Rob Bertelink, cardiac rehab coach, to the rescue!

Rob Bertelink, cardiac rehab coach. Photo Olivia Bertelink.
Rob Bertelink, cardiac rehab coach. Photo Olivia Bertelink.

We’ve all done it! Skipped an exercise session, watched just one more episode on Netflix instead of getting in our 10,000 steps, ordered fries with our meal when we know salad is the better choice. Now there’s hope, in the form of Leaside’s Rob Bertelink.

Rob Bertelink describes himself as an accountability coach whose area of specialization is cardiac rehabilitation. His credentials, career path and kudos from patients are testament to his expertise and commitment to results.

For three decades Rob was the clinical coordinator and cardiac rehab supervisor for the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program at the University Health Network, which includes Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, The Michener Institute of Education, and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. He just retired in mid-April yet isn’t ready to hang up his stethoscope. Instead, he is launching an executive cardiac rehab business so he can continue to contribute to the health and wellness of past and potential patients, including those who have graduated from 12-week hospital programs and those who want to prevent a cardiac event or be held accountable to maintain their health and wellness at any age.

For those unaware of cardiac rehab, in 1967 Dr. Terence Kavanagh became medical director of the Toronto Rehabilitation Centre (TRC) and introduced what has now become the largest outpatient cardiac rehabilitation program in North America. During his 32-year tenure at TRC, 25,000 patients passed through the program and benefited from his groundbreaking approaches. Patients are referred by their doctor after surgery or a cardiac event to UHN’s 12-week cardiac rehab program located at UHN’s Rumsey Road Rehabilitation Centre.

As Rob explains, “Participants begin the program with a cardiopulmonary exercise assessment measuring their cardiovascular fitness. A personalized program of exercise and education is designed by the team to address each person’s needs, goals and fitness level.”

As an advocate of current hospital-based programs, Rob urges “anyone who has had a heart attack or cardiac surgery to undergo a cardiac rehab hospital-based program, which has been shown to decrease the odds of repeat events by upwards of 50 per cent supporting participants in living active, healthier, more independent lives.”

As a father, Rob likes to inform students that “at the Rumsey Centre we do a lot of student placements in physiology and kinesiology and have a number of volunteers supporting our program.”

As you can appreciate, Rob’s patients prefer to remain anonymous, yet one provided this testimonial: “With his compassionate counsel, empathy, knowledge and expertise, Rob has even helped a couple of grateful people at Leaside Life with their own health issues.”

“I was thrilled to receive the 2023 Clinical Educator of the Year award from the Toronto Rehabilitation Centre for my work with doctors and students,” Rob says. “Back in 2019, the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute fundraising president announced at a cardiac department event that more donations had been made in my name than any other TRI employee. Receiving the Honour Your Hero award had me smiling because it’s not one donor giving a million bucks. It’s a thousand people giving $10 or $15, which to me just means so much.”

Looking to stay on your personal health and wellness track? You can find Rob, the accountability coach, at:

About Suzanne Park 62 Articles
Suzanne Park is a leadership and conversation coach and writer who enjoys bringing to the pages of Leaside Life the unique experiences and community contributions of her Leaside neighbours. Her daughter Zhen, a student at Leaside High School, is also a contributor to Leaside Life with a fresh perspective on her community.