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- Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD
When an exemplary colleague I have known for many years passes away, I tend to think about their lives episodically as my life intersected with theirs in these phases. This was very true when I learned of the death of Dr. Fred Bove, MD.
Dr. Fred Bove was a very successful fellow at Mayo Clinic in the 1960s, before his first appointment at Temple University. He was recruited back to Mayo in the early 1980s as a professor of medicine and consultant in cardiovascular disease. My first conversation with him surprised me because he expressed incredible passion about the G-suit, which was designed to prevent test airplane pilots from syncope. During our overlapping time at Mayo, he would explain to me his interest in maintaining health in space and water, probably more often than cardiology. Over the years, I learned that Fred had served as an undersea medical officer in the Navy, which spawned his lifelong research for scuba diving and underwater physiology—topics on which he later wrote a textbook. However, it was during these early years that I first appreciated Fred’s great intellectual curiosity with regard to research and his humility with regard to interactions with his peers and patients.
Fred left Mayo for a second time to become the Chief of Cardiology at Temple. When I was at Temple as a visiting professor, I witnessed what a great mentor he was to his many fellows. After spending some time with them, I was even more surprised to learn that Fred and his wife Sandy had welcomed international fellows to live in their home until they could find housing. In addition to this outstanding gesture, I, along with others, witnessed Fred’s patience in training his mentees. In fact, one of his fellows conveyed that during his morning run, he used to drop manuscript edits into his mailbox in the early morning hours. He felt so supported and close to him as a mentor, especially because he was always willing to sacrifice his personal time for the betterment of his fellows. My visit to Temple allowed me to fully appreciate his altruism and commitment to mentorship.
American College of Cardiology President
Given Fred’s dedication to patients throughout this career, I was not surprised when Fred chose his American College of Cardiology (ACC) Presidential Year in 2009 as the “Year of the Patient.” In his convocation address, he said, “It’s a year in which we must become more patient-centered. It’s a year to empower patients to participate in their health care and to educate them about their cardiovascular disease. It’s a year to encourage patients to communicate with their physicians regarding their illness, the quality of their care, and their role as a part of the health care team.” While he recognized the challenges that would lay ahead, Fred also recognized that empowering the patient with their care is necessary to health care reform. His closing statement allowed me to appreciate his unwavering optimism and perseverance: “The year ahead will be full of challenges, but also full of promise.”
American College of Cardiology Extended Learning
When I began recording the podcasts for JACC in 2014, several people expressed concern that the ACC Extended Learning (ACCEL) team would feel competitive. Fred had successfully served as the Editor-in-Chief of ACCEL, the ACC’s long-running audio journal. However, when Fred and I actually had the opportunity to speak about the JACC podcasts, he could not have been more gracious and encouraging. In fact, he felt that the additional “voice” in the field of cardiovascular science could only improve and expand the knowledge in the field. In this discussion, I appreciated his collaborative spirit and was reminded of his humility.
In reflecting upon the life of my friend Dr. Alfred Bove, he has taught me about intellectual curiosity, humility, altruism, commitment to mentorship, optimism, perseverance, and collaborative spirit. Fred was one of those rare people who continued to evolve and improve over his life, and from whom I always learned. I personally will miss so many aspects about his character and his intellect and his morality. I feel truly blessed to have known him at these varied stages of our lives, and I will continue to think about him on many levels.
- 2019 American College of Cardiology Foundation