Dr. Howard Wightman

Working with patients who have habitually neglected their own health and seeing them learn to take responsibility and regain their lost health is incredibly satisfying.


The heart protector

His name translates to heart protector and that’s exactly what he does. But it’s his work outside of the hospital that cardiologist Dr. Howard Wightman is recognized for by his community in Kentville, Nova Scotia.

In 1992, as a new physician in the Valley, Dr. Wightman was inspired by the idea that coronary disease was likely an inflammatory, proliferative condition in the artery that could be brought under control by diet, exercise and aggressive risk factor reduction. He joined forces with two motivated dieticians at the Valley Regional hospital and founded the Extended Warranty II program.

This 10 week program, originally operated out of Evangeline Middle School in New Minas, offers supervised exercise programs and educational presentations around heart disease, stress management and nutrition. Today the program is hosted at the Valley Regional Hospital and Acadia University.

Dr. Wightman Dr. Wightman and his group of volunteers dedicated a night every week to the program and even offered nightly cooking classes to teach patients how to prepare low fat vegetarian food. “Patients were a little skeptical at first but soon saw the benefits and improvements in their health,” said Dr. Wightman. “They really liked the individual attention and guidance and were proud to be a participant in their own healing.”

Dr. Wightman’s commitment to improving the health of his community is commendable. His volunteer efforts are admirable and have positively impacted his patients and their families’ lives.

In 1997, as the Extended Warranty II program’s success grew, Dr. Wightman formed the Valley Cardiac Rehab Society and began to fundraise for the purchase of additional exercise equipment. His inaugural Hearts on Ice family skating fundraiser raised $12,000. To date, the annual event has raised more than $200,000 all of which has gone back in to the program.

It didn’t stop there. Dr. Wightman brought the Valley Cardiac Rehab Society and the Town of Kentville together to create LifeCycle, a community event to celebrate the health and healing benefits of exercise and active living. The Town of Kentville gathered to participate in road bike rides, a kid’s bike rodeo, slow bike races, mountain bike skills workshops, Zumba and yoga classes, and various health presentations.

Nova Scotia has some of the highest rates of chronic disease and obesity in Canada. Obesity is caused by the combination of unhealthy eating and inactivity. Physicians know that inactivity can increase the risk of developing chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Wightman’s passion for promoting good health and assisting his community in the prevention of disease is to be applauded. “It’s enjoyable for me, as a physician, to take on a leadership role in health promotion,” said Dr. Wightman. “I am passionate about it and get so much joy in seeing people discover that they have the power to improve their own health.”

Community Support

Submitted By: Jenna Melanson Meuse

About: Dr. Howard Wightman

What can I say about Dr. Wightman, He’s friendly, soft spoken and a gentle person. He’s really good with people and he’s very caring. I remember going to see him, I would first get a Echocardigram its like a ultrasound […]

Submitted By: Sherri Turner

About: Dr. Howard Wightman

During Convocation on May 15 and 16, Acadia University will grant honorary degrees to six outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to society through their work in communities near and far and their advocacy to build a better life […]

Submitted By: Rolly Jenner

About: Dr. Howard Wightman

My wife was having some heart problems & Dr Wightman took the time to give her a thorough exam & answer all her questions. Surgery was not required but it put our minds at ease knowing that even though she […]

Submitted By: Heather King

About: Dr. Howard Wightman

The Cardiac Rehab Program at the Valley Regional Hospital has helped to put my husband back to work…Having had bi-pass surgery 18 years ago, Colby had his 2nd heart attack, then another bi-pass last spring. He attended the program, with […]