ACC On the Road Improving Heart Health Around the World
In early 2017, the ACC, in partnership with Pfizer, launched the webinar component of its Global Education Program on Heart Disease Prevention. Each of the 10 countries participating in the program will benefit from a series of three webinars featuring region-specific material focused on primary and secondary prevention; reinforcing strategies for assessing and alleviating the most common risk factors for cardiovascular disease; and exploring unique approaches to caring for patients with diabetes and other comorbidities. To date, webinars have already kicked off in Russia and the United Arab Emirates. With support from Pfizer, the ACC is working alongside the Russian Society of Cardiology and the Emirates Cardiac Society, respectively, to customize the webinar presentations to address country- and region-specific obstacles.
Pamela B. Morris, MD, FACC, who is serving as faculty advisor and co-chair for these webinars and is heavily involved in developing the customized webinar curricula for all 10 participating countries, recently spoke with Cardiology about her role, as well as the benefits of this program in preventing global cardiovascular disease.
What are the most significant cardiovascular issues facing the countries participating in the program?
Though there are regional differences in the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, there are many remarkable similarities across the globe. For example, in the countries where the program’s primary prevention webinars have been conducted, as well as in the U.S., the epidemic of obesity and the high prevalence of hypertension are among the most important issues. In China, the Middle East and Russia, there are considerable concerns regarding the ongoing use of combustible tobacco products in various forms. Additionally, the suboptimal implementation of evidence-based guidelines for cardiovascular risk assessment and management of dyslipidemia are other challenges consistently represented across all participating countries.
How will engaging with these countries through webinars and social media change the cardiovascular landscape?
The discussions during these webinars focus on best practices for cardiovascular risk reduction and emphasize the importance of sharing expertise and successful strategies among international experts. There is no doubt that sharing lessons learned in the U.S. will positively impact cardiovascular practice internationally, and our U.S. faculty have benefitted tremendously from observing the successful cardiovascular risk factor screening programs that are being implemented in multiple countries.
What are some of the program’s biggest challenges?
The most significant challenge for ACC staff and faculty is ensuring that the materials and information used in the webinars are customized to address the unique educational needs of participants in each country. We have found that there is considerable variability in the use of cardiovascular risk assessment tools and the availability of specific pharmacotherapies, as well as variability in access to care and sites of delivery of care.
What are some of the key speaking points covered in the webinars? How will the curricula continue to develop as the program moves forward?
There have been a number of key discussion points covered the during the primary prevention webinars held so far. Most importantly, our international faculty play a critical role as they discuss the epidemiology of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in their own countries and provide an understanding of the awareness, treatment and control of cardiovascular risk factors. The U.S. faculty have focused on the importance of cardiovascular risk assessment to target those high-risk patients most likely to derive net clinical benefit from preventive therapies and the importance of implementation of evidence-based guidelines for management of dyslipidemia.
What is your role as faculty advisor?
I closely review post-webinar needs assessment data, conduct research into local risk factors and health care systems and consult with local ACC chapters to select learning objectives and webinar content that is appropriate for local physicians. I also help to select speakers for all primary prevention webinars and guide them through the process of developing presentation materials. Serving in this role provides an opportunity to mentor and elevate young, talented faculty in the international space.
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