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Feature | ACC Chapters: Cultivating Community, Delivering Actionable Knowledge, Transforming Care, Sustaining a Legacy

ACC Chapters: Cultivating Community, Delivering Actionable Knowledge, Transforming Care, Sustaining a Legacy

ACC's State Chapters play a pivotal role in fulfilling the College's Mission to transform cardiovascular (CV) care and improve heart health for all. Their on-the-ground efforts to foster community, develop new leaders, ensure equitable access to cardiovascular care, share the latest science and best practices, and advocate for health policies that protect clinicians and patients, are critical to the ACC's ability to deliver on its Strategic Pillars and major initiatives.

This year's State of the States Report provides a snapshot of these efforts, and underscores the substantial contributions that Chapters continue to make in increasing the relevance of the ACC as the CV professional home; generating and delivering actionable knowledge; advancing quality, equity and value of CV care; and ensuring organizational growth and sustainability.

Cultivating Community

Cultivating Community

Cultivating Community

When it comes to cultivating community, ACC Chapters have developed the recipe for success. For many cardiovascular clinicians, their local ACC Chapter is an integral component of what makes the College their professional home, providing a gateway to leadership and networking opportunities, localized learning and so much more.

Examples of this in action occurred throughout 2023. The Wisconsin Chapter hosted the 6th Annual Midwest Women in Cardiology (WIC) Program, while the California and Nevada Chapters hosted their first-ever Virtual Women in Cardiology (WIC) Collaboration that featured important discussions on legal and ethical issues specific to women cardiologists and trainees.

WIC was also a focus for the Virginia Chapter, which brought together mid-career women, internal medicine residents and medical students from across the Mid-Atlantic for a unique two-day event focused on providing an inside look at what it takes to be a woman in cardiology today.

Additionally, the Illinois Chapter hosted its inaugural WIC Dinner that focused on topics like career pathways, mentoring and professional development.

The CV Team, Fellows in Training (FIT) and Early Career communities also continue to be a focus for Chapters. Specialized programming at Chapter meetings is one important way Chapters are connecting with these important member groups.

Several Chapters, including Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico and West Virginia highlight the success of poster competitions, FIT Jeopardy and research grants or showcases in encouraging FIT and Early Career engagement.

Outside of annual meetings, the Ohio Chapter debuted a successful FIT Grand Rounds series developed and led by its FIT Council that focused on addressing enduring disparities in cardiovascular care, while in New York the Chapter expanded its successful Shark Tank/Young Investigators event to include a Critical Care Trivia Night.

In Texas and Tennessee, Chapters provided grants for FITs and/or Early Career members to take part in the MedAxiom and Wharton CV Business Essentials course. Additionally, the Puerto Rico Chapter elected new CV Team leaders in 2023, while the Idaho Chapter appointed its first CV Team Representative – in both cases paving the way for more focused CV Team activities heading into the future.

Community building, like cardiovascular disease, isn't limited by borders and several Chapters established global partnerships in 2023.

The Pennsylvania Chapter invited the Italian Federation of Cardiology to send five Early Career cardiologists from Italy for a week-long preceptorship that included visits to four different institutions and the MidAtlantic ACC meeting.

The Maryland Chapter entered into a collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kardiologie (DGK), with the goal of learning more about the clinical and regulatory landscapes within each country, advances in medical education, clinical trials training and health equity.

Delivering Actionable Knowledge

Delivering Actionable Knowledge

Delivering Actionable Knowledge

It goes without saying that every Chapter's annual meeting is an important vehicle for delivering the latest evidence-based actionable knowledge. In 2023, a majority of Chapters resumed regular in-person Annual Meetings, in some cases collaborating with other Chapters to host a larger regional meeting (e.g., Rockies, Northern New England).

These meetings provided opportunities to showcase the latest industry innovations, hear from ACC leaders and leading experts on the latest research and trends, and more. Some smaller Chapters, many of which are still emerging from the COVID pandemic, used the last year for planning. In exciting news, look for the Hawaii Chapter to host its first-ever Annual Meeting in 2024.

