Marathon Runner to share her story of the 2013 Boston attacks at 2017 AARC Congress Closing Ceremony

 Published: July 25, 2017

By: Heather Willden


Photo of Dr. Natalie Stavas
A physician and experienced marathon runner, Dr. Natalie Stavas found the need for both of these roles during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

The AARC Congress 2017 planning team announced that Dr. Natalie Stavas will wrap-up AARC Congress 2017 (Oct. 4–7) as the closing ceremony speaker. Dr. Stavas will recount her experience in the fateful 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and will share her perspective on “running towards the chaos” with Congress attendees.

Photo of Dr. Natalie Stavas speaking
Dr. Natalie Stavas will bring the 2017 AARC Congress to a close as the closing keynote speaker.

Stavas is a physician at Boston Children’s Hospital and an instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She is also a marathon runner. On April 15, 2013, as Dr. Stavas approached the finish line of her fifth Boston Marathon, she heard explosions just blocks away. She immediately ran to them, and put her respiratory and medical skills to the test when she arrived on the scene.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, Dr. Stavas will bring our AARC Congress 2017 to a close as she shares her experience of the 2013 marathon and what motivated her to run towards the chaos instead of away from it. She will not only share her story, but she will also talk about the science of how all healthcare providers are wired to do good, to help others in need, and to do so during moments when it’s least expected.

Dr. Stavas writes for multiple outlets including Huffington Post and the Medical Bag, and has been featured in Runners World, The New York Times, LA Times, The Boston Globe, The New Yorker, Time and People.

An expert on chaos, Dr. Stavas takes on every obstacle with the same attitude: “You run towards that which you fear, that which challenges you, that which is oppositional.” She explains that running towards chaos actually makes it more manageable.

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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