Inspiring Opening Showcase Session Kicks Off ACC.19

Thousands of attendees packed the ACC.19 Main Tent yesterday for an inspiring Opening Showcase Session featuring ACC President C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, ACC.19 Chair Andrew M. Kates, MD, FACC, and Simon Dack Keynote Roberto Canessa, MD.

Valentine kicked off the session with a warm welcome to attendees from around the world and a heartfelt thank you to the many people involved with bringing the meeting to life, including Kates, ACC.19 Vice Chair Pamela Bowe Morris, MD, FACC, the more than 100 members of the Program Committee, the more than 3,500 faculty, ACC leaders and staff, and the more than 260 companies taking part in the Expo.

His presidential address celebrated the College's 70-year history as the home for a diverse group of cardiovascular professionals from around the world, while also noting current and future challenges facing both the profession and patients.

"Seventy years of innovation, knowledge and growth; and so many reasons to be proud," he said, highlighting the growth of ACC's JACC Journals, the College's new diversity and inclusion strategy, unparalleled innovation in education and research, and proactive advocacy efforts centered around the theme of "One College, One Voice."

"But not so fast. When we look deeper into the mirror, we also see many challenges," he noted. Among the challenges: an uptick in the number of people with cardiovascular disease – a reversal of a trend towards a downward decline; difficulties with patient access to care; a decline in physician satisfaction and wellness; and a failure by health systems to engage physicians in ways to improve quality and reduce costs.

Valentine closed his talk by discussing the ways the ACC is working to strategically align for the future and ensure its Vision of a world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes. "Over the next five years, the ACC will be placing strong emphasis on the Quadruple Aim and clinician wellness; diversity and inclusion; and leadership development for next generation," he said.

He also highlighted the recent ACC and ABIM announcement of a new Collaborative Maintenance Pathway option for cardiologists to maintain board certification. He also cited ACC's recent acquisition of MedAxiom as part of ACC's new Health Systems Strategy and a means of providing College members with tools to address efficiency, costs and outcomes. In terms of furthering its global strategy, Valentine also announced the College will be partnering with the World Heart Federation on ACC.20 and the World Congress of Cardiology in Chicago.

Before turning over the podium to Canessa, Valentine ended his talk with an inspiring story of the work being done by Sir Magdi H. Yacoub, MD, BCH, FACC, in Egypt to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. "When I asked him why he did all of this at age 83, and what advice he would give to us today, he replied: 'I am just doing my job. We are the fortunate ones, and we were sent here to serve. We truly have a remarkable opportunity. Please tell them to smile often, and … just do their jobs.'"

Following the Presidential Address, Canessa delivered a powerful and heartfelt Simon Dack Keynote demonstrating the strength and resilience of the human body and mind. The entire Main Tent was silent while a video played depicting the horrifying 1972 plane crash that Canessa miraculously survived.

Recounting the event in intimate and vivid detail, he stressed the importance of living in the moment and not waiting until a plane crash to be appreciative and happy. He urged cardiovascular professionals to continue pushing forward regardless of challenges and to serve in the greatest possible capacity. "We all have more than we need, but do less than we can," he said.

Kates closed the session with an overview of highlights taking place throughout ACC.19, including the 11 Learning Pathways, 21 Late-Breaking Clinical Trials and more. He also highlighted the innovative ACC Young Scholars program taking place this year, which brings high school students from across Louisiana to ACC.19, the "Ask Artie" chat bot virtual assistant, and the "ACC.19 Anywhere" remote meeting pilot.

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Keywords: ACC Publications, ACC Scientific Session Newspaper, ACC Annual Scientific Session, ACC19

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