I am grateful for the incredible honor and privilege to serve as the 102nd President of the AATS. As the first and longest established cardiothoracic surgical association, the AATS, with a steadfast focus on excellence, leadership, scholarship, and innovation, has shaped the evolution of our specialty – and most importantly the care and treatment of patients with cardiothoracic disease – over the last century. As we cross the threshold into the next 100 years, the AATS is well-positioned to continue to lead globally in the field and practice of cardiothoracic surgery, with a commitment to action and long-term positive change. It is imperative that the makeup and focus of our specialty reflects the diversity of the patient population we serve, towards removing inequalities in the specialty and cardiothoracic health of society.
The success of the 101st Annual Meeting speaks to our ability to widely engage the members of our profession across nearly 80 countries. The reach and impact of the AATS is in fact further extended with the opportunities provided through virtual communications and on-demand access to content. We also recognize that this does not replace the immense value of in-person communication, networking, and exchange of ideas. As we look ahead to the next year, I look forward to the transition back to in-person meetings (with some virtual offerings) and seeing you all at the 102nd Annual Meeting in Boston, MA, Saturday, May 14 to Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
As the Association’s new President, I would like to continue to honor our past while advancing our future. The AATS was initially founded as an association for thoracic surgery for the US and Canada, but is now inclusive of cardiovascular surgery globally and is truly international in scope. Despite some subtle geographic differences in the nature of ‘cardiothoracic surgery’ as a specialty in North America and, in fact, globally, we unite under the AATS with a common mission to Promote Scholarship, Innovation, and Leadership for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.
This coming year, we have several important initiatives to complete. First, after an invigorating reorganization of the AATS management staff and structure, we will be searching for a new CEO. Second, we will be searching for a new Editor of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery as Dr. Richard Weisel completes his term. We are grateful for the remarkable improvements that Richard has made in the JTCVS – bringing it to its highest impact factor ever and the position of the highest impact factor journal in our specialty. Dr. Weisel and managing director Spencer McGrath have invigorated the journal and also introduced two online journals (JTCVS Open and JTCVS Techniques) to launch the AATS publication strategy into the digital age. Third, we will move to pilot and then implement the AATS Quality Gateway (AQG) – to enhance the quality of care of patients with cardiothoracic disease and greatly enable research in the future. Finally, we will launch a renewed AATS website to provide easy access to information and to state-of-the-art and important educational opportunities in our specialty. The new AATS digital universe will encompass regularly updated news and information for the cardiothoracic community, meeting materials and linkage to all virtual and hybrid AATS meetings, JTCVS journal family, educational video library, membership and scholarship application and management, committee participation materials, voting portal, the Quality Gateway, and the AATS Foundation on desktop and mobile friendly interactive platforms.
I am excited to continue with this exciting and important work with our AATS team. As we embark on a new year for the AATS, and continue to battle through the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, let us remain resilient and focused on the remarkable progress that we can continue to make for our specialty and patients.
Shaf Keshavjee, MD
AATS 102nd President