Statement From ACC President Athena Poppas, MD, FACC, on the Importance of Unity

Our world has dramatically changed from where we were just one year ago. We are all shocked by the violence and abhorrent disregard for the moral and legal principles of a democratic civil society exhibited by the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Amidst this, the global health care community also continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, even as we are buoyed by news of health care professionals, other essential workers and most-at-risk populations beginning to receive vaccines. Now is a time for unity and healing.

This week, as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and prepare for a peaceful transition of power to Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris as the next President and Vice President of the United States, we have an opportunity to come together as a profession and reaffirm our community built on tolerance and respect. For more than 70 years, ACC’s Core Values reflect our dedication to the greater good. The College has stood for cutting-edge education, clinical guidance and resources and tools to help clinicians optimize patient care and outcomes. But even more than these, the College’s foundation is built on the diversity of our members and a shared commitment to collaboration, professionalism and excellence, and most importantly respect for each other and the patients we have taken an oath to help and to heal.

As the United States and the rest of the world work to overcome health care threats, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to our mission that we come together with humility, compassion and open minds. As Dr. King poignantly stated, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” The ACC looks forward to working with all of its members, as well as the new Biden Administration and the 117th Congress, to find innovative ways to answer this question and persevere in our commitment to creating a profession – and a society – that values every human being, promotes diversity, encourages inclusion, and fights to address disparities.

In the coming year, look for the ACC to continue rolling out vital programming and resources tied to ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion in our profession, including bias and anti-racism training, as well as focused programs aimed at encouraging women and historically underrepresented groups to seek careers and grow in leadership competencies in all aspects of cardiology. We will also continue to work closely with our partner cardiovascular and medical societies to speak up and advocate for policies and programs that promote health equity and close the gap in disparities in care.

We are ready to work with the new Congress and Biden Administration to advance our shared commitment to health equity for all. We are committed to helping lead the continued rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in an equitable manner that reaches all patients most at risk. In addition, our advocacy work to ensure critical funding for cardiovascular research and prevention, as well as policies that enable patient access to care, will not wane.

If nothing else, the past year has demonstrated the tremendous power of our community to come together for each other, for our patients. We continue to be stronger together! Please continue to lend your voice and your actions to the College and the profession. Now is a time for unity and healing.

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

Clinical Topics: COVID-19 Hub

Keywords: COVID-19, Leadership, Empathy, Global Health, Patient Care, Delivery of Health Care, Policy, Health Personnel, Violence, Health Promotion

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