Najah Adreak • Cardiovascular Network of Canada — CANet

Najah Adreak

Dr. Najah Adreak is a Clinical Researcher in the Department of Surgery at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a Trainee Representative for the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance (CWHHA).

Najah’s journey into clinical research is deeply rooted in her commitment to health equity, particularly in the realm of cardiovascular health with a keen focus on women’s heart health, especially in underserved communities. Her passion stems from a desire to address disparities and improve outcomes for marginalized populations. Her exploration into research began with a Master’s degree in Surgery, where she embarked on a pioneering project in British Columbia, evaluating the clinical outcomes of mini-sternotomy versus full-sternotomy in aortic valve replacement surgeries. This project not only expanded Najah’s knowledge but also ignited her drive to contribute meaningfully to the field of cardiac surgery.

Teaching and mentorship hold a special place in Najah’s heart, prompting her to pursue a one-year certificate program in advanced teaching from UBC. This journey transformed her into a scholar in teaching, providing Najah with opportunities to educate UBC medical students in anatomy for four years and play a pivotal role in creating educational anatomy online modules. Currently, as a preceptor in the global surgery program at UBC, Najah shares that she is privileged to share her fervour for global surgery with medical students, fostering a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities in this field.

Najah’s dedication to education extends beyond the classroom, as she actively engages in advocacy work to raise awareness about women’s heart health through community presentations and educational initiatives. Serving as the Trainee Representative for the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance and co-leading the Western Committee for the Wear Red Canada campaign, Najah strives to amplify the importance of cardiovascular health on national and global platforms!

Excitingly, Najah’s commitment to advancing women’s heart health has taken her to the TEDx stage, where she had the opportunity to share her insights and experiences, inspiring audiences nationally and globally. These efforts have been recognized through prestigious accolades, including being named one of ‘Canada’s Top 100 Black Women to Watch’ and receiving the ‘Woman of the Year’ awards. These honours serve as a testament to Najah’s unwavering dedication to breaking barriers and driving positive change in the medical field and beyond.

When asked what Najah enjoys most about being part of the CHAT community, she said “As a recent member of the CANet CHAT community, I’ve been struck by the robust support system in place for trainees, including valuable opportunities for mentorship and professional growth. This supportive environment has inspired me to become an active member and contribute to this vibrant community. Within CANet CHAT, I’ve found an enriching space where professional development is prioritized, and networking opportunities abound, allowing me to connect with peers who share my interests and goals. I look forward to further engaging with this dynamic community and making meaningful contributions to our collective advancement in cardiac research and healthcare.”

Outside of her professional endeavours, Najah has a colourful tapestry of interests and passions that bring joy and balance to her life. Najah shares that there is “something truly magical about immersing myself in nature, whether it’s trekking through lush forests or basking in the serene beauty of mountain vistas during a hike. These moments allow me to recharge and appreciate the wonders of the natural world.” Najah is a social butterfly at heart and finds immense happiness in connecting with people. Whether she’s striking up a conversation with a stranger or hosting gatherings with cherished friends, the warmth of human connection is something Najah holds dear. A unique aspect of Najah’s life is her bond with plants. There’s a special connection Najah speaks about when discussing plants, stating that plants feel almost like they are old friends. She takes delight in nurturing them, watching as new leaves unfurl and chatting with them in the morning light. It’s a ritual that has continued to bring peace and contentment to Najah’s life. Najah is also incredibly passionate about travelling, which is a passion that ignites her spirit. When exploring new destinations, immersing herself in different cultures, and savouring exotic cuisines, Najah is filled with wonder and excitement. Whether its wandering through bustling city streets or wandering off the beaten path to discover hidden gems, every adventure leaves an indelible mark on her heart.

To stay up-to-date on Najah and her research, follow her on X @NajahAdreak and visit her ResearchGate profile here (insert link).

Publication Highlight:

Media Release Highlights:

  • Invited Guest, Podcast: Women’s Health Interrupted, Women’s Health Research Cluster; Why are Women’s Cardiovascular Concerns Often Downplayed? April 2023
  • TEDx talk: How can stitch make a difference? Talk about the gap in women’s heart health and global cardiac surgery
  • Najah Adreak, Arabic version for WRC campaign key messages; the multilingual project