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Letter from President Lars G. Svensson

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of my excellent Program Committee, I am thrilled to invite you to join us for the AATS 104th Annual Meeting in Toronto, April 27-30. Toronto has been a wonderful host for our meetings in years past. We are coming off an incredible 103rd Annual Meeting led by our first woman president, Dr. Yolonda L. Colson, and I am looking forward to building upon that energy when we head to Toronto in the Spring 2024.

We had a record-setting number of abstracts and case video submissions this year, which will undoubtedly lead to a dynamic, cutting-edge program with the best cardiothoracic surgery educational offerings in our specialty. We added a new submission category focused on structural heart which will add to the already extraordinary variety of educational features we have in place for the program. In the afternoon, we will have non-CME cutting-edge presentations on new innovations, inventions, and pioneering research in our specialty.

It is an honor to be selected to serve as the AATS President. I do not take this leadership role lightly, and therefore envision a meeting where we can all learn valuable lessons of leadership no matter what stage we are at in our career paths. Leadership is a skill and value we build upon and develop throughout our professional journeys. Throughout the planning stages of this meeting, we’ve made significant efforts to highlight programmatic elements focused on discussions and collaborations to advance our leadership skills, including a theorem for leadership you can build on. We also trust you will find this meeting will contribute to your academic endeavors and surgical skills.

As cardiothoracic surgeons, we must recognize that our work is truly impossible without the additional members of our surgical team. As we all know, the multidisciplinary approach to patient care is integral to quality outcomes. We need every voice in the room, whether that be from nurses, anesthesiologists, perfusionists, medical oncologists, and other valuable team members necessary for successful patient care. To build upon this valued multidisciplinary approach, we are holding our Annual Meeting in conjunction with the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists (SCA). Our cardiovascular anesthesiologists are critical to our daily cardiothoracic surgery efforts. Members of our perioperative care program committee are planning joint sessions with SCA that will be woven throughout the program. I am sure you will find these valuable sessions of interest.

Another exciting addition to this year’s Annual Meeting is the Complex Valve Scenarios Symposium, which is being held Friday, April 26 before the official start of the Annual Meeting. This Symposium is being co-chaired with me by Drs. Y. Joseph Woo and Marc Gillinov. This half-day case-based Symposium provides an opportunity to learn from the masters in heart valve disease. Leading surgeons and interventionalists from around the world will share their approaches to the most complicated problems they’ve faced in the treatment of heart valve disease. The program is now available.

In addition to our engaging scientific program, I have invited several expert speakers from across the spectrum to discuss their leadership journeys, organizational behaviors, and strategic thinking during plenaries on Saturday and Sunday:

We will have an Institutional Leadership Panel featuring:

  • Tomislav Mihaljevic, CEO and President, Cleveland Clinic
  • Colleen Koch, Dean, University of Florida College of Medicine
  • Robert Higgins, President, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Geoffrey Martha, CEO, Medtronic
  • Robert Ford, CEO, Abbott

We will, in addition, have great special presentations and talks.

Susan Galbraith, Executive Vice President, Oncology Research & Development, AstraZeneca will speak to us about “A Path to Leadership in Scientific Innovation and Building Autonomous High Functioning Teams.”

And our esteemed David. J. Sugarbaker Memorial Lecture will be given by Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, transplant surgeon and Founder & CEO of NantWorks, and Chairman of the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation. He is a pioneer in treating cancer, including lung cancer, with nanotechnology delivered chemotherapeutic agents. He is also the owner of the Los Angeles Times and part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Stanley Hazen, MD, the leading expert on how diet and the gut biome influences disease, particularly cardiovascular disease, will give the Basic Science Lecture.

As you all are well aware, the AATS Annual Meeting is the premier meeting for cardiothoracic academic surgeons. Between the hallway discussions with old friends, to hearing the innovative top science in our specialty, I am confident you will leave Toronto with new ideas and collaborations to lead and improve patient care at your institution.

I look forward to seeing you in Toronto for the 104th Annual Meeting!

Dr. Lars G. Svensson