PAAO President’s Message

October 2021

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

“The future does not belong to those who are content with today, timid and fearful of new ideas. Rather it will belong to those who can blend passion, reason and courage in a personal commitment to ideals of our society.”

– Robert Kennedy

I am happy to share with you this past weekend we held our Curso de Liderazgo (Leadership Course) Graduation ceremony. During this event, we celebrated 10 leaders who successfully completed the course. It was a pleasure to open the course by saying a few words to our participants.

We celebrated the 10 participants and their natural leadership qualities, which was clear based on the fact that they made the choice to join this course and stimulate the leader within them. It is important to remember as John Kennedy once said “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” In order to become great leaders, we must be open to continuous learning from one another. The PAAO, with members in more than 40 countries, has several learning and teaching programs, showing how institutional leadership, advanced learning and teamwork go hand-in-hand. The PAAO and especially through our PAAO-YO, fosters continuous growth and development in supporting the leaders of tomorrow. Our PAAO-YO with their energy, enthusiasm and strong engagement are made up of many participants throughout the years from the leadership course.

In my address to the leaders, I also discussed the importance of diversity in leadership, an aspect that is embedded deep within the heart of the PAAO. Diversity is not only to be tolerated but it is to be pursued. The importance of connections with other societies and programs, remain extremely valuable in bringing us all together. International leadership within Institutions can teach us many valuable lessons and different views on how best to lead.

Now more than ever we see the importance and the great need of strong leadership. The COVID-19 pandemic once again clearly demonstrated the inequality of countries, regions and populations around the world. As leaders, we should all take steps to try to at least decrease the unequal way of doing things. Solidarity, generosity, extra kindness should be encouraged, and all actions taken should be based on science and medicine exclusively, this is the only way to achieve a better result. We are in extraordinary times, in virtual meetings, undergoing vaccination campaigns, mask wearing and social distancing; please always remember to smile with your eyes behind your mask.

In Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s book “The Shadow of the Wind”, he says “I believe that nothing happens by chance. Deep down, things have their own secret plan, even though we don’t understand it.” We are here together for a reason, to provide the best care to our patients, to work alongside our peers and to be the best leaders we can be.

Once again, I would like to extend my congratulations to the graduating class of the 2021 Curso de Liderazgo. I look forward to witnessing their next great moves.

With best wishes,

Miguel N. Burnier Jr., MD, MSc, PhD, FRCSC
PAAO President

Click here to find out more about the graduating class and their projects