A renowned expert on heart failure, he has made many contributions to advances in cardiovascular medicine. These include, notably, his recent joint leadership of the detailed and far-reaching SHIFT study. The encouraging results from this 6,500-patient, multicentre and multinational clinical trial were published at the ESC Congress 2010, and widely reported around the world. The study demonstrated that the lf inhibitor drug, Ivabradine, is a very effective treatment for heart failure and offers great hope for a large number of people.
“It is a real honour to be appointed President of the ESC,” says Professor Komajda. “I believe strongly in the need for continuity, but I also see how quickly the world is changing. While I want to enhance the society’s international reputation through education and training, and bring more countries into our Affiliates programme, we also need to build on the special relationships we have with the National Societies of our 53 member countries, and with the EU and its institutions. We must successfully balance the interests of our members and their patients with our professional obligations to knowledge sharing and supporting public health policies that impact cardiology and prevention.”
As President, Professor Komajda will give strategic leadership and direction to the ESC. He cites four major priorities that, he hopes, will define his presidency:
- International influence: Remarkable progress has been made in raising cardiovascular prevention further up Europe’s political agenda. Much of the success is due to the excellent working relationship between the ESC and the EU, and the strength and quality of evidence presented to support the argument. These initiatives will continue, but although it is clear that the ESC will always represent the cardiology profession, Komajda believes that the society should also become the advocate for the patient too – a vital role that has been missing until now.
- Education: Komajda wants to exploit the ESC’s rich archive of research and clinical information, and its reputation for excellence in education programmes. He will encourage new initiatives for distance learning by cardiology professionals, establish localised specialty workshops, and improve professional validation processes. He regards the ESC Guidelines as vital tools to spread best-practice and learning, and is keen to support them being adopted as widely as possible.
- Research: Recent experience gained from his work on the SHIFT study has convinced Komajda of the advantages of cross-discipline and cross-border collaboration. During his presidency, he wants to create a research foundation that formalises – and strengthens – the linkage between basic scientific discovery and potential patient outcomes. He sees the ESC as the ideal facilitator of this linkage, and is determined to examine ways that make best use of the huge network of expertise within the ESC membership.
- Communication and collaboration: Komajda wants to reach out to those members unable to attend congresses and conferences, or participate in the many active communities within the ESC. He wants to drive efforts to ensure that the benefits of membership are constantly improved and well communicated. He is keen to continue initiatives such as the innovative ESC Cardiologists of Tomorrow programme as well as cement improved relationships with other professions represented in the ESC membership such as specialist nursing and general practitioners. He fully supports the ESC policy of expanding its Affiliates Programme through close cooperation with sister societies in Asia-Pacific and South America.
Under the constitution of the society, Professor Komajda will serve a two-year term. He is joined on the ESC Board by the outgoing president, Professor Roberto Ferrari, and the President-Elect, Professor Panos Vardas. “I am looking forward to working closely with the ESC CEO Isabel Bardinet and her team,” commented Professor Komajda. “The ESC is a very professional and efficient organisation with an excellent track record. I hope that, during my time as President, we will make real progress towards our goals.”