Ambassadors of the Year
The Award: As a public not for profit patient-physician-industry partnership, GAFA would like to recognize individuals and companies from each group that have shown outstanding support and contribution of GAFA’s mission. The award recipients for 2013 are Dr. James Cox; Ms. Mellanie True Hills; University of Kansas Hospital; and St. Jude Medical, Biosense Webster, Medtronic, and Boston Scientific. The awards are presented each year at the Kansas City World Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Day Yoga-Walk/Run in Leawood, KS.
Extraordinary research and work by physician scientists brought amazing therapies to fruition in the field of AF. In less than two decades what was a painstakingly brutal undertaking evolved to become a very sophisticated standard of care treatment in the form of catheter ablation and minimally invasive surgical Maze only due to efforts of pioneers in the field like Dr. James Cox, this year’s recipient of the GAFA Physician Ambassador of the Year Award. Out of the box thinking and invention of a technique for a problem that is gigantic and less well understood is a heroic step forward that unveiled a new solution to a problem that was largely thought to be unresolvable. This is the most fitting tribute to an individual who is larger than life itself.
Patients are the real champions in this equation. The success or failure of any clinical program or therapeutic strategy is clearly dependent on the level of engagement you can muster from the patients. Patients who are well aware of their condition and those who actively engage in their care by learning more about it and spreading information to their fellow patients are the best torch bearers for a disease awareness campaign. Fitting this role the founder of StopAfib.org, Ms. Mellanie True Hills, who is an AF patient herself, has done a tremendous job in educating thousands of patients around the world. For her efforts, she is the recipient of this year’s GAFA Patient Ambassador of the Year Award.
The role of hospitals in the process of fighting disease is often underplayed. The leadership of these abodes of health care delivery does make a difference in facing the challenges of innovative care for the patients and provide the physicians with the support they need to deliver extraordinary care. The University of Kansas Hospital and its executive team this year receives the GAFA Hospital Ambassador of the Year Award for their contribution in promoting advanced care for AF patients in the greater Midwest. Through their Bloch Heart Rhythm Center’s Center for Excellence in Atrial Fibrillation and Complex Arrhythmia management, they have stood as beacons of hope for several thousands of AF patients in the region.
Finally, the there is one entity that transforms nascent ideas and napkins drawings into real products that can deliver therapy: industry. They form an essential piece of the puzzle that helps promote and improve access to care on a global level. This year GAFA recognizes four organizations who have taken leadership and helped physicians and patients through their unique product development and commitment for research in the field of Atrial Fibrillation; The GAFA Industry Ambassadors of the Year Award goes to: St. Jude Medical, Biosense Webster, Medtronic and Boston Scientific.