ACC.22 Convocation Address: Edward T.A. Fry, MD, FACC
Dr. Itchhaporia, Dr. Poppas, Dr. Wilson, distinguished guests, Past Presidents of the College, Trustees, Governors, awardees, colleagues, families and friends, it is a humbling privilege to address you tonight as the President of the American College of Cardiology.
Tonight, is both an end and a beginning. It has been three long years since we were all together in New Orleans in 2019. As we come to the close of this historic meeting, we all hope that ACC.22 marks the beginning of the end of a difficult time related to COVID-19, although parts of the world still face new threats. From the pandemic, we also hope this marks a new beginning where we recognize the value of health as a basic human right and where all deserve the opportunity to attain their full health potential. COVID has exposed many flaws in health care but has also revealed new innovative ways to transform care and combat health inequities.
The real purpose of this evening and of this Convocation, however, is to celebrate another beginning. To recognize the achievements and hard work of those who are inducted into the College as Fellows and Associates. To you all, we offer our collective congratulations and best wishes for a bright, healthy, and prosperous future. There is much to be done and you will most certainly do great things.
Though just beginning, your achievements have already been recognized. As proof, I would like to read a letter to you from the future, from the 2032 ACC President. She writes:
Dear Fellows and Associates of the ACC, class of 2022,
I am writing to you from my home in Indiana (of course), on this fourth day of April 2032. Congratulations! I want to tell you about all that you have accomplished in the past decade.
First, in 2022, you represented the most diverse group entering the College in history. However, by encouraging young women and under-represented minorities to pursue careers in medicine and cardiology through your focus on equal opportunity and shared leadership, you have further changed the face of the College to truly reflect the communities you serve.
Second, your dedication, creativity, and scientific curiosity has delivered on ACC's goal to develop and disseminate actionable knowledge, from the bench-top to the bedside, through research, education, and innovation. With a focus on scientific integrity and intellectual honesty, you overcame the threat of bias and misinformation prevalent in the early 2020s. You calmed your predecessors' fears and skepticism of digital technologies and artificial intelligence to show them how to leverage innovation to increase access to care, improve patient outcomes and experience, enhance value, as well as promote compassion and professionalism. That is to say, how to hit the Quadruple Aim.
Third, through advocacy, modernizing of clinical guidance, evolving data science, applying precision medicine, and building integrated teams of care you have been able to transform the practice of cardiovascular medicine to objectively improve heart health. With new models of care, you aligned incentives for patients, providers, payers, and policymakers so that clinicians share in the outcome of their patients and are held accountable for the value they provide.
Fourth, in parallel to discovering new therapeutics and procedures, novel diagnostic techniques, and new sites of care, you addressed the root causes of health inequities. You identified and confronted the greatest threats to health: economic instability, lack of educational opportunity, limited access to care, an unsustainable environment, structural racism, and a disconnection from social context.
Early in 2022 you also witnessed and called out war as a preventable social determinant of health for those in combat and those inhumanely displaced from their homes and separated from their families. You voiced the incompatibility of war and health and highlighted the healing power of peace.
Lastly, in order to help others, you learned that it was not selfish to help yourselves. You became increasingly engaged in taking control of your professional life. You stepped forward to lead care transformation to reduce burdens of care. You created a culture of well-being both at work and at home. You exhibited self-resilience to overcome the stress and challenges encountered every day in the care of others. And, you removed the stigma of mental illness so those in need would feel supported to seek help.
So, again, congratulations on all that you have accomplished 10 years into the future. I look forward to seeing you at Convocation 2032. Best regards.
Now back to the present. Tonight is a time to not only look to the future but also to look back and give thanks. Despite your own hard work, each of you would not be here tonight without the love, support, sacrifice, and strong belief in your ability to succeed that you have enjoyed from your parents, families, partners, teachers and colleagues.
Tonight, and on a regular basis, take the time to recognize the helping hands that have pulled you up along the way and the gentle nudges that have pushed you forward to bring you to this point in your careers. Those of us who were seated where you are tonight years ago, join with you to reflect on the mentors, role models and teachers who have given us the opportunity to reach our full potential. In that spirit, I would like to especially recognize two mentors who shaped me personally and professionally: Dr. Burt Sobel and Dr. Cass Pinkerton.
Our journey also requires family. Our family at home, our professional family, and the family of our community. In particular, I would like to thank my family of friends, my family at Ascension and St. Vincent, my family within ACC, my extended family, and most importantly my family at home: my brothers Pete and Patrick and their families, my mother Dr. Shirley Fry and my late father Dr. Michael Fry, who through their love and encouragement have been my greatest role models. My three sons, Colin, Ian and Sean, who I am so proud of, and of course the person I owe everything to, my remarkable wife Kathy. I love you all.
So, as we end our Convocation and you leave to begin the next chapter of your lives, remember the future and all that you will do to transform care and improve heart health, to promote diversity and inclusion, to achieve the Quadruple Aim, to enhance well-being and professionalism, to forward science and innovation, and to ensure equity, compassion and person-centeredness. Remember to give thanks to all the families who guide and nurture you. And, remember the well-being of your patients, their families, their communities, your colleagues, and yourself. And, remember tonight not as an end but as a beginning.
Keywords: ACC Annual Scientific Session, ACC22, ACC International
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