Chapters also debuted several other innovative educational programs in the last year. The New Jersey Chapter's "Seminar in the City" half-day workshop brought members together for discussions on hot topics like the top 10 environmental challenges faced by physicians, business aspects of cardiovascular medicine, and the joint society effort to create a new, independent Board of Cardiovascular Medicine.

In Illinois, the Chapter kicked off the "Chicago Citywide Imaging Consortium," bringing together representatives spanning the broad spectrum of cardiology, including FITs, cardiovascular surgeons and interventional cardiologists, from many of the hospitals/health systems in the Chicago area.

In Ohio, the Chapter's "CardiOhio" podcast continues to gain popularity, providing practical and actionable clinical advice to practitioners in a contemporary and accessible format. Each episode addresses a practical topic in clinical cardiology, such as recently released ACC practice guidelines, and features interviews with specialists from across the state's institutions.

Also of note, the Montana Chapter partnered with the State Department of Health and Human Services on its Annual Conference, in a unique model that allows for education on important cardiovascular topics in the state while also holding tremendous promise for growing physician and CV Team involvement with the Chapter.

Transforming Care

Transforming Care

Transforming Care

Advancing quality, equity and value of CV care is another key Strategic Pillar of the College and an area where Chapters excel, whether partnering to support targeted programs to improve heart health in their communities, or advocating for health policies that protect patient access to care.

On the programmatic side, the Alabama Chapter used a 2023 Chapter Grant to launch "ANNO: Engaging Senior and Practicing ACC Members in Partnership to Resolve a Regional Disparity in Cardiovascular Health and Longevity in the State of Alabama." This grant, in collaboration with the ACC's Senior Physician Member Section, focuses on making inroads with ethnically diverse church congregations and providing important health related education for members.

In another program, the Alaska Chapter partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Alaska to educate children on the importance of hands-only CPR and AED awareness. The young participants were taught how to recognize an emergency, ensure safety and call for help, and start hands-only CPR on their favorite stuffed animal. Older children were able to see a demonstration of an AED in use.

In North Carolina, the Chapter provided a grant to support a program out of Duke University designed to "Reduce Disparities in the Screening for Peripheral Artery Disease among Black patients (PRAISE-PAD)" throughout North Carolina.

Meanwhile, the Louisiana Chapter was able to provide financial and volunteer support to Luke's House, which provides long-term health care solutions to the people of greater New Orleans.

On the advocacy front, the Florida Chapter launched a state-level advocacy program to educate lawmakers about the importance of physician-led, team-based pharmacy care and the potential negative impacts on patient care if retail pharmacists were allowed to oversee direct patient care, including ordering tests and changing medications.

In Mississippi, the Chapter made it to the ACC HeartPAC's March Mayhem Final Four, earning an FIT travel award to the College's Annual Legislative Conference – growing the voice of cardiology in the state.

The South Carolina Chapter held its first-ever State Legislative Day in February that focused on hot-button issues like Certificate of Need (CON) repeal and administrative burden concerns, particularly those caused by prior authorization. Policies mandating AED Use, CPR training and Action Plans were also a focus of many state Chapter advocacy efforts, often in partnership with the NFL-led Smart Heart Sports Coalition, which the ACC became a part of in 2023.

Ensuring Organizational Growth and Stability

Ensuring Organizational Growth and Stability

Ensuring Organizational Growth and Stability

Growth and organizational sustainability of ACC Chapters contribute to the growth and sustainability of the broader ACC. With the ACC launching its next five-year Strategic Plan in 2024, many Chapters, including Georgia and Kentucky, used 2023 as a time for their own strategic planning, with the goal of aligning not only with the ACC's new major initiatives, but also determining where they can have the greatest impact on members in their respective states.

For other Chapters, continued expansion of membership, evolutions of Annual Meetings and innovative partnerships with industry and other local stakeholders remain fundamental to their continued growth and long-term sustainability.

Based on the results outlined in this year's State of the States Report, these efforts are proving fruitful and continue to position ACC Chapters as important catalysts for innovation, advocacy, community and leadership building, and best practices in care delivery.

Keywords: Cardiology Magazine, ACC Publications, Health Equity, Leadership, Internal Medicine, Mentoring, Health Policy

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