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Heather J Ross, BSc, MHSc, MD, FRCPC
Affiliate Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute (TGRI)
Keywords: Quality of Life, Prognosis, Transplantation, Advanced Heart Failure 

Research Interests
Quality of Life: My research interests early in my career surrounded issues related to end of life in patients with advanced heart failure, specifically targeting care gaps in end of life care, assessing the impact of end of life discussions and trying to understand treatment preferences at the end of life. These studies advanced my knowledge in areas of qualitative research including the richness of data obtained by qualitative studies. I continue to pursue research in this area as I believe it profoundly affects patient care. A better understanding of patient preferences and how to realize these will improve care at end of life. WE are also seeking to better refine the ability to predict prognosis in advanced heart failure using prognostic modeling.

The Process of Incorporating a Transplanted Heart. My research platform has evolved into a qualitative research focus on the process of incorporating a transplanted heart. Many know heart transplantation presents challenges such as physiological rejection, but few are aware that recovered heart recipients also report significant issues around identity and mental health. As most quantitative research on the issues has failed to capture the depth/extent and reasons for the trouble, our interdisciplinary team turned to the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty and the literature on qualitative visual analysis to explore the experience of simultaneously losing/gaining a heart. We have extended our research in to better understanding the donation process, the gift of life and anonymity as it relates to heart transplant.

Immunosuppressive Optimization. I am also involved and continue to be interested in optimizing immunotherapy after heart transplantation. This has involved large scale randomized controlled trials and investigator initiated trials to better understand how to dose and monitor critical dose drugs.

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  Heather  J Ross

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