John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC: Driving the ACC Forward and Honoring Its Past

Looking back on his year as ACC President, John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, shares his top presidential priorities and how they have influenced the ACC, as well as his hopes for the future and the importance of mentors on the College’s next generation of leaders.

What were your top priorities for your ACC presidency?

During my presidential year, I’ve focused on 10 key areas:

John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC
John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC
  1. The recruitment and onboarding of ACC’s Chief Executive Officer Shalom Jacobovitz who is helping to lead the College through a period of strategic planning.
  2. Developing and deploying a digital strategy that will keep members abreast of purposeful education in the rapidly evolving digital environment.
  3. Expanding support of lifelong learning and Maintenance of Certification (MOC) as new MOC and licensure requirements continue to evolve.
  4. Moving ACC’s international strategy from political declaration to action on reducing the global burden of cardiovascular diseases.
  5. Supporting mentorship and leadership development, particularly through ACC’s Leadership Academy which will provide Fellows in Training and early career professionals an opportunity to work alongside the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors in developing and advancing strategic priorities of the College.
  6. Carefully reviewing and revising ACC’s strategic plan which will guide the College in the next five years and beyond.
  7. Championing the cardiovascular care team concept and expanding the opportunities for cardiovascular care associates, whose section celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2013.
  8. Expanding communication and collaboration between sister societies and like-minded international organizations in support of the ‘house of cardiology.’
  9. Championing the new AHA/ACC Prevention Guidelines which provide guidance on how best to manage the care of patients at risk for cardiovascular-related diseases on the basis of the latest scientific evidence, and were developed using rigorous, comprehensive, systematic evidence reviews sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
  10. Acknowledging the historical legacy of the ACC by championing a commemorative written and oral history of the College to date that will roll out during ACC’s 65th year. Embracing our previous successes and learning from our failures will ensure that we continue to grow and serve as the primary home for the global cardiovascular community.

What issues and innovations have you focused on that you hope will continue to be important to the growth of the College?

The development and implementation of a five-year digital strategy that will transform how the College interacts with members is top of mind for me. The College’s online presence,, is undergoing a hefty redesign and content overhaul and I am in full support of the development of digital, mobile applications including ACC Connect which facilitates ACC members to interact and engage with their colleagues and the College.

What do you describe as the College’s greatest strengths over the past year?

First and foremost, the ACC’s legion of volunteers and staff who have given of their time in support of the ACC’s mission is our greatest strength. It is an honor and a privilege to work alongside them. When it comes to mission-based work, the College continues to focus on enhancing cardiovascular health through the collaboration and exchange of knowledge and resources. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting cardiovascular professionals around the globe on behalf of the ACC and I am proud to say that the state of the College has never been stronger.

What is one of your favorite moments from the past year?

A visit to Israel during the 60th anniversary of the Israeli Cardiac Society was certainly a standout event. I had the pleasure of joining Eugene Braunwald, MD, MACC, and other world luminaries during a visit with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the presidential residence in Jerusalem. It was certainly a trip to remember.

What advice do you have for future ACC leaders?

You must cultivate mentors. Mentors pass along the rich history of the College and involve the next generation of cardiovascular professionals in shaping ACC programs, policies and priorities to best meet their needs. Mentors ensure that a steady stream of future leaders are in the pipeline ready to chart the College on a course that meets changes locally, nationally and globally.

What would you like your legacy as ACC President to be?

I hope that I have made a difference through innovation and channeling the strengths of an army of outstanding volunteers and staff in support of the College’s mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health.

Keywords: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (U.S.), Mentors, Cardiovascular Diseases, Religious Missions, Leadership, Cardiology Magazine, ACC Publications

< Back to Listings