An alum leads the ACC.
At the close of an Annual Scientific Session gone virtual due to COVID-19, Athena Poppas ’83, MD, FACC, was inaugurated as the president of the American College of Cardiology on March 30. Poppas, a professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School, chief of cardiology, and director of the Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute at Rhode Island, The Miriam, and Newport hospitals, will lead the 54,000-member organization for the next year.
Poppas had outlined areas of focus for her presidency back in March. World events, however, have reshaped her tenure.
In April, she joined the presidents of the American Heart Association and the Heart Rhythm Society to coauthor a paper published in the journal Circulation cautioning against the use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 because they cause dangerous cardiac arrhythmias. The paper warned against abandoning scientific rigor in the desperate pursuit of treatments.
Poppas joined the presidents of the Association of Black Cardiologists and the AHA in May to issue an urgent letter denouncing racism and violence after the death of George Floyd and other African Americans. Their letter acknowledged that heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death for communities of color and that violence and racism cause psychosocial stress that contributes to poorer cardiovascular health. In an interview with Medscape, Poppas underscored that this was not just one letter, but an ongoing project: “We want to have goals, tactics, and measurable outcomes. We want to make sure it’s not just a banner on the wall.”