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24 June 2021

Institute news

Sit Less Move More We spoke with cardiologist Dr Amera Halabi, who is undertaking her PhD at the Baker Institute. Amera wants to understand the mechanisms that drive heart dysfunction, with a particular focus on preventing heart failure in patients with type 2 diabetes. She hopes her strong interest in heart failure may lead to her becoming an advanced heart failure specialist. Amera is based at our new Clinical Trial and Research Centre in Hoppers Crossing. She runs the LEAVE-DM trial that aims to reduce the risk of heart failure in people over 65 years with type 2 diabetes.

What do you enjoy about working at our Hoppers Crossing facility?
I like being able to offer people in Melbourne's West the opportunity to be part of research that they may not have had access too. Participants are always excited to hear that we are targeting our research to their communities and love that we have a new facility for them.

What do you like best about your work?
I like taking the time to explain things to patients. I am a visual learner and I find that drawing a simple picture about a heart condition helps the patient understand the disease process and its management. I take pride when a patient tells me that they understand their condition after years of not knowing what was going on.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?
My biggest career achievement was when I completed my cardiology training. Years of hard work paid off and I was happy to get there!

You see a lot of patients from CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) backgrounds, can you tell us about your family background?
I come from a Lebanese background and have a big family (five kids — I bet you can't tell I'm the middle child). My parents emigrated from Lebanon in 1975. They were small-business owners. We grew up in a house behind a milk bar for most of my childhood, and then my parents progressed into running pizza shops (which to everyone's surprise, we all got sick of eating pizza). We were lucky to have most of our traditions passed on from my parent’s generation, but having grown up in a family business environment surrounded by our community, we were able to integrate and learn things about other cultures.

What do you do to unwind?
After a particularly stressful day I get in my car and sing! I also like to catch up with friends and family, exercise and of course, watch television (I’m currently watching 'Kim's Convenience' on Netflix, there are lots of parallels with my childhood!).

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