Author + information
- David R. Holmes Jr, MD, FACC, ACC President⁎ ()
- ↵⁎Address correspondence to:
David R. Holmes, Jr., MD, FACC, American College of Cardiology, 2400 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
The concepts of “heroes” and “shoulders of giants” reach far back into antiquity. These are the individuals who perform a myriad of functions, who play multiple roles. They are the individuals who inspire us, who lead us, who push us forward, who protect and shelter us, who challenge us, who show us the way; but also watch out for the stragglers, these are the individuals who make the wheels go round.
Some of the time these individuals perform thankless tasks or work in silence; some of the time they are in the limelight, either because they wish to be or because we put them there. They work in the trenches as well as on the front line. It is said that during a tour of the NASA Space Center, President Lyndon Baines Johnson came upon a janitor who worked in the building where the lunar module was housed. When asked by the President what his role in NASA was, the janitor proudly pointed to the lunar module and stated: “I'm putting a man on the moon” (1). He worked in the proud pursuit of a wonderful common goal.
Your ACC is full of such people—everywhere we look, there are heroes working in pursuit of wonderful goals—people who make a huge difference in our lives, in the lives of our patients, and for our society. Many of them work tirelessly behind the scenes—these are the unsung heroes. The elements that make your ACC the amazing organization that it is, include these heroes, all of our Heart House staff, our volunteers, all of our members and families, and the millions of patients we treat, have treated, or will treat.
The list of 40,000 members, approximately 350 full-time staff, our contractors, and our millions of patients goes on and on and overwhelms the space given me for this, my last President's Page. Imagine an empty space, an empty building, a mirage absent these individuals and their families.
This President's Page is about all of them although I cannot mention each by name. To mention some of these heroes by name, these people who toil unceasingly, these people upon whose shoulders we stand is problematic as I do not wish to offend anyone. Instead I wish to celebrate and to thank and so I have chosen several of the many, as well as all of you who make a difference.
First there is Captain Morris Vigilance, who makes me feel like I have come home every time I walk in the door of Heart House. There is Dawn, who works so hard, so cheerfully that I cannot keep up with her but can only marvel at her boundless energy, enthusiasm, and skill. Lara, Robbyn, and Sandra so ably, but gently and firmly, direct me in the right direction. Julie, who plans where we go and when. Jim Blackenship, Rob Piana, and colleagues who work on our behalf behind the scenes, dealing with the Relative Value Scale Update Committee labyrinth of discussions and negotiations. Our advocacy staff, Jim, Rebecca, and Lisa, who interact on our behalf with the governmental agencies; and there is Lisa working with Guidelines—all of them educate me on processes. The educators and scientists: MaryEllen and William, Nish and Pat, all who push the frontiers of education beyond measure. The Board Of Governors—more engaged and keen to develop issues than can possibly be imagined. The whole executive team led by Cathy, always encouraging; Tom, always correct; and Jack, visionary.
Once having started with the “thank you's,” the task is very soon overwhelming and, as you know, there are word count limits. And so I draw this to an end—unfinished, but nonetheless an end.
Your ACC is full of heroes and giants on whose shoulders we stand to see the way. To all of you, the ACC, I give my thanks for all of you and for all that you do.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation