By Kyle Glennie
“I’m obviously delighted. Being a member of this society has enhanced my professional development and enabled me to provide better care to my patients with heart rhythm disorders.”
While Dr. Anne Gillis may be delighted by her appointment as 2nd vice president of the Heart Rhythm Society-a post that will eventually lead to her becoming president in three years-her patients and her colleagues at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine must be ecstatic.
The international leader in science, education and advocacy for cardiac arrhythmia professionals and patients, the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) is the primary information resource on heart rhythm disorders. Gillis, a professor in the Department of Medicine and a member of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta at the Faculty of Medicine, is only the second non-American to ever be chosen as president of the HRS.
The level of achievement Gillis has accomplished with this appointment certainly hasn’t been lost on Dr. George Wyse, one of her colleagues at the Heart Rhythm Society and a Distinguished Alumni of the University of Calgary.
“Being chosen as president of this major international society is an important recognition of Dr. Gillis personally, and also a recognition of the stature of the cardiac arrhythmia program at the Libin Institute and the University of Calgary.”
Five-year presidential track
The HRS’ clear cut government structure will see Gillis become the second vice president this year, then she’ll graduate to first vice president next year before moving on to president-elect, president and finally past-president in the three subsequent years.
“For me the most exciting part right now is planning our annual scientific sessions over the next couple of years,” Gillis says, speaking of the HRS’ yearly conference that attracts close to 15,000 professionals. “You don’t get an opportunity to plan such a large meeting like that very often.”
Having a member of the Faculty of Medicine in such a prominent position will also benefit those around Gillis; namely her patients and fellow faculty members.
“Whenever you have members of the Faculty receive a key appointment it brings prestige to the university,” Gillis says. “It benefits my colleagues and will provide them with opportunities to be involved in the educational aspects and other roles within the society.”
Just like most doctors, Gillis also points to her involvement in the HRS as a great way to improve access to treatments for her patients. She also credits the Faculty of Medicine and the Libin Institute for giving her the ability to offer her patients the best care possible.
“The strong research and academic mix that we have in the electrophysiology group is essential for us to bring new treatments and new therapies for our patients,” says Gillis.
Spoken like a true doctor. Or president.