Recently, Clyde W. Yancy, M.D., medical director of the Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, began his term as the American Heart Association’s national president. Yancy, an association volunteer for more than 15 years, will serve as chief volunteer scientific and medical officer, responsible for medical, scientific and public health matters. A specialist in heart failure, Yancy is the 2003 recipient of the association’s Physician of the Year Award, presented annually to a practicing physician who has rendered outstanding contributions to the accomplishment of the organization’s mission.
Yancy was a medical research fellow when he attended his first AHA Scientific Sessions in the late 1980s. A year later he received a grant-in-aid from the AHA that allowed him to continue his research in heart failure. He also began volunteering with the AHA’s Dallas Division. “I had a wonderful experience and worked with some extraordinary people — many of whom remain close personal friends,” Yancy said.
He would later serve as division president, and then as president of the former Texas Affiliate.
“Each step of the way, it was evident that what drove AHA volunteers was not a sense of self, but a sense of purpose. What is it that we’re trying to accomplish? How can we contribute to the greater good?”
As Yancy became more involved with AHA at a national level, his volunteer activities included chairing the committee that developed Heart Profilers, the association’s online tool to help heart patients make informed decisions and participate in their own treatment. Yancy is an editorial board member with the AHA journal Circulation and also a member of the American College of Cardiology/AHA Guideline Writing Committee for chronic heart failure. He recently completed a term as chair of the Panel on Cardiovascular Devices of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“There’s something very energizing about being an AHA volunteer. It means you’re part of a group of people who contribute their time and energy and realize tangible returns. We are making a difference. That’s one reason I’m so engaged with our 2020 goal. For the first time we are making primary prevention a key component of our strategy. We’re encouraging behaviors early on that stop conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol long before they’ve become risk factors.”
Yancy was recently featured in a USA Today article on his work in helping to create a patient-centered environment at Baylor Healthcare, resulting in Baylor leading the country in lower heart failure readmission rates. Yancy has long been a champion for quality improvement initiatives to better patient care, including his work with AHA’s Get with the Guidelines Program and heart failure Ambulatory Registry.
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