Update From Work Groups of the Early Career Section Leadership Council


Academic Work Group
The academic work group aims to promote and nurture successful development of early career academic cardiologists in the current difficult environment. We have been informing the cardiovascular medicine community about challenges that early career academic cardiologists face and developing possible solutions. We believe that a continuous flow of vibrant early career academic cardiologists successfully transitioning into their academic roles is critical for continued advancement of cardiovascular medicine.

In this past six months, we have completed the following:

Our ongoing projects include:

  • Launch of 2016 early career academic cardiologists survey
  • Follow-up analyses and publication of the survey results
  • Develop "The Emerging Role of the Cardiovascular Clinician Educator" manuscript which will include a future ACC-wide survey
  • Continue to engage JACC: Basic to Translational Science journal editors to incorporate early career involvement
  • Continue to engage NIH/NHLBI and other ACC Member Sections in developing funding support for early career academic cardiologists.

We value new ideas and initiatives. We need your help to ensure successful development of early career academic cardiologists.

Carl Tong, MD, PhD, FACC, chair of the Academic Work Group


Advocacy Work Group
The Early Career Advocacy Work Group has been busy in the past few months. Much of the work that we have done has been in preparation for the 2015 ACC Legislative Conference. We had terrific representation of young eager Early Career cardiologists that were able to attend the Legislative Conference, where attendees learned about the current ACC legislative priorities and worked with lawmakers from their states on those priorities. Early Careers also had the opportunity to meet and learn directly from such 'giants' as M. Eugene Sherman, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC Advocacy Steering Committee, and Rebecca Kelly, division vice president of Advocacy for the ACC. Early Career attendance at the conference was bolstered by a number of ACC travel grants for our membership as well as participants from the new ACC Emerging Advocates Program.

In addition to planning for the 2015 ACC Legislative Conference, the Advocacy Work Group has met several times this year to identify and address gaps in advocacy areas of importance to Early Career Members. We aim to educate Early Careers about how to impact the political process and Congress regarding our advocacy goals. We are vocal in discussing advocacy