The naming of the heart institute
The Alberta Heart Institute was named after an Albertan who served this province and country with distinction for more than 35 years. First elected in 1968 as Member of Parliament for Vegreville, Alberta, the Right Honourable Don Mazankowski served as a cabinet minister under two prime ministers and as deputy prime minister from 1986 to 1993.
Following his distinguished political career, the heart institute’s namesake continued to serve Alberta and Canada through his commitment to improving our health system. He was founding chair of the Institute of Health Economics, chair of the Canadian Genetics Diseases Network and member of the Board of Governors of the University of Alberta. Under former Premier Ralph Klein, he reviewed Alberta’s health system as chair of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Health. His widely discussed report became known simply as The Mazankowski Report.
As part of the capital campaign for the heart institute, JR Shaw, Executive Chairman of Shaw Communications spearheaded a naming campaign to recognize Don Mazankowski’s legacy and commitment to Albertans and Canadians. This campaign received tremendous support from across Canada to honour the lifetime contribution of Don Mazankowski
In 2003, the year the sod was first turned on the construction of the institute, Mazankowski had a cardiac event requiring urgent treatment while travelling in New Zealand. In the weeks following, the former MP and health care champion saw another perspective on health systems and cardiac care. Eighteen months later on May 2, 2005, his name became the official moniker for Canada’s newest heart facility.
The institute also carries Alberta in its title in proud reflection of Premier Klein’s decision to build a world-class heart centre in a city renowned for breakthroughs in cardiac care (see Making History).
The Right Honourable Don Mazankowski, a deputy prime minister of Canada, a health care advocate and a cardiac patient.