Media Statement – MRFF Mission for Cardiovascular Health

The ACvA celebrates the published vision and roadmap for the MRFF Mission for Cardiovascular Health and commits to serving its goals

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) including heart, stroke and vascular diseases are the number one cause of death in Australia. Over 1.2M hospitalisations a year are attributable to CVD and it is the greatest disease healthcare expenditure cost, accounting for approximately $10.4 billion annually.

CVD is also a main contributor to the health gap. Rural, remote and regional communities have up to double the hospital admissions rates compared to the major cities. Rates of CVD remain unacceptably high in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with events occurring at a younger age; hospitalisation rates for ischaemic heart disease in those aged 25-44 years old are 7-8 times higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians compared to non-Indigenous Australians. Similarly, the rates of stroke are disproportionally greater in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples than non-Indigenous Australians.

A common misperception is that CVD is only a disease of the elderly, or that it is self-induced with poor lifestyle choices, however it affects people of all ages, and perceived fitness levels. It is not all solved. There is still much we need to do: ensuring equitable access to care; cutting edge approaches to prevention, detection, and treatment of CVD; addressing gender-disparity in disease management; and improving quality of life of patients with CVD.

The Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA) warmly welcomes the Government’s allocation of $220M over 10 years to contribute to the delivery of the Medical Research Future Fund’s (MRFF) Cardiovascular Health Mission. ACvA President, and Interventional Cardiologist, Professor Gemma Figtree said “the ACvA membership welcomes the vision and scope of the Roadmap and Implementation Plan that has benefitted from the diverse input from national and international experts, consumers and policy makers. This lays the pathway to deliver the Mission for Cardiovascular Health and support the goals of the MRFF.”

Professor Figtree said, “this major long-term investment by the Government demonstrates a decisive commitment to supporting research to significantly improve cardiovascular health and provides a unique opportunity for the whole sector – public and private – to unite and reimagine how they undertake research and spur innovation to deliver the lofty goals of the Mission.”

In Australia, we are fortunate to have a world class health system, globally recognised cardiovascular clinicians and researchers, a vibrant industry sector and consumers demanding to be involved in prioritising and developing solutions to unmet health needs. There is also significant funding available from beyond the Mission; including via the NHMRC, ARC, broader MRFF programs, philanthropy, and industry. While we have all these actors in place, we must now come together to prioritise, plan, coordinate and facilitate joint research efforts to accomplish the Mission goals.

There is also a significant opportunity for the public expenditure to be maximised by leveraging the Mission’s funds with State Governments, industry and the private sector and to influence the areas where efforts are directed. This will amplify the initial investment and cement the future success and sustainability of the Mission in addressing the $10.4B p.a burden of CVD in Australia.

The ACvA’s Executive Director, Ms Kerry Doyle indicated that the ACvA Board and Leadership have endorsed the Roadmap and Implementation Plan as the framework and priorities for the ACvA and have committed to supporting the Government’s objectives by facilitating a nationally cohesive and collaborative approach with common goals to greatly accelerate and strengthen the impact of research and innovation.

The ACvA Board commend the well-articulated Roadmap and Implementation Plan of the Mission. This is perfectly aligned with the Alliance’s goals. “Recognising the aspirational nature of the Mission, we are committed to bringing our research, clinical, industry, consumer and government teams to help take on the challenge, and to utilise our strategic governance structure and leadership to build enabling platforms to maximise our ability to shift the dial on our biggest killer. In so doing, the impact of the $20M p.a MRFF funding for the Mission will be massively amplified” said ACvA Director and Treasurer, Professor Stephen Nicholls.

Professor Figtree indicated that the ACvA’s action plan for amplifying the MRFF funding  will include:

  • bringing the best teams together to tackle high burden areas, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, arrythmias and hypertension
  • establishing major programs of work informed by strong consumer engagement
  • identifying key national and international partners
  • collaborating and aligning with other Missions to support areas of mutual priority
  • setting targets, developing and reporting on impact measures
  • developing metrics that can measure the value of collaborations
  • creating strategic forums to enable discussions with senior health officials across jurisdictions using best available data to recommend research and implementation priorities that can be embedded in the health system
  • recommending and facilitating development of supporting frameworks to enhance impact, across:
  • primary and secondary prevention
  • early detection, screening, and diagnosis
  • access to care and optimal treatment
  • rehabilitation
  • support for enhanced quality of life.


Professor Figtree stated, “the ACvA membership stands ready to collaborate, to support the Commonwealth Government’s strategic investments and the sector in taking the necessary steps to improve cardiovascular health and help alleviate the CVD burden for all Australian for a more healthy and productive future”.



  1. AIHW: Changing Patterns of Mortality in Australia (cat. No 3303.0.55.003)
  2. About the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA)

The Australian Cardiovascular Alliance is a not-for-profit member-based organisation that brings together the cardiovascular research community, industry, institutes and peak bodies to increase the impact of research in fighting the nation’s biggest killer, cardiovascular disease. Our work is supported by key partners, including BioPlatforms Australia, the Heart Foundation, the Snow Medical Foundation and the NSW Cardiovascular Research Network, as well as the contributions of our members.


Kerry Doyle