In Memoriam: William R. Hiatt, MD

William R. Hiatt, MD
June 1, 1950 to Dec. 8, 2020

On behalf of the ACC and the Peripheral Vascular Disease Section, we are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear colleague, William R. Hiatt, MD.  His death represents a profound loss of one of the pillars of the field of clinical vascular medicine and cardiovascular research, as well as a dedicated mentor to so many.

A graduate of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Dr. Hiatt completed his training in Internal Medicine at Boston University Hospital and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. His interest in vascular medicine flourished during fellowship. As he made the transition from fellow to faculty, he gained recognition as an ambassador for the newly emerging field of vascular medicine.

Dr. Hiatt was highly regarded as a professor of medicine and an accomplished clinician investigator focused on improving our understanding of epidemiology, pathophysiology and treatment of peripheral artery disease. As president and chief science officer of CPC Clinical Research, Dr. Hiatt also made profound and long-lasting contributions to the science behind the practice of vascular medicine and the methodology of clinical trial-based research, including the use of functional outcomes in patients with vascular disease. 

An avid mountain climber, Dr. Hiatt’s career mirrored his favorite past-time in that he relished the climb as much, if not more, than the summit. His greatest joy, however, was spending time with his family, including his wife Susan, daughter Kelsey and his three grandchildren Sydney, Maelle and Sloan.

For those who had a chance to work closely with Dr. Hiatt or were fortunate enough to call him a mentor, his passing leaves a profound void. He led by example. He pursued excellence but at the same time was humble and grounded. He embodied qualities rarely found in the same individual: to be reasonable and to place integrity above success. Dr. Hiatt believed that, “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.” Dr. Hiatt had integrity… and it all mattered.

As we remember Dr. Hiatt and carry on his legacy, we shall continue to follow example that he set for us all as clinicians, investigators, mentors, and most importantly, as colleagues.  In these lonely moments, as we cope with this loss, we can find consolation in the calm and collected voice that resonates in the memories of our beloved mentor.

We can honor his legacy by living by the code he lived by, the Code of the West:

  • Live each day with courage
  • Take pride in your work
  • Always finish what you start
  • Do what has to be done
  • Be tough, but fair
  • When you make a promise, keep it
  • Ride for the brand
  • Talk less and say more
  • Remember that some things aren't for sale
  • Know where to draw the line


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