Dr. George Heckman

MD (Toronto), MMATH (Waterloo), MSc (McMaster), BASc (Laval)
Schlegel Research Chair in Geriatric Medicine
Associate Professor, Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, University of Waterloo
Staff, Hamilton Health Services Corporation, Hamilton and St. Joseph’s Health Care


bio_HeckmanDr. George Heckman, a physician specializing in aging and cardiovascular disease, was appointed in 2010 as the Schlegel Research Chair in Geriatric Medicine. He also remains an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medici​ne at McMaster University. He holds specialist credentials from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeon of Canada in Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine.

Dr. Heckman’s research interests focus on managing heart disease among older adults and include complications such as dementia. Contributions from the Waterloo-Wellington Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and Grand River Hospital enable Dr. Heckman to work with local providers and planners to enhance geriatric medicine in the region by collecting an inventory of services and identifying barriers to seniors’ care. He collaborates with community partners to redevelop and improve services based on evidence, measures the outcomes, and adjusts initiatives appropriately to optimize care.

Dr. Heckman believes that frailty and chronic diseases can be proactively managed. “Many seniors end up in alternate levels of care because of preventable problems such as falls, fractures and complications associated with heart disease. The solution is to prevent it from happening in the first place.” His efforts to keep seniors as functional as possible will reduce pressures on long-term care and decrease the need for hospitalization.

Key Publications

Osman O, Sherifali D, Stolee P, Heckman G. Diabetes Management in Long-Term Care: An Exploratory Study of the Current Practices and Processes to Managing Frail Elderly Persons with Type 2 Diabetes. Can J Diabetes. 2016 Feb;40(1):17-30.doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2015.10.005.

Pfisterer KJ, Sharratt MT, Heckman G, Keller HH. Vitamin B12 status in older adults living in Ontario long-term care homes: prevalence and incidence of deficiency with supplementation as a protective factor. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab.  2016 Feb;41(2):219-22. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2015-0565.

Costa, A.P; Harkness, K.; Haughton, D.; Heckman, G.A.; McKelvie, R.S. Risk of Emergency Department Use among Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Review of Risk Factors and Screening Methods. Clinical Practice, 11(6): 763-776.

Costa AP, Hirdes JP, Bell CM, Bronskill SE, Heckman GA, Mitchell L, Poss JW, Sinha SK, Stolee P. Derivation and Validation of the DIVERT Scale for Classifying the Risk of Emergency Department Use among Frail Community-Dwelling Older Adults. J Am Geriatr Soc 63:763–769, 2015.

Gibbs JC, McArthur C, Milligan J, Clemson L, Lee L, Boscart VM, Heckman G, Rojas-Fernandez C, Stolee P and Giangregorio LM. Measuring the implementation of a group-based Lifestyle-integrated Functional Exercise (Mi-LiFE) intervention delivered in primary care for older adults aged 75 years or older: A pilot feasibility study protocol. Pilot and Feasibility Studies 2015, 1:20 doi:10.1186/s40814-015-0016-0.

Lee L, Heckman G, McKelvie R, Jong P, D’Elia T, Hillier LM. Physician Perceptions of Capacity Building for Managing Chronic Disease in Seniors with Integrated Interprofessional Care Models: A Mixed Methods Study. Can Fam Physician. 2015;61:e148-57.

Lee L, Heckman G, Molnar F. Frailty:  Identifying Elderly Persons at High Risk of Poor Outcomes. Can Fam Physician. 2015;61:227-31.

Members of the Heart Failure Working Group, McKelvie RS, Heckman GA, Blais C, Cox JL, Ezekowitz JA, Gong Y, Harkness K, Moe G, Dai S, Dorian P, Johnstone DE; Other authors, McGeachie EC, Tu JV, Lambert LJ. Canadian Cardiovascular Society Quality Indicators for Heart Failure. Can J Cardiol. 2015 Dec 29. pii:S0828-282X(15)01698-0. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2015.12.027.

George A Heckman, Cara Tannenbaum, Andrew P Costa, Karen Harkness and Robert S McKelvie. The journey of the frail older adult with heart failure: implications for management and health care systems. Reviews in Clinical Gerontology, Available on CJO 2014 doi:10.1017/S0959259814000136.

Heckman GA, Boscart VM, McKelvie RS. Management considerations in the care of elderly heart failure patients in long-term care facilities. Future Cardiol. 2014;10(4):563-77. doi: 10.2217/fca.14.35.

Strachan, P.H., Kaasalainen, S., Horton, A., Jarman, H., D-Elia, T., Van Der Horst, M., Newhouse, I, Kelley, ML. , McCainey, C., McKelvie, R., Heckman, G.(2014). Managing heart failure in the long-term care setting: nurses’ experiences in Ontario, Canada. Nursing Research, 63(5); 357-365. DOI: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000049.

Foebel AD, Heckman GA, Ji K, Dubin JA, Turpie ID, Hussack P, McKelvie RS. Heart failure-related mortality and hospitalization in the year following admission to a long-term care facility: the geriatric outcomes and longitudinal decline in heart failure (GOLD-HF) study. J Card Fail. 2013;19(7):468-77.

Heckman GA, Molnar FJ, Lee L. Geriatric medicine leadership of health care transformation: to be or not to be? Can Geriatr J. 2013;16(4):192-5.

Heckman GA, Foebel AD, Dubin JA, Ng J, Turpie ID, Hussack P, McKelvie RS. The value of admission clinical data for diagnosing heart failure in long-term care. Can Geriatr J. 2013;16(4):147-155.

Kaasalainen S, Strachan PH, Heckman GA, D’Elia T, McKelvie RS, McAiney C, Stolee P, van der Horst ML, Kelley ML, Demers C. Living and dying with heart failure in long-term care: experiences of residents and their family members. Int J Palliat Nurs. 2013;19(8):375-82.

Glenny C, Heckman G, McKelvie R. Heart Failure in Older Persons: Considerations for the primary care Physician. CGS Journal of CME. 2012;2(1):9-18.

Harkness K, Heckman G, McKevlvie R. The older patient with heart failure-high risk for frailty and cognitive impairment. Expert Rev Cardiovas Ther. 2012;10(6):779-95.



Contact Information

Faculty of Applied Health Sciences
Lyle Hallman North, BMH 3732
University of Waterloo
200 University Ave. West
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

Email: ggheckma@uwaterloo.ca
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext. 31028