JACC Review Calls For Formalized Pathways in Vascular Medicine Training

A review paper published May 23 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology calls for a concerted effort to overcome obstacles faced by vascular medicine specialists in order to expand the field, ease the burden of vascular disease and optimize patient outcomes.

According to Robert T. Eberhardt, MD, FACC, member of ACC's Vascular Disease Section Leadership Council, et al., vascular diseases – such as peripheral artery disease, stroke, aortic disorders and venous thromboembolism – are growing as contributors to cardiovascular disease mortality and morbidity. Increasing complexity in the evaluation and treatment of these conditions has led to a greater need for vascular medicine specialists, they write, but the field has remained "under-supported with too few providers."

In their review, the researchers highlight the role of vascular medicine specialists in addressing the increasing burden of vascular disease, unmet needs in the care of vascular patients, current pathways in vascular medicine training and obstacles to expanding the specialist base needed to care for a growing patient base with vascular disease.

Among their findings is the lack of formal recognition by key oversight groups such as the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), which limits standardization across the field and restricts funding mechanisms.

They conclude that a multi-societal approach to promoting vascular medicine training, peer education, policy and advocacy, as well as research funding, will have the greatest likelihood of success. Additionally, they call on ACGME and ABIM to recognize vascular medicine as a specialty to provide oversight on accreditation and certification to ensure training and expertise are standardized.

"Ultimately, overcoming these obstacles to formal training will be needed to ensure future vascular medicine expertise for patients where and when they need it," Eberhardt writes. "Certainly, the time is now to plan for the vascular health of our population."

Clinical Topics: Vascular Medicine

Keywords: Leadership, Education, Medical, Graduate, Accreditation, Certification, Aneurysm

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