A Personal Mission: Molly Nichelson, American College of Cardiology

Molly Nichelson is an Issues Advocate for the American College of
Cardiology
(ACC) in Washington, DC. Part of the ACC’s Federal
Grassroots Outreach, her usual job involves helping members of the
American College of Cardiology become involved in political issues. But on Lobby Day 2009 her assignment was more difficult: Molly had to
transform 200+ Congenital Heart Defect Survivors, Cardiologists, and
their families into CHD Advocates, then turn them loose in the halls
of Congress.

Lucky for us, Heart Defect issues are her passion. Molly’s sister was
born with a Congenital Heart Defect, Coarctation of the Thoracic
Aorta
, along with transversed organs. Despite these challenges,
Molly’s sister has survived two open heart surgeries and at age 27 has
a child and is “doing great!”

“As far as my own family was concerned, it was a lifestyle change for
us, making sure we watched her, hypertension issues, but through
medical intervention she’s really doing fantastic,” the proud sister
and aunt says. “The medical advances are astounding. So for me, our
family views a lot of physicians as heroes.”

“I’ve worked in government relations all my life,” Molly continues.
“When I first started with the American College of Cardiology it was a
passion of mine to work with people with Congenital Heart issues. It’s
something I’ve been doing ever since.”

Growing up in a family affected by a Congenital Heart Defect, she
understands the best way to guide a Cardiac Kid. “As a sister of
someone who has a heart defect, I would say don’t treat them [children with Congenital Heart Defects] any differently. That was an important thing growing up, she can achieve a lot of great things. She has a child, a family, a great career, and a lot of it is due in part to really wonderful, caring, passionate doctors. I like to think that the American College of Cardiology is a great home for fantastic physicians who are  really passionate and really care about their patients.”

Molly’s attitude becomes more businesslike as she discusses an
upcoming issue facing Americans: “It’s going to be very important for
patients to keep abreast of what’s happening on Capitol Hill,” she
advises. “Read your newspaper, keep following up, see what
associations like the American College of Cardiology and different
organizations are doing in regard to health care reform. Stay engaged,
read a lot, and learn about what is going on.”

Good advice, from someone who is in a position to know… and obviously cares.

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One Response to “A Personal Mission: Molly Nichelson, American College of Cardiology”

  1. Kelly Says:

    Great post on Ms. Molly. Her unique understanding of CHD’s combined with her extraordinary communication skills made lobby day feel a lot more manageable. She is an asset to the ACC and a blessing to all of us affected by Congenital Heart Disease. Thanks Steve for shining a much deserved spotlight on a true heart hero.

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