Dr Martha Mackay

K M MacMillan Scholar

23 Oct 2017

Announcing Dr. Martha Mackay as the new Katherine M. MacMillan Nursing Research Scholar at UBC

The University of British Columbia School of Nursing is pleased to announce the Katherine M. MacMillan Nursing Research Scholar award has been conferred on Dr. Martha Mackay, Clinical Associate Professor. The award, named in honour of VGH alumnus and a champion of UBC's School of Nursing, Katherine M. MacMillan, supports research conducted by School of Nursing faculty and enhances the School's international reputation for research and scholarship and its vision of social relevance and excellence. The 5-year award will be used to further support Dr. Mackay’s research and leadership in cardiovascular nursing.

Originally from Toronto where she obtained her nursing diploma, Dr. Mackay holds three degrees from the UBC School of Nursing: BSN ’86, MSN ’97 and PhD ’10. Her passion for research has always been coupled with a commitment to excellent clinical care, and she combines the two as a leading exemplar of nurse clinician scientists, with appointments as both a Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Cardiology at St. Paul’s Hospital. Dr. Mackay’s achievements have been supported with the CIHR Clinical Research Initiative Fellowship award, the CIHR Embedded Clinician-Researcher award, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar award.

Following many years of extensive research on how patients report their symptoms of myocardial infarction, their treatment-seeking behaviours, and other patient-centred studies, Dr Mackay has turned her attention to ethnocultural and behavioural factors that contribute to disparities in patient outcomes. Data collected in Canada and examined by Dr Mackay’s team show that after percutaneous coronary intervention, patients who identified as South-Asian were about 30% more likely to require follow-up coronary intervention compared to their counterparts who identified as white. In attempting to explain the difference in outcomes among ethnicities, the tendency has been to examine patient factors only, such as lifestyle, treatment-seeking behaviour, adherence to medicine, pathological differences and so on. But Dr. Mackay’s most recent study turns the lens on the health professionals’ behaviour. The study, called “Acute Coronary Syndrome Care in Emergency Departments” (ASCEND), explores whether there is anything about the way health workers provide care that may be affecting outcomes, and whether implicit or unconscious bias comes into play during a clinical encounter. A newer research direction focuses on depression in cardiac patients, which is highly prevalent and associated with much worse cardiac outcomes. Dr. Mackay is leading the development of a randomized controlled trial to test an internet-based intervention for cardiac patients with depression, as well as translating research knowledge by implementing a depression screening tool in the cardiac acute care setting.

With this and more cutting-edge enquiry on the horizon, we look forward to Dr Mackay’s further contributions to leadership in cardiovascular nursing research and practice in Canada.

Dr Mackay's profile