June 17, 2016

What works best in your Chapter for member/patient benefit?

This week's BOG Update is brought to you by Andrew Miller, MD, FACC, Governor of the Alabama Chapter of the ACC.

BOG Priorities: Community of Cardiovascular Care

I have enjoyed being part of the careful consideration given to the ACC's mission and values, strategic plan, and now governance changes at a national level since joining the Board of Governors. At a local level, I have tried to reiterate this philosophy and evaluate our experiences in population health, purposeful education, member value and engagement, and transformation of care. This year our BOG Chair, Dr. Allen Seals, has challenged us to consider where our compass points and share chapter successes.

"The Alabama Chapter is a hidden jewel of the ACC." These were Dr. Ami Iskandrian's concluding remarks as he accepted the MACC honor several years ago. We have enjoyed tremendous success by pulling together a community of cardiovascular care specialists in Alabama. In my opinion, it is the communal aspect of our Chapter and the emphasis on community at a local level that distinguishes the unique value of Chapters in the ACC. The Chapter is capable of bringing together seemingly competitive clinicians for like-minded discussions of science or local/national issues and then aligning our varying compasses to the magnetic due north. The Chapter creates open lines of communication across a comprehensive care team, with the shared goal of advocating for our patients, profession, colleagues, and self (probably in that order). Given all of the challenges facing us today, this community will be vital to protecting and preserving the health of our patients and profession.

In Alabama, we have forged a cardiovascular community through a foundation of aligned strengths. The most important Alabama Chapter success was the hiring of a passionate Executive Director, 25 years ago, who has been the heart of the chapter and served continuously in that role until this year. This Chapter Executive, Dee Mooty, was the foundation around which our community was built, as she nurtured – or effectively raised – all of the Chapter leaders since her hiring. We started an Annual Meeting under her direction and just celebrated our 25th continuous year earlier this month with the help of Dee and our new Chapter Executive, Christina Smith. We expanded to biannual meetings 12 years ago by adding a meeting aimed at engaging and empowering our care team, and these two meetings provide meaningful interaction that inspires our membership.

We have an advocacy champion in Alabama that is probably unequaled in his passion for the ACC and the ACC Political Action Committee. Carl Gessler Jr, MD, FACC, has a PhD in the national political engine and breeds political advocacy at our Chapter. Advocacy to our Chapter is not something that's happening far away to other people; it's prevalent in the here and now in our day-to-day routines. Coming together as a collective voice is a strength that we do not take lightly.

Our Chapter is not a community of one or a select few. We are a Chapter built on a community of voices with diverse roles. We have empowered our care team members with essentially a vice presidential role in the Chapter. We have an engaged Executive Council that brings geographic diversity and have added subspecialty representation that mirrors the ACC Sections. And last but certainly not least, we value continuous and cohesive communication. An open door of communication – to me, to our Executive Council, to our Executive Director – is a testament to the trust between the "elected" and the membership. We have monthly newsletters to keep us all informed, and regular email campaigns for branding identity and grassroots initiatives. As the times change for communication delivery, our goal is to change with it, with digital efforts such as our Chapter website and growing social media presence.

Most importantly, through our Chapter, we in Alabama are united in a community of cardiovascular care and capable of meeting new challenges together.