ACC Continues to Grow as a Global Health Leader
While significant strides have been made in treating cardiovascular diseases and reducing morbidity and mortality, they still remain the number one cause of death globally. Over the last several years, the international community has come together to reverse this trend, with the World Health Organization setting a global goal of reducing premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular diseases, by 25 percent by 2025.
“We are living in a new world and global health becomes central in a sustainable development paradigm,” says Daniel José Piñeiro, MD, FACC, chair of ACC’s Assembly of International Governors. “Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the world and we must fight it in a smarter, more effective way,” he adds.
The ACC is responding to this need for more effective global action by positioning the College as the professional home for cardiovascular professionals around the world. International membership is one of the fastest growing member segments at the College, currently exceeding more than 15,000. In addition, the College has established International Chapters in 35 countries – with this number expected to increase in coming years. This growth has allowed for greater collaborative efforts around education and population health.
On the education front, College faculty participated in more than 60 congresses in more than 35 countries in 2015. At ACC.16 alone, more than 18 sessions with representatives from 36 countries will offer insights into the latest research, as well as best practices and challenges associated with treating cardiovascular patients around the world. Additionally, yesterday’s “8th Annual Cardiovascular Conference on the Middle East” and sessions focused on “Emerging World Healthcare Systems” continued to serve as unique forums for convening cardiovascular leaders to discuss region-specific challenges associated with treating patients with diseases ranging from congenital heart disease to aortic stenosis. The economic burden of cardiovascular disease, the impact on some of the world’s fastest growing nations and ways to maximize resources and improve patient care, were also hot topics of discussion.
Looking ahead, the ACC will be hosting two novel international conferences, the ACC Latin America Conference and the ACC Middle East Conference. These will be the first-ever regional ACC conferences in partnership with ACC International Chapters. They present a unique opportunity to reach a targeted group of cardiovascular professionals from multiple countries around Latin America and the Middle East. The two and a half day conferences will feature locally relevant, interactive education designed to best meet the needs of practicing cardiologists in the region. There will be a special emphasis on educating fellows in training and early career doctors in the latest cardiovascular science and practical techniques for improving cardiovascular patient care. Both conferences will be held this October.
Population health is another area of strategic focus. The ACC has been recognized for its partnership in helping to catalyze efforts in global health by leveraging its vast global membership to drive efforts on the ground and close the gaps in health care across populations. In particular, the College’s hospital and outpatient NCDR registries are increasingly being used internationally to help identify gaps in care and track quality improvement efforts. Pilot programs in countries like China, Brazil and India are also underway. These programs are intended to help cardiovascular professionals and health systems stay up-to-date on the latest evidence-based guidelines, as well as offer tips on cardiovascular disease prevention.
“If we can work together to increase international participation in educational activities, encourage global use and exchange of data, and raise public awareness about cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, progress is well within our grasp,” says ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC.
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