Virtual AATS 2021 - Join the Adventure...
An adventure is an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risk. Adventures are typically bold with the potential for physical danger and are undertaken to create psychological arousal or to achieve a greater good such as the pursuit of knowledge, whether pursued as a means to an end or an end in itself. Adventures generally involve dangerous conditions, narrow escapes with bravery dependent on acts of great courage, knowledge to be gained through intelligence, skill and good fortune, and interdependence with exotic persons in exotic places. Does that sound familiar?
Is cardiothoracic surgery an adventure? Spoiler alert – you are going to have to wait until May 1st for my solution to that riddle, but what I can tell you now is that cardiothoracic surgery is without a doubt a challenging quest. The rite of passage into our specialty is protracted and arduous, more so than many, many others, which makes future generations question whether it is worth the expended effort and sacrifice.
The term “bully pulpit” was coined by Mount Rushmore’s Theodore Roosevelt as a platform from which to advocate an agenda. President Roosevelt also defined the requisite of a good citizen, able and willing to pull their weight, not mere passengers along for the ride. My good fortune is the opportunity to have one true bully pulpit, from which I hope to reinforce Roosevelt’s warning, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” I care about cardiothoracic surgery, I care about the AATS, and I care about you.
The AATS Annual Meeting is going virtual for the second year in a row. Am I disappointed? Not really. Actually, I am excited. While I won’t have the opportunity to join you all for a cocktail in the lobby of the Sheraton after a full day of learning, the focus in this setting is on improving the knowledge base of our specialty through sharing of experiences, both positive and negative. While in 2020 we trimmed the program to its barebones to accommodate the short turnaround time necessary to pivot from the live to virtual format, the educational offerings at the 2021 meeting exceed those of any of the previous 100 AATS Annual Meetings. More than 1,000 participants from around the globe will be sharing their latest contributions to the field.
My invited guests this year include Dr. William Kaelin Jr., who won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology, and 66th US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Dr. Kaelin, as the David J. Sugarbaker Memorial Lecturer, will describe his journey to the discovery of the regulation of hypoxia-inducible cellular adaptations critical to neoplastic transformation and growth. Secretary Rice needs no introduction except to emphasize that her personal journey includes one of great mentorship, scholarship, and leadership, all core AATS values that demonstrate the Association’s commitment to advancing the field of cardiothoracic surgery and society as a whole. I also asked Dr. Walter Randolph Chitwood, 43rd STS President, to give the AATS Legacy Lecture. Dr. Chitwood is a truly engaging raconteur who will regale us with his own personal legacy from Blalock to Sabiston to the modern generation of cardiothoracic surgeons.
I can't wait to see you in May for the 101st AATS Annual Meeting - I am super excited!
Marc R. Moon, MD
AATS 101st President