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NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 14, 2016 — For the first time, the American Heart Association (AHA) has presented two major awards to one recipient: long-time volunteer leader and former AHA President Sidney C. Smith Jr., M.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

First, Smith received the James B. Herrick Award of the AHA Council on Clinical Cardiology, an annual honor saluting excellence in the advancement of cardiology practice. Ileana Pena, M.D., council chair, presented the award, a citation and medallion, at a Saturday, Nov. 12, council dinner meeting in New Orleans.

Then, on Sunday, Nov. 13, Smith received the Chairman’s Award, a tribute to outstanding volunteer service on behalf of the AHA. The award was presented during the opening of the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2016 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Association Board Chairman Alvin L. Royse of Hillsborough, Calif., presented the award, a citation and $1,000 honorarium.

“For four decades,” the Chairman’s Award citation said, “Dr. Sidney Smith has been actively and effectively involved in the American Heart Association’s priority planning, programming and governance at virtually every level.” 

This service included three years as President-Elect, 1994-95; President, 1995-96; and Immediate Past President, 1996-97. Smith was a member of the national Board of Directors, 1991-96, and was the Association’s Chief Science Officer, 2001-03.

“In addition to his roles in science and medicine, Dr. Smith’s insightful leadership has benefitted AHA programs and activities in many other ways,” Royse said.

“Dr. Smith was instrumental in initiating the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement program of the American Heart Association, which he now has worked to deliver internationally,” the AHA chairman noted.  “He also has worked tirelessly to share best practices for improving air quality as a way to reduce the world-wide risk of cardiovascular disease.”

At the Council on Clinical Cardiology’s earlier meeting, Pina presented the Herrick Award to Smith “in grateful recognition of his many contributions that have profoundly advanced the practice of cardiology world-wide.”

“During Dr. Smith’s distinguished four-decades-long career, he has had a highly effective and sustained impact on cardiovascular disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment, including major roles steering the American Heart Association toward the fulfillment of its mission while having a direct, positive influence on cardiovascular medicine,” said Pina, of New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

“Dr. Smith is an internationally recognized expert on coronary artery disease, cardiac catheterization and percutaneous coronary intervention,” the Herrick citation said. “He is acclaimed for his research on ischemic heart disease, and he draws praise for his teaching of cardiology at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels.”

The citation continued: “Dr. Smith’s prominent participation in the development of treatment guidelines by the AHA, the American College of Cardiology and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has been remarkable, to the point of being legendary.”  He served on the AHA/ACC Task Force on Practice Guidelines, 1997-2009.

“Among the American Heart Association’s many distinguished and dedicated volunteers, few have equaled and none has exceeded Sid Smith’s superb record of service,” The Herrick citation concluded. “His contributions have helped lift the American Heart Association to higher levels of professionalism and attain greater public regard.”           

Smith currently is professor of medicine and past chief of the Division of Cardiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.              


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