October 23, 2015

This BOG Update is brought to you by Claire Duvernoy, MD, FACC, Chair-Elect of the Women in Cardiology (WIC) Section Leadership Council and interim Governor of the Michigan Chapter of ACC, and Sandra Lewis, MD, FACC, Chair of the WIC Section Leadership Council.

It is no secret that women cardiologists are a distinct minority in our profession. Women comprise a mere 15 percent of all practicing cardiologists, and about 18 percent of Fellows in Training. In the interventional and electrophysiology subspecialties, the numbers are even lower. Why are women so underrepresented and what can we do to improve our gender representation?

As Chair and Chair-Elect of the Women in Cardiology (WIC) Section Leadership Council, Sandy Lewis, MD, FACC and I are engaged in answering these fundamental questions, and are working on advancing careers and opportunities for women cardiologists with the help of our leadership council and WIC section membership. A fundamental prerequisite to achieving meaningful change is to arm oneself with information. To that end, we have just embarked upon our decennial ACC Professional Life Survey, which many of you received in your inboxes recently. As in the previous two iterations of the survey, published first in 1996 and again in 2006, the information collected will tell us a great deal about the careers, job satisfaction, earning potential, and advancement opportunities of women cardiologists as compared with men in the field. We need your responses! Results will be published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology next spring, and shared with you all at the ACC's Annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago in April 2016.

Our section has achieved great success in empowering women cardiologists. We have established both virtual and real-life networking and mentoring opportunities through our website and our annual WIC Leadership Workshop, which provides an invaluable face-to-face networking and learning session at Heart House. In 2016, the workshop is scheduled for Feb. 6 – 7, 2016, to coincide with the ACC's Annual Leadership Forum in Washington, DC. We are exploring ways to bring the Leadership Workshop message to women cardiologists around the country using a roadshow format.

As I mentioned during our meeting at Heart House last week, we need the BOG's assistance in forming strong state WIC chapters that can bring our message and our networking opportunities to women cardiologists that do not have the time or resources to travel. Additionally, we sponsor a very popular lounge at the Annual Scientific Session each year; section members are free to drop in any time for refreshments as well as to hear scheduled discussions on topics of interest, such as achieving work-life balance, improving negotiating skills, etc.

We have a long way to go to achieve gender parity in the field of cardiology, both in the number of women and in equal opportunities and compensation for women cardiologists. Through concerted effort, the WIC section and council is working to achieve those goals.