ACC President Athena Poppas, MD, FACC: "We Will Not Stand on the Sidelines"

Dear Colleagues,

It has been a challenging few months to say the least, with the COVID-19 pandemic taking a massive toll on populations around the world, and recent acts of racism and violence in the U.S. taking another human toll. And we must act.

Pervasive societal issues like these affect us all – both personally and professionally – and they require a response. For this reason, the ACC has refocused significant organizational capacity to help members on the front lines of COVID-19 do what they do best – help and heal. We firmly believe that helping to advance solutions to address COVID-19 and ensure clinician and patient safety and well-being, as well as patient access to continued cardiovascular care, is fundamental to our Mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. This work will continue for as long as it is needed.

Similarly, we believe it is vital that we stand together and speak up against racism and violence – issues that cut to the core of our lives and the lives of our patients. We must persevere in our commitment to creating a profession – and a society – that recognizes and values every human being, that promotes diversity, that encourages and enables inclusion, and fights to address disparities. We cannot fully achieve our Mission without also tackling underlying factors that literally discriminate against those providing or receiving care. This work must continue for as long as it is needed.

The ACC was proud to stand with the Association of Black Cardiologists and the American Heart Association this past weekend to denounce the recent and ongoing incidents of racism and violence. As noted in our joint letter: "The profound grief and stress triggered by these events, as well as the consequences for black lives, contribute significantly to cardiovascular risk. Each episode has emotional and physiological effects on individuals and all communities."

Please know that the ACC will continue to speak up on behalf of the cardiovascular profession – and on behalf of the patients that we have sworn an oath to protect. Your needs and safety, as well as those of patients around the world, are embedded in our Core Values and we will not stand on the sidelines and be silent. Whether providing clinical guidance during a pandemic or linking arms in solidarity to protest racism and violence, this is absolutely "our lane" and we will not swerve from it.

Thank you for all that you are doing each and every day on behalf of your patients, your community and the profession – especially now.

Sincerely,
Athena Poppas, MD, FACC Athena Poppas, MD, FACC
ACC President

Keywords: Racism, COVID-19, Pandemics, American Heart Association, Patient Safety, Cardiovascular Diseases, Capacity Building, Risk Factors, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, African Americans, Grief, Violence, Emotions


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