Scientific Sessions 2016 Recap!

I was excited to join the more than 16,000 people from around the world at the AHA’s Scientific Sessions in New Orleans last week. To get caught up on all of the research presented there visit Also, check out this video showing Scientific Sessions through the eyes of a few of our MAA staff and volunteers. (Please give it a “thumbs up” on YouTube while you are there!) Four doctors from the MAA were awarded top national honors.dr-gregory-burke

During the opening ceremony, five researchers were honored as 2016 Distinguished Scientists for significant and sustained scientific contributions to the AHA’s mission, including Gregory Burke from the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

For the first time, the American Heart Association presented two major awards to one recipient: long-time volunteer leader and former AHA President Sidney C. Smith Jr., M.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Smith received the James B. Herrick Award of the AHA Council on Clinical Cardiology and the Chairman’s Award.

Robert Califf, now Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, received the AHA Research Achievement Award for his leading role in perfecting practice-changing heart disease treatment procedures.  Califf was among pioneers creating the Duke University Database for Cardiovascular Disease, which remains the world’s largest and longest-established observational database of cardiovascular patients.

ornatoThe American Heart Association awarded its Clinical Research Prize for 2016 to Joseph P. Ornato, M.D., of Virginia Commonwealth University Health System for landmark clinical research that contributed enormously to the solid scientific base for life-saving programs of emergency cardiac care, treatment of cardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Ornato chaired the steering committee of the NIH/AHA-sponsored clinical trial resulting in one of the most impactful resuscitation science papers in the last 20 years.  This trial demonstrated the life-saving potential of public-access defibrillators that has led to the explosive growth of automated external defibrillator programs, resulting in countless lives saved around the world.


It was announced this month that U.S. hospitals and other institutions will have access to a single, comprehensive set of cardiovascular accreditation services through a new collaboration between the AHA and the American College of Cardiology. Starting in 2017, hospitals will be able to take advantage of a suite of co-branded accreditation services focused on all aspects of cardiac care, including chest pain, cardiac catheterization, atrial fibrillation, heart failure and other cardiovascular conditions. Bringing together the collective resources and expertise of our two organizations, we have a unique opportunity to further accelerate the improvement of cardiovascular care for all Americans. Learn more here.

Lastly, I’m proud to share the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate was the first to reach 100% staff participation in our annual AHA/ASA Employee Giving Campaign, and committed more than $40,000 to our mission. We were motivated by volunteer Kelly Blumenthal (who shares her family’s story in this video) who wrote “Without you, your efforts, long nights and even longer days, I wouldn’t have Finn and if I did, I maybe would have had him only a few moments. How does a parent ever have enough powerful words or how can one do enough to say thank you to an organization that is giving life?”



Leave a Reply