ACC.21 Convocation Welcome and Address: Athena Poppas, MD, MACC


Compassion, courage, resilience and hope and unity.

Welcome to ACC's 70th Annual Convocation – a time to celebrate the achievements of cardiovascular clinicians – new and old – and to come together as a global community to reflect on the past year and look to the future.

We should celebrate our courage. Our compassion and our resilience. And we should look forward with hope and commitment for the future.

We are so much stronger together and so much more effective when united. 

In addition to celebrating and honoring our past achievements, Convocation is also about transition and renewal – themes that will undoubtedly resonate in the coming months, particularly, as we begin to emerge from the pandemic and return to a life more like the one we knew only a year ago.

This is both comforting and daunting. What remains the same and what has changed in our lives and our profession?

One year ago, I spoke to you from my home in Providence, Rhode Island, not knowing what the year would bring, but knowing that each of us would need to bring our whole self to our profession and to our patients.

I stressed the importance of courage and compassion and the need for individual talents, diverse perspectives and ideas, and leadership to help us navigate what was to come.

You did this and more. The past year truly showed the ACC at its finest. During this time of unprecedented change – and sometimes seemingly daunting challenges – you committed your whole self.

You took care of each other, you took care of your patients, and you took care of your communities. Not only did you demonstrate courage and compassion, but you displayed creativity, collaboration, and unbelievable tenacity and resilience.

These qualities, along with a dash of patience and hope, will be equally critical during this time of transition and renewal, but I am confident that we will succeed. We may even emerge stronger.

We are stronger because of our unwavering focus on ACC's Mission, Vision and Core Values.

We are stronger because we continue to focus our efforts on our key strategic priorities: knowledge dissemination and trusted science, global health and international collaboration; quality, value and accountability and diversity, equity, and inclusion in our profession.

We are stronger as we lean into new innovations and into building a deep pipeline of new, diverse leaders.

You are our future. We must invest in you.

Our success lies in the people and relationships focused on our shared goal of transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health.

Thank you all for your time, commitment, and insights and friendship. It has been an honor to work with all of you.

Thank you to our society partners in the U.S. and around the world. Cardiovascular disease knows no borders and the importance of our work together was clearly highlighted this past year.

Thank you to our Board of Governors, Member Sections, committees, who worked tirelessly for each other, for our patients and for the College.

Thank you to ACC's Board of Trustees. We made it through a year of "distance learning" and profound financial uncertainty. We did more than survive. We managed to thrive.

I also want to thank the amazing ACC Staff, led by new ACC CEO Cathy Gates. Lisa Hix for her wise counsel, Brendan [Mullen], John [Rumsfeld], Nick [Morse] and Janice [Sibley] for insights, Susan [Thakore], James [Moran], Christina [Flores], Carissa [Gaine], Rosanne [Nelson], Shalen [Fairbanks] and so many more.

I also want to thank all of my colleagues and friends at Brown and Lifespan CVI: from Brian and Dawn Abbott to Cathy Costa and others – too numerous to name. I owe you one.

Most importantly, I'd like to thank my family for their unwavering support. My unbelievable husband Phil, children Nick, Alex and Sophia. My siblings Andrew, Alex and Alexandra, my father George, my late mother Bessie who died early of ischemic heart failure, but who remains my role model.

And now it is time for more change, for transition and renewal. It is truly an honor to pass the Presidential Chain to Dr. Dipti Itchhaporia. For the first time in ACC history, the presidency is transitioning from woman to woman. We are the change we want to see in the profession!

It has been the greatest honor and privilege of my career to serve as President and I am grateful for your trust and confidence in me this past year. I look forward to continuing to shape the future with all of you.

Keywords: ACC Annual Scientific Session, ACC21

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