Keeping 'PACe' With Next Generation of Cardiologists

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A new program of the ACC's Political Action Committee (PAC) is intended to engage Fellows in Training (FIT) in ACC Advocacy efforts and help to shape the future of health care. Cardiology asked Aaron Kithcart, MD, FACC, a recent FIT and a member of the ACC PAC Executive Committee, about the new PACers Program.

What are the goals of the PACers Program?

The goals of the PACers Program are two-fold: 1) engage FITs in advocacy, and 2) improve the outreach of the ACC PAC. Advocacy is critically important to the future of cardiology, and FITs are literally the workforce of the future. At the same time, our PAC is only effective if we have all of cardiology behind us, and this definitely includes FITs.

What was the impetus behind developing the program?

FITs are significantly underrepresented in the PAC, and across advocacy in general. This is despite growing interest in advocacy by FITs. We thought the PACers Program would be an easy way to harness this interest and build a grassroots advocacy base at local institutions.

What are some of the short-term activities taking place?

We're currently actively recruiting PACers Program participants. Our goal is to have a "PACer" at every fellowship training center across the country. We kicked off with a webinar earlier this spring, followed by recruitment letters to each program director.

We'll recognize the training centers with the most PACers at the 2019 Legislative Conference in November, as well as hosting a special meet-and-greet. In-person meetings will also be planned for ACC.20 Together With the World Congress of Cardiology in Chicago.

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What's the long-term vision?

Long-term, we'd like to build a culture of advocacy in cardiology. While this program is currently targeting FITs, this could easily be expanded to other membership groups like the CV Team, as well as ACC State Chapters, down the road.

What are some of your own biggest takeaways from being involved in ACC Advocacy and the ACC PAC?

Advocacy is as essential to the career of a cardiologist as reading an ECG. While the College has an established track record of setting national guidelines for cardiovascular care, those guidelines cannot make it to our patients without favorable laws and regulations enacted in DC. The PAC is critical in giving cardiology a voice so that we can provide the best care possible for our patients.

Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine, Humans, Fellowships and Scholarships, Goals, Personnel Selection, Forecasting, Electrocardiography

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