2022 UOHI Investigator of the Year – Heather Tulloch

December 12, 2022

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is pleased to announce that Heather Tulloch, PhD was named the 2022 UOHI Investigator of the Year. This award recognizes Dr. Tulloch’s outstanding research achievements in the past year.

Dr. Tulloch is a Clinical, Health, and Rehabilitation Psychologist, Scientist, and Director of the Cardiovascular Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine Laboratory at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Her innovative research program focuses on the development of psychological interventions to improve mental health and cardiovascular outcomes, which supports her work as a clinical psychologist.

In her career, Dr. Tulloch has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, which together have accumulated nearly 5K citations (h-index of 30, i10-index of 61). Impressively, nearly 20% of these publications were published over the last year (n = 18) and 2 additional articles are still under review, demonstrating a remarkable trajectory of productivity. Prominent outputs from her research program include a screening and triage protocol for depression and anxiety in cardiac rehabilitation (JCRP, 2018) and the identification of clinically significant changes on mental health screeners (JCRP, 2019). Recently, Dr. Tulloch received CIHR bridge funding to qualitatively examine the perspective of patients with spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). She then received further CIHR funding to quantitatively investigate the psychological profile of patients with SCAD across Canada; this work is now  expanding to sites internationally with collaborators in the United Kingdom, the USA, and Australia.

Dr. Tulloch has received an outstanding level of external peer-reviewed funding, with over $10M in total funding and >$3M as nominated principal investigator. In 2022 alone, she has received federal grant support by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grant. Such contributions to the cardiovascular health psychology field have drawn attention from national and international audiences; Dr. Tulloch has delivered 79 invited presentations at national and international meetings, 6 of which were this past year, including talks at the European Health Psychology Society Conference in Bratislava, Slovakia and at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, USA.

In recognition of her research excellence, Dr. Tulloch was awarded the 2022 University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine PhD Scientist Award for her outstanding contributions to human health research through high-impact research and exemplary collaborative work. Notably this year, she was also recognized with the Terry Kavanagh Award from the Canadian Association of Cardiovascular Rehabilitation and Prevention – the most prestigious award for demonstrated leadership and significant contributions to the field of cardiovascular prevention, rehabilitation and chronic disease management and a high level of research, academic and knowledge translation productivity with broad reaching impact.

Dr. Tulloch’s impressive research program and dedication to mentorship have attracted the best and brightest trainees. Trainees she has supervised have received honours and awards such as tri-council postdoctoral and travel awards and several recognitions from international societies, including from the American Psychological Association. This past year Dr. Tulloch also mentored her Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dr. Karen Bouchard, through the SSHRC Insight Development Grant competition, paving the way for her to secure her first grant as nominated principal investigator (and the UOHI’s first SSHRC grant).

Congratulations to Dr. Tulloch on these remarkable achievements!