Convocation Welcomes New Fellows, Associates and ACC Leaders: Awardees Recognized for Professional Accomplishments

After three days of creating connections, igniting innovation and engaging in disruptive discussion around the latest in cardiovascular research, ACC.16 closed on Monday, April 4 with the time-honored tradition of Convocation.

Presided over by outgoing ACC President Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, MACC, Convocation ushered in the newest class of ACC Fellows (FACCs) and Associates (AACCs). In addition, recipients of ACC’s Distinguished Awards, as well as recipients of ACC/Merck Research Fellowships, the ACC/William F. Keating, Esq. Endowment Award, the William W. Parmley Young Author Awards for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), the Young Author Achievement Awards for JACC journals, and the ACC Young Investigator Awards, will be recognized. Additionally, Convocation honored the first-ever class of Leadership Academy graduates.

“I have often said that the College does not exist for its own sake – but for the sake of you, its members,” said Williams during his presidential address. “The ACC is a convener – a convener of medical science, technology, education and humanity; all aimed at improving heart health and transforming cardiovascular care. Tonight we are convened to recognize outstanding leaders – both new and old – as well as formally acknowledge all of the new Fellows and Associates who have chosen the cardiovascular profession as their life’s work.”

During his address, Williams shared some thoughts on the past year, and talked about opportunities going forward for the College to continue to serve as a convener and a leader in the cardiovascular space. “This in many ways was an unprecedented year for the College,” he said. “We have had changes in our reimbursement, our certification and accreditation, our focus on prevention and our governance.”

Williams noted one of the highlights of his year was representing the College at the White House following the signing of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), permanently repealing the flawed sustainable growth rate formula. He also highlighted opportunities to engage globally around population health, leadership development, and ensuring a diverse cardiovascular workforce.

He closed by saying his time as president has been the opportunity of a lifetime. “Instead of thanking me, please say ‘you're welcome’ because I am thanking you for the privilege of serving you, the College and the cardiovascular community both here and abroad.”

Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC, joined Williams on stage following the speech to receive the presidential chain. Chazal, who has practiced in Fort Myers, FL, since 1983, currently serves the Fort Myers community as senior cardiologist and the medical director of the Heart and Vascular Institute for Lee Memorial Health System. An expert in echocardiography, diagnostic catheterization and coronary computerized tomography angiography, Chazal also serves as courtesy assistant professor of medicine for the University of Florida and clinical assistant professor of medicine for Florida State University and has held numerous ACC leadership roles at both state and national levels.

Chazal welcomed the newest class of FACCs and AACCs with an address focused on the topic of change. "These are changing times,” he said. “An overused cliché, especially in a major election year; nevertheless, I think it aptly describes what we are experiencing at this very moment in health care – particularly in our field of cardiovascular medicine.”

Among the changes: a tsunami of information, more challenging patients, rapidly changing technology, increased administrative/non-clinical burdens, an alteration of practice patterns – all with the backdrop of a likely major overhaul in the U.S. reimbursement model.

“I challenge ALL of us to meet these changes – and the challenges and opportunities they present – head on,” said Chazal. “We cannot make them go away. We are unable to go back to a simpler time. We can only decide how we choose to respond.”

Chazal challenged new FACCs and AACCs to not squander the chance to individually and collectively improve the lives of patients. “Few are so fortunate as to have such an opportunity,” he said. “Let’s take advantage of these changing times to do better for ourselves and, more importantly, for the patients whom we serve.”

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