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For Dr. Richard Levin, McGill’s Vice-Principal for Health Affairs and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, the evening of Feb. 28 was one to remember. In the famed Grand Ballroom of New York’s Waldorf-Astoria, Dr. Levin was honoured at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 15th Annual Heart of New York Gala. He was presented with the “Heart of New York Mission Award” in recognition of his 20-plus years of leadership at the AHA.
“It was wonderful to return to New York City for this annual event. My wife Jane and I were thrilled and humbled to be so honoured,” said Dr. Levin, who joined McGill from New York University in 2006. In addition to the award, the creation of the ‘Richard I. Levin M.D. Fellowship in Cardiovascular Research’ was unveiled unexpectedly. “The surprise of a new, annual research fellowship in my name was overwhelming,” said Dr. Levin.
As the AHA’s premier annual fund-raising event in New York, the gala drew leaders from the medical, corporate and social sectors to pay tribute to the honourees and support life-saving education, advocacy and research initiatives. This year’s special guest was former president Bill Clinton, who has worked through his Clinton Foundation to curb obesity.
In his remarks, Dr. Levin said, “At the beginning of the last century, when heart disease was always a killer, in a wonderful act of American optimism, the Heart Association was created in this city by five physicians and a philanthropist – an enduring combination. The good that it has done is unbelievable. With help from the Clinton Foundation, the American Heart Association will defeat the epidemic of obesity and will return us to the trajectory that will see the end to vascular diseases in this century. I believe the American Heart Association, worldwide, in its mission of research and education, has done as much good as any philanthropic organization in history.”