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Dr. James Cox and Mellanie True Hills received Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance awards

World Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Day was September 14, 2013

Dr. James Cox and Mellanie True Hills received Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance awards

September 16, 2013

  • Summary: The Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance Physician & Patient Ambassador of the Year Awards were presented to Dr. James Cox and Mellanie True Hills at World Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Day.
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World Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Day was celebrated with yoga and a 5K run/walk on September 14, 2013, in Kansas City, Kansas, and numerous cities around the globe. World AF Awareness Day is sponsored by the Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance Foundation, which is chaired by Dr. Dhanunjaya (DJ) Lakkireddy, Professor of Medicine, at the University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City.

In the awards ceremony, Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn bestowed the following awards on behalf of the Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance Foundation:

  • Dr. James Cox, who pioneered the Cox maze procedure upon which most current afib treatments are based, received the Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance Physician Ambassador of the Year Award.
  • Ms. Mellanie True Hills, founder of StopAfib.org, received the Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance Patient Ambassador of the Year Award.
  • University of Kansas Hospital received the Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance Hospital Ambassador of the Year Award.
  • St. Jude Medical, Biosense Webster, Medtronic & Boston Scientific received the Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance Industry Ambassadors of the Year Award.

Here is the press release announcing the awards and the events of the day:

World Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Day

YOGA-RUN/WALK IN Kansas City and Around the World, September 14th

KANSAS CITY, Kan., Sept. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — September is recognized as the Atrial Fibrillation Awareness month and every second Saturday of September has been commemorated as "World AF Awareness Day." This day is celebrated across the world in several major cities including Kansas City, Tulsa, Scottsdale, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and Hyderabad (India) by an organized "World AF Awareness Yoga-Run/Walk" with a focus on patient education, promoting research and access to better care. This year the World AF Awareness Day is held on September 14, 2013. 

The event in greater Kansas City is taking place at the Town Center Plaza in Leawood, Kansas between 7 and 9 a.m. with Mayor Peggy Dunn doing the curtain raiser for the 2nd Annual World Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Day Yoga-Run/Walk. Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance (GAFA) Foundation, a not for profit grassroots organization, is the force behind this important public education and awareness program. It strives to create increased awareness among the general public about the most common heart rhythm condition that affects more than 20 million people in the world and is a major cause of stroke, heart failure and heart attacks.

A physician, patient advocate, hospital and organization(s) that have contributed significantly to the awareness of Atrial Fibrillation will be presented with the GAFA Ambassador of the Year Award by the Mayor on the day of the event. This year the pioneer of AF surgery who invented the MAZE procedure Dr. James Cox receives the GAFA Physician Ambassador of the Year Award. Mrs. Mellanie True Hills, Founder of the StopAfib.org, whose efforts to raise AF awareness are relentless, receives the GAFA Patient Ambassador of the Year. University of Kansas Hospital who remains the beacon of hope through their world class AF Center of Excellence in the greater Midwest receives the GAFA Hospital Ambassador of the Year. Four Commercial organizations who are involved in manufacturing tools for AF interventions – St. Jude Medical, Biosense Webster, Medtronic & Boston Scientific will receive the GAFA Industry Ambassadors of the Year Award.

About GAFA

Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance (GAFA) Foundation leads worldwide efforts in creating improved awareness for early detection, treatment and prevention of Atrial Fibrillation (AF). Global AF Alliance, a public not for profit patient-physician-industry partnership (501-c3) whose goal is to improve awareness, and access to care for patients with atrial fibrillation. Several prominent electrophysiologists, surgeons, and other thought leaders are an active part of this organization.  This organization also strives towards a global fund raising effort to support important clinical and basic research in atrial fibrillation through professional bodies like the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), American College of Cardiology (ACC), Asia Pacific Heart Rhythm Society (APHRS) and European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA).

Dr. Dhanunjaya (DJ) Lakkireddy, Professor of Medicine, at the University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City is the Founding member of GAFA and currently leads the Board of Trustees, firmly believes that empowering patients and bringing all the stake holders together is the best approach to tackle AF, which has already reached an epidemic proportion. Drawing parallels between Coronary Artery Disease and Atrial Fibrillation Dr. Lakkireddy said, "Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the electrical equivalent of Coronary Artery Disease in its socio economic impact and health related morbidity, except that it is not as dramatic." 

Commenting that launching and promoting awareness campaigns are painstakingly hard and time consuming, he also said, "It took three decades of perseverant campaign from various professionals, non-profit organizations, media and patients to create enough awareness about CAD that it slowly gave away its number one killer position to cancer. Comparatively, AF awareness campaign is still at a very nascent stage. Concerted efforts from Professional bodies like the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) and American College of Cardiology (ACC) and various other public information domains have initiated significant momentum to this task."

In his message Dr. Andrea Natale, Executive Director for Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute and Member of the Board of Trustees for GAFA said "I want to congratulate the members of the "Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance" for the incredible success of 'World Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Day' in Kansas City and several other cities around the world.  They have provided an effective and engaging avenue to bring awareness to those individuals with and without atrial fibrillation. We have a responsibility on our shoulders to enhance AF awareness and World Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Day is a great start to tackle this global epidemic."

If you would like more information about this topic, please visit www.global-af-alliance.org

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Last Modified September 16, 2013

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