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President's Message

December 2022

After a successful year back in-person in 2022, we look forward to welcoming all of you to the AATS 103rd Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, May 6-9, 2023. As a true testament to the excitement of being back together again, we have already received the highest number of abstract and case video submissions in AATS history! As you can see below, the planning of a ground-breaking, highly engaging, and dynamic program is well underway.

The AATS Annual Meeting is the premier meeting for cardiothoracic academic surgeons in the world and focuses on innovation, excellence in patient care, and education of the next generation. Excellence and care advances in these areas require new ideas, new viewpoints, and new knowledge.

As President, it is my privilege to dictate the focus of the meeting, and I have chosen to focus on our future: What does it look like and how do we get there. Without an infusion of new ideas and views, our specialty will be slow to respond to the new challenges, will be unable to address the magnified needs of subsets of patients with inadequate healthcare literacy and access, and will fail to develop the technologies and treatments that are critically needed to advance our field. It is with this enthusiasm for growth, opportunity, and innovation that AATS approaches the future.

Along with the ground-breaking clinical advances highlighted in the featured scientific papers from around the world and the esteemed cardiothoracic surgeons leading interactive sessions that challenge our field, the 103rd Annual Meeting will feature impactful and thought-provoking keynote speakers and panels:

Broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff is the anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour. A former Chief White House Correspondent, she has covered every presidential election since 1976. As a journalist with CNN, NBC, and PBS, she has interviewed heads of state, and covered major world events including the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster and the Iraq war. Judy Woodruff is the recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award, and most recently the Lifetime Achievement Award at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards. She is known for her journalistic integrity having been honored by the Peabody Journalistic Integrity Award and the Arthur C. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication in 2021. Ms Woodruff is the perfect choice to discuss the impact of misinformation on the growing mistrust of the media, the judicial system, and medicine, and the role we must play for our patients in fighting disinformation.

Siddhartha Mukherjee MD PhD is a medical oncologist and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is the author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction, The Laws of Medicine, and the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Gene: An Intimate History. His latest book entitled The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human, released this past month, tells the story of how scientists discovered and defined the elementary building blocks we call cells, and the reframing of disease as cellular ecosystems gone awry. He will explore the era of transformational medicines and revolutionary biology that have arisen from our new ability to therapeutically manipulate and ultimately create synthetic versions of cells. Through better understanding of the cellular dysfunctions that hijack physiology into pathologic processes, he will investigate the potential to treat patients in every discipline, including cardiothoracic surgery, and draw our attention to the changing definition of being human.

The 103rd Annual Meeting of AATS is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of a unique educational and social program that allows interactions, conversations, and thought-provoking discussion with a variety of experts and specialties about forces impacting the care of our patients. Together with your colleagues, we can set the basis for innovative solutions that will affect our field and secure our future in a time of constant change.

I look forward to experiencing the LA vibe in warm southern California while we challenge ourselves with new technologies and treatment paradigms, gather around interactive poster sessions, tour the must-see exhibit hall complete with food trucks a la Los Angeles, or visit with old and new friends at the Presidents Reception outside under the stars at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the LA Philharmonic! See you in Los Angeles in May!

Yolonda L. Colson, MD
AATS 103rd President