention and treatment, World Heart Federation's CEO Johanna Ralston says: “I am really excited that this group will be at the forefront of driving the action required if we are to significantly reduce premature deaths from cardiovascular disease by 2025. It is so important that we invest in future talent and thought leaders to help create lasting change via healthcare systems, governments and improving public awareness.”

Dr.Mark Huffman from North-western University, which together with McMaster University (Population Health Research Institute) is delivering the content of the programme, said: “the calibre of the Emerging Leaders is outstanding and we have had some really stimulating discussions which confirms to me that these are truly passionate game changers who are motivated to improve the lives of millions of people globally.”

Underlining the significance of this first meeting, some eminent speakers came to Hamilton, in Ontario Canada, to work with the group, including David Wood, Prabhat Jha and Darwin Labarthe.  The session was opened by Dr. Salim Yusuf and Johanna Ralston from World Heart Federation spoke of the significance of this initiative in relationship to 25x25.

The Emerging Leaders programme will begin its search for the 2015 intake in the autumn and information. You can find more information by going to the Emerging Leaders section of this website.