ACC.16 Kicks Off With Focus on Population Health, Prevention
ACC President Kim Allan Williams, MD, FACC, welcomed thousands of cardiovascular professionals to his hometown of Chicago for the College’s 65th Annual Scientific Session as part of the Opening Showcase Session on Saturday.
“Chicago has experienced the intersection of history and change countless times over the years and has carved its own roads into the history of the U.S.,” Williams said. “I can’t think of a better place to host a meeting that is occurring at a time where as a profession we are experiencing an intersection of science and change. Chicago by its very nature sparks innovation and I hope we can all capture a bit of that spark and carry it with us when we leave.”
As part of the session, Williams paid tribute to all those involved in making ACC.16 happen, including ACC.16 Chair Athena Poppas, MD, FACC, and Co-Chair Jeffrey Kuvin, MD, FACC. Poppas, who joined Williams on stage later in the session, highlighted the many new features that make ACC.16 stand out from previous meetings, including an enhanced poster area, special intensives focused on hot topics in cardiovascular care, the more than 270 companies making up the ACC.16 Expo, opportunities to obtain simultaneous continuing medical education and Maintenance of Certification credit, and increased interactive opportunities both on and off the Expo floor.
Attendees also had the chance to hear a special taped welcome address from First Lady Michelle Obama, who highlighted the Let’s Move campaign and thanked the ACC and attendees for focusing on lifestyle changes that can prevent cardiovascular disease.
During his presidential address, Williams highlighted the significant gains over the last six decades in reducing cardiovascular mortality and preventing and treating the disease. However, he noted that cardiovascular disease continues to be the number one cause of death around the world – a position it has held since the influenza epidemic from 1918-1919. “I think it is time to finally cede this position,” he said. “The goal of becoming #2 is well within our grasp – more so than ever before.”
According to Williams, success in this area will depend on the ability of the health care community to make the most out of the opportunities afforded by the rapid advances in technologies and treatments over the last several decades. He urged an expanded focus on primary prevention and health promotion and noted that the ACC is uniquely poised to lead in this area with its more than 52,000 members worldwide, a growing network of domestic and international chapters, and strong partnerships with government agencies and other medical specialty societies.
“We must own our actions and we must be visible to the public and our patients in positive ways that affect their lives,” he said. “We must turn off the faucet instead of just mopping the floor.” Following his address, attendees took a moment of silence to remember Borys Surawicz, MD, MACC, who served the College as president from 1979-1980. David B. Nash, MD, MBA, founding dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health, then provided the annual Simon Dack Lecture, which focused on “Population Health: Is it the Secret Sauce?”
Nash highlighted some of the challenges posed by the current health care environment, including confusion by patients around treatment options; the need for better evidence at the bedside; the current balancing act between fee-for-service compensation and value-based payment; $1.2 trillion in wasteful health care spending annually; and the approximately 40 percent of the public who are at risk of heart disease as a result of smoking, unhealthy eating, lack of exercise and/or alcohol consumption.
He applauded the ACC for recognizing these challenges and “pivoting” towards value-based payment and population health management. He urged a change in culture that includes practice based on evidence, decreases in clinical variation and engagement with patients across the continuum of care. He also stressed the need for aligning physician and executive compensation with population health management.
He closed by calling on attendees to come together around population health management. “If we don’t take initiative others will take over for us,” he said.
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