In a sweeping address that capped one of the most transformative years in AATS history, President David Adams challenged members to embrace change and help cardiothoracic surgery make an even bigger impact on the world.
“Progress is never inevitable,” Dr. Adams said, warning that longstanding success can lead to complacency.
“Progress is fueled by dissatisfaction, impatience and vision.”
In that spirit, he reviewed the major changes he and the AATS leadership team implemented during the past year, including:
“Our new members reflect not just where we’ve been as a specialty, but where we’re going,” Dr. Adams said, and called on every member – regardless of their tenure – to reflect on their personal vision for thoracic surgery, how their own leadership could make a bigger impact on patients, and what scholarship means to them in their daily practice.
“Vision, leadership and scholarship are easy words to say, but hard to execute,” Dr. Adams said, and urged members to take five actions in 2019 to help translate these abstractions into reality:
“All of us in this room have been inspired by teachers and mentors,” Adams said, sharing some of the lessons he himself learned from mentors over the past 40 years. “Thanks to them, we’re privileged to do what we love. We repay them by making a similar investment in those who follow us into this calling.”
Dr. Adams closed his address with a story about taking the AATS Presidential Chain home for the year, to share with his family and his team at Mount Sinai, rather than returning it to a safe in Boston.
“I really felt this chain ought to be seen and celebrated, not locked up in a box,” he said, as he gave those watching the address their first close-up look at the ceremonial chain, which was originally a gift from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, in 1957.
“This chain stands for something very important; in the AATS, every one of us is a critical link… president to president, doctor to doctor, colleague to colleague, friend to friend, and generation to generation,” he said.
“Ultimately, this chain belongs to all of you, because thoracic surgery – our life’s calling – has always been a team endeavor, and always will be."