Get to Know New ACC President Richard J. Kovacs, MD, FACC

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Today, Richard J. Kovacs, MD, FACC, will become ACC's newest president – leading the College as it celebrates its 70th Anniversary and embarks on the first year of its new Strategic Plan.

In addition to serving as ACC president, Kovacs is the Q.E. and Sally Russell Professor of Cardiology at Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine and the cardiology service line leader of IU Health. He also serves as the clinical director of the Krannert Institute of Cardiology, joining a long line of ACC presidents also from Krannert.

What are the biggest opportunities for the ACC over the next year?

Getting the first year of our new Strategic Plan off to a great start and aligning with staff and the ACC Board of Trustees around the plan and our key priorities is arguably the biggest opportunity in the year ahead.

We will also be looking to identify and leverage new opportunities afforded by our recent acquisition of MedAxiom and focusing on how to further our work on diversity and inclusion, health equity and leadership development.

I'm also personally interested in ways we can make the most out of the new ACC/American Heart Association Primary Prevention Guideline to better prevent heart disease before it starts.

What will be some of the biggest challenges?

The loss of the mandate for using ACC's ICD Registry and continuing to demonstrate the importance of registry participation is one of the biggest challenges. Registry participation is vital to identifying gaps in care at both the institutional and practice level, as well as more broadly.

It can also be used for research and to measure progress in meeting guideline-based care, and to proactively protect against allegations of inappropriate care or misuse.

Other challenges include keeping pace with all that is going on in the field of cardiology – from new technologies and treatments to changing health care policies. Finding ways to engage the youngest members in all aspects of the College and encouraging them to make the ACC their professional home is also of paramount importance.

What are you looking forward to most as ACC president?

Being the spokesperson for the College is an awesome responsibility. I'm looking forward to meeting new colleagues around the world and carrying on the traditions of the College … and maybe even starting some new ones.

Why did you become a cardiologist?

I became a cardiologist because I like working with "electrical stuff" and I like complicated problems. When I was in medical school and throughout my residency, I thought the cardiologists I worked with were the most interesting doctors.

What are your hobbies or little-known facts?

I do most of the repairs around my house, including plumbing, electrical work and painting. Given that it's almost 100 years old, there's always something to do. Little known facts? The late Charles Fisch, MD, MACC, a past president of the ACC, left me his extensive collection of classic ECGs. Someday I hope to reuse them to teach timeless principles of electrocardiography.

You are a big sports fan; any sports analogy advice for new ACC members?

For new ACC members: "You are in the big leagues now!" We are one team and are better because of the talents each member brings to the College. Don't stand on the sidelines.

Look for the full interview in the April issue of Cardiology magazine.

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

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