The Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute and the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Cardiovascular Health are the embodiment of myriad dreams from many minds. To the Trustees and Officers of The Mount Sinai Medical Center, the Institute represents the continuation of a tradition spanning more than a century of commitment to excellence in patient care, education and medical research. To our patients, our community in New York, and society at large, it stands as a glowing resource for those seeking better ways to overcome heart disease. To its faculty, the Institute is a swift conduit for the advancement of the art and science of cardiovascular medicine and surgery, enabling those with the spirit and ideas to fulfill their professional commitments to improving cardiovascular health. For me, the Institute represents the culmination of a life dedicated to understanding cardiac diseases and to demystifying coronary atherosclerosis, the condition responsible for more deaths and disability than any other affliction.
Over the course of the twentieth century, great strides have been made in the struggle against coronary artery disease, the root cause of most cases of heart attack and sudden death. Yet, despite these gains, we are still unable to prevent fully three-fourths of these coronary events. A more effective system must be created to apply the prevention strategies we already have at hand. Fundamental is the need to expand our knowledge of the origins of cardiovascular pathology at the molecular and genetic levels, a quest that calls for intellectual vigilance, financial resources and a commitment to the future. At the turn of the millenium, I see the development of powerful new scientific and clinical tools and the Cardiovascular Institute will deliver on both of these promises.
An academy for learning and for teaching, a laboratory for investigation and testing, a proving ground for the development and application of new technologies, and most of all, a symbol of our hope and confidence, the Cardiovascular Institute is indeed a cloak of many colors. But its mission is single and unmistakable--to extinguish the spread of cardiovascular disease and replace it with a shining focus on health for our children and grandchildren.