NEW YORK – The Awards Committee and the Board of Trustees of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) have voted the distinguished physician and professor of cardiology Dr. George Dangas the ACC Distinguished Fellow Award 2019.
As the ACC President Dr. Michael Valentine noted, the award was in recognition of Dangas’ outstanding service to the College and of the fact that his activities have made him a role model for others.
Dangas is a Professor of Cardiology and Vascular Surgery and Director of Cardiovascular Innovation at the Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City.
The Award ceremony will take place at the 68th Annual ACC Scientific Sessions of the organization in New Orleans on March 18, 2019.
Notably, Dangas was also honored with ACC Distinguished Teacher Award 2017 during the 66th Annual ACC Scientific Sessions two years ago in Washington, DC. He had served as an Associate Professor at NYU when he was at Lenox Hill Hospital 15 years ago and subsequently at Columbia University Medical Center. He had also been at the Washington Hospital Center, an affiliate of George Washington University in the earlier stages of his career. From 2009-10 he was the Chairman of Cardiology at the Onassis Heart Center in Athens and he has been subsequently elected a Professor of Cardiology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, where he had originally conducted his medical and doctoral studies.
In an interview with the National Herald, he said, “this is an outstanding honor since only one such award is given each year, and I was very pleasantly surprised since I had no idea about the selection. The committee’s deliberations are kept secret. It is exceptional to receive an honor from our colleagues, and knowing that there were many other great candidates makes me feel especially proud to emerge from the robust process as the winner this year.”
Asked if he ever imagined receiving such honors when he was studying medicine in Athens, he said, “this a great question and I have thought about it many times: not in my wildest dreams did I imagine such things, that I would be a candidate and ultimately an honoree for such an award. Let me also note that the ACC is an international organization with over 25-30 chapters in different countries all over the world. Hence, many of the Award candidates and winners have been cardiologists who had initially studied abroad and then came to the USA as faculty. The Award competition is thus a global competition.”
He spoke to TNH about progress in the cardiovascular field. “Innovations in cardiology, heart surgery, and vascular surgery are amazing. Developments include minimally invasive procedures, which may include the opening of blood vessels with lasers or miniaturized atherotomes, and treatment with specialized balloons and metallic stents manufactured in very special ways to include bio-friendly polymers and medicated with factors that avert re-clogging of the blood vessels. Essentially each device combines 3, 4, or 5 innovations! We can now repair or replace heart valves without the need to open the chest wall as in traditional surgeries. Similarly, we have developed many techniques for avoiding amputations of toes of parts of the legs as we can restore the blood flow and revive them.”
He noted, however, that “the minimally invasive techniques are best applied one a time and in a gradual way. When patients have multiple problems and can tolerate traditional open heart surgery, this may be preferred as many things can be corrected at once.”