Dr. Coselli and Helen Coley Fraser (320x240)
credit: Courtesy of AATS.Joseph Coselli, AATS president, presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Denton A. Cooley, M.D.; accepting for Dr. Cooley was his daughter, Helen Cooley Fraser. 

The annual meeting of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery is the largest premier international forum for thoracic surgeons. In May 2016, continuing its tradition of excellence, the program was held for five days, this time in Baltimore, Md., providing valuable opportunities for participants to enhance their knowledge and skills in subjects covering general and specialized cardiothoracic surgery, emerging technologies, congenital heart disease, critical care and aortic/endovascular surgery.

Dr. Joseph S. Coselli, professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and president of AATS, began his presidential address expressing his deepest gratitude to all the pioneers in the field, past and current colleagues, associates and his family. “If family is the true currency of happiness, I am a very wealthy man,” he said.

Coselli highlighted the 134 research and fellowship opportunities provided by the AATS Graham Foundation, as well as new clinical and research fellowship programs, the academic excellence awards and new surgical investigator awards for 2016-2017.

Coselli’s speech stressed the value of hard work, inspiration and perseverance to overcome obstacles and reach goals. “Find a way or make a way,” he quoted, a phrase attributed to Hannibal. “Equally important is competition,” he said. “While negative competition can interfere with progress toward main goals, constructive competition can strongly motivate us to overcome seemingly impossible odds.”

In addition, Baylor was well represented in the organizing committee of the annual meeting. Dr. Charles D. Fraser Jr., professor of surgery at Baylor and surgeon-in-chief of Texas Children's Hospital, was co-chair of the event. In the adult cardiac session, Baylor’s Dr. Ourania Preventza, assistant professor of surgery, gave a presentation about independent predictors of prolonged length of stay.

The AATS honored Dr. Denton A. Cooley, distinguished professor emeritus of surgery at Baylor and president emeritus of the Texas Heart Institute, with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognized Dr. Cooley’s service and dedication and, in particular, his pioneering efforts in cardiac surgery, including the first successful human heart transplant in the U.S. and the first implant of an artificial heart.

Mark your calendars. In 2017, AATS will celebrate its 100th anniversary and the annual meeting will take place in Boston, Mass., between April 29 and May 3.