Dr Liesl Zühlke, MB ChB DCH FCPAeds MPH FESC PhD trained as a Paediatric Cardiologist in Cape Town and Dusseldorf, Germany. She has a MPH in clinical research methods, and a doctorate on outcomes in Rheumatic Heart Disease.
Dr Zuhlke is widely regarded as an emerging leader in cardiovascular medicine on the African continent. Her major research interests lie in Rheumatic Heart Disease and congenital heart disease. An honorary senior lecturer in the Dept of Pediatric Cardiology at RXH, she now works full-time as a post-doctoral researcher , managing several large scale RHD projects in SA and on the continent Africa. In this capacity, she has been instrumental in the development, coordination and management of a Global Rheumatic Heart Disease Registry (the REMEDY study) involving 25 sites, in 12 African countries, Yemen and India., recently published to acclaim in the European Heart Journal.
She has received a number of awards including an academic excellence award from Discovery, NIH Fogarty Fellowship, a Wellcome CIDRI award and an early career Thrasher award. She is currently the Hamilton Naki Clinical Scholar, an award given to clinical scholars of excellence. She is the president of the paediatric cardiac society of South Africa, the president-elect of the South African Heart Association and the chairperson of the Paediatric task-force of the Pan-AFrican Society of Cardiology.She is on the board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa and is co-director of Rheach (Rheumatic Heart Disease-Evidence, Advocacy, Communication and Hope), the recipient of one of the largest grants from Medtronic Philanthropy for work in Rheumatic heart disease. The initiative will be providing scientific and technical support for Global RHD programmes over the next five years. She has also recently established a research unit for paediatric and congenital heart disease, the Childrens Heart Disease Research Unit, which is based at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. She co-edited a special edition of the Global Heart Journal focused on the “Continued challenges in Rheumatic Heart Disease” with Professors Carapetis, Peth Australia, Taubert, American Heart Association and Narula, Mount Sinai Hospital. She is one of the authors of the Mosi-O-Tunya call to action for RHD and a white paper publication of research priorities for Rheumatic Fever and rheumatic heart disease. She recently presented on the needs in adolescents in RHD at the World Health Assembly in Geneva and t the United Nations Health Assembly in New York in September.