Professor Prabhakaran Dorairaj is helping people clarify diet and lifestyle choices that optimize heart health. He will be presenting the Varshney Visiting Scholar Public Lecture on at 7 pm on May 30 at SFU Harbour Centre.

Varshney Visiting Scholar to address interventions for optimal heart health, especially for South Asians

May 25, 2022

By Sharon Mah

UPDATE: a full video of the presentation is now available (embedded below) or download the slide deck now

Professor Prabhakaran Dorairaj arrived at the SFU Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) in February 2020 to complete the first half of his appointment as a Visiting Professor. He had originally planned to return later during the Fall 2020 term to complete the last half of his appointment. The split visits were intended to allow the renowned cardiologist, epidemiologist, and researcher to attend to his ongoing projects at the Public Health Foundation of India where he serves as the Vice-President of Research and Policy.

After wrapping his first six weeks at FHS, Dorairaj made it back to India mere days before countries around the world shut down their borders, curtailing international travel in the hopes of stopping the rapid spread of the virus now known as SARS-CoV-2.

When COVID-19 vaccines were distributed around the globe in 2021-22 and there was improved confidence in the ability of governments and corporations to facilitate safe international travel, Canada’s borders opened up to international travel and Dorairaj returned to SFU. He’s been happily renewing relationships with Canadian colleagues and communities, and completing what he started two years ago.

Dorairaj’s time with FHS is drawing to a close, but before he returns home, he will deliver the 2022 Varshney Visiting Scholar Public Lecture on Monday, May 30 at 7:00 pm. His talk, The Right Diet and Lifestyle for a Healthy Heart,” will focus on how conditions such as heart disease and diabetes can be potentially prevented or postponed by following the right life lifestyle and diet. His research has illuminated the underlying mechanisms for the high propensity of diabetes and heart disease among South Asians, and he will be highlighting this population during his lecture.

“There is a lot of conflicting advice about what a diet for optimal heart health looks like,” says Dorairaj. “Here in Canada where the population is very diverse, the needs of specific groups – such as South Asians who are especially vulnerable to heart diseases and diabetes – is at best not well understood and at the worst highly confusing. During my lecture, I hope to offer my research and experience to help clarify which diet and lifestyle choices should be prioritized to achieve and/or maintain optimal heart health for everyone, with a special emphasis on South Asian community.”

The lecture and Dorairaj’s appointment as a Visiting Professor with the Faculty of Health Sciences was made possible by an endowment provided by the Hari and Madhu Varshney Visiting Scholars Program in Indian Studies. This program was first established by SFU and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) through donations made by Hari and Madhu Varshney for whom the endowment is named. The program fosters and strengthens cultural relations by hosting world-class Indian scholars from a wide range of disciplines such as international studies, contemporary arts, business, world literature and now, health sciences.

Members of the public are invited to attend the 2022 Varshney Visiting Scholar Public Lecture either in-person at the Fletcher Theatre at SFU Harbor Centre or virtually via a YouTube livestream. Those attending the talk in-person will be invited to stay for a networking reception following the talk. Tickets and event details are now available online.