Dr. Anmol Kapoor: Calgary Cardiologist and Philanthropist
One of Calgary’s leading cardiologists, Dr. Anmol S. Kapoor was born in the city of Nabha, India. While growing up, Kapoor was imparted with the principle that “no matter if a person was an enemy or a friend, one should do everything possible to help others in a desperate situation”. This philosophy was exemplified throughout Dr. Kapoor’s life, beginning with his father’s pharmacy near the local hospital in Nahba. Kapoor’s father was always available even in the evenings and opened his shop beyond business hours if there was an emergency. It was during these childhood experiences working with the community and first hand exposure to the healthcare field, that Kapoor started to dream of a future in medicine. He was intrigued with the prospect of helping those with chronic diseases and improving access to doctors and medications. The principle to help all society members remained with him throughout his journey to become a cardiologist and today, he is still assisting those who are less fortunate.
Dr. Kapoor is currently living in Calgary with his wife and two young children, and is working at the Advanced Cardiology Clinic. He enjoys spending time with his family and playing with his children on his days off. Kapoor also continually researches what is occurring worldwide. By keeping updated on current events, Kapoor says he is able to develop new ideas to help others.
Dreaming of becoming a doctor while growing up, Kapoor was accepted into Irkutsk State Medical University in 1994 and completed his final years of medical training at St. Petersburg Medical Academy in 2000. His passion in cardiology grew once he had begun his medical education in Russia. This motivated Kapoor to continue working hard to succeed in helping those with heart-related health conditions.
After graduating from medical school, Kapoor arrived in Canada and completed his 3-year residency program in Internal Medicine at the University of Alberta. There he became the first Turbaned Sikh Chief Resident in the Department of Medicine. Kapoor then went on to receive his Cardiology training at the University of Manitoba and trained in Carotid Ultrasound at the Cleveland Clinic.
Upon completing his cardiology residency, Kapoor moved to Calgary and has since been working at the Advanced Cardiology Clinic. Throughout his career, Kapoor focused on getting to know each of his patients to build a relationship and made sure they felt comfortable. He believed the extra effort to understand his patients helped him communicate and maximize the trust between his patients. Kapoor’s attentiveness was recognized when he was nominated for the AMA award for physicians with compassionate care.
Do It for Life (DIL) Walk Foundation
While Kapoor was training to become a cardiologist, his desire to help others fueled his meticulous evaluation of heart disease risks in Canada. It was then when he came across data that summarized an increased risk prevalent in South Asian Canadians. Particularly, there was an absence of awareness by health professionals and communities despite alarming findings in the literature. As Kapoor was dedicated to ensuring fair access to all resources and knowledge the Canadian health care offered, he took it upon himself to help those that needed it, particularly the South Asian community. He commented that “necessity was the mother of innovation” and had “led to many innovations in our lives”. In this case, Kapoor developed the DIL Walk Foundation in response to the need to lower heart disease risks for these Canadians.
The DIL Walk Foundation is a volunteer led charity co-founded in 2011 by Kapoor and his wife, Raman Kapoor, who is a Registered Dietitian. The foundation is one of the first primary prevention approaches in Canada to promote a healthy lifestyle for South Asians. There is an annual walk held every summer and education is stressed as an important prevention measure against heart conditions. The DIL Walk educates South Asian Canadians about wellness, access, linkages and knowledge regarding common heart disorders (i.e., heart attacks). This new knowledge will aid them in attaining resources available such as medical, community, print resources, testing, and self-management. These measures in return will benefit individuals from heart attacks and other heart disorders because of an increased understanding. Furthermore, the foundation’s prevention approaches relieves the Canadian health care system, as fewer patients will enter the hospital for their chronic diseases.
In addition to increasing awareness, the foundation works at a grass roots level to bring communities together and share information during the DIL Walk. A large emphasis is placed on implementing change at a local level due to support from the literature. It was found that the most effective approach to educating others on health issues were through peers, rather than health professionals educating their patients. Thus, Kapoor elaborates that by “involving local community members and building bridges among various ethnicities, the DIL Walk Foundation hoped to educate and increase awareness”. The end goal of the foundation is said to be “reducing heart attack rates and efficiently informing South Asian Canadians as well as other communities”.
With this bottom-up approach, the DIL Walk Foundation also provides opportunities for “local doctors to take the lead in the field of primary prevention” and enable interaction with the public. Kapoor laments that it is “very difficult for physicians to offer education in routine busy clinics”. So with the DIL Walk, Kapoor is confident that “physicians will be better able to engage their community members and provide focused education at a mass scale”. Moreover, he sees this approach as a chance to “tackle gaps in the public healthcare system and offer public education”. An example of the doctor-community interaction encouraged by the foundation is when physicians and health professionals are invited to talk with participants amidst the annual walks.
Since 2011, the foundation’s prevention efforts and beginning at a grass roots level already touched over 20,000 South Asian communities. As well, Kapoor facilitated in establishing the 1 million dollar research chair on South Asian Heart Health at the Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary. The funds for the research are in hopes of discovering new solutions for the devastating heart diseases affecting many lives today.
Kapoor’s commitment to the community was further evident with his dedication to assisting new refugees entering Canada. His own experience of being a grandson and son of a refugee allowed him to comprehend the sufferings of “losing a home, valuables, and memories”. He recalled the emotional stories of his grandparents when they became refugees during the Partition of India in 1947. Kapoor related to the refugees’ sufferings and believed “no matter the nationality of a refugee, we as a society should do whatever possible to help them”.
As a cardiologist, Kapoor was particularly cognizant of how refugees were not able to afford medication for their illnesses. He understood this would not be fixed without support from Canadians and thereby, Kapoor directed fundraisers for refugees coming to Calgary. He also took time to interact with Syrian refugee children, and tried brightening their day by taking them for a ride in a Ferrari California T. Kapoor confessed that while he “couldn’t change the world and take away the refugees’ distress”, he could at least “change the world of one child and make it one of their happiest days”.
Furthermore, he is currently involved in generating awareness and is an advocate for women health, visible minorities, active lifestyle for children and preventing drug use. One of his proudest moments was his successful launch of “KickNasha (drugs)” to prevent drug use. His global campaign had a great response and was a top trend on twitter in India and worldwide.
The devotion Kapoor has for the community and caring for minority demographics was recognized on numerous occasions. He won the prestigious Hindi Rattan Award (Jewel of India) on January 2015 in New Delhi. Later in the year in May, he was invited to Capitol Hill, Washington to receive the Pravasi Rattan Award. In September 2015, he was presented with the Mahatma Ganhi Award at the House of Lords, London.
Bollywood Movie Producer
Along with Kapoor’s successful medical career, his artistic qualities led him to become a content creator. He was always interested in movies and had relied on music to calm him on several occasions. Especially while attending medical school in Russia, he was fascinated with drama productions and even partook in writing his own plays. The familiarity of films allowed him to take advantage of the aspects of entertainment to educate people about “various challenges faced by humanity”. His two soon to be released international films “Phullu” and “Palki” have significant messages in both movies. “Phullu” focused on the stigma faced by Indian women still to this day, while “Palki” revealed possible solutions to the discrimination against women. Such solutions include promoting women empowerment and education.
Kapoor’s constant research to enhance the lives of his patients guided him towards making a change to the healthcare system with his new mobile app. He had already attempted to speak with the Albertan government countless times to adjust how patients were handled. However, Kapoor could not wait any longer and took initiative to innovate how doctors treated their patients.
Studies had shown an alarming 50% of heart failure patients died in a span of 5 years. This was partially due to the patient’s inability to see their cardiologists when their condition worsened, as they were booked up to 6 months in advance. To fix this problem, the mobile app is a technological innovation that will let cardiologists track their patients and identify their current health condition. The patient can report if they are not feeling well on the app and answer a few questions to see their doctor on that very same day.
The free mobile app launch is expected to be in 2017 and will begin the initial trials at Kapoor’s Advanced Cardiology Clinic. He states this will change healthcare, as doctors will now be able to provide immediate help when their patients’ conditions deteriorates. The variable schedule will also reduce the burden on Canada’s health care because patients will no longer visit the emergency for their ailment. Furthermore, as worldwide available app, any individual will still be able to access critical information to augment their knowledge about heart disorders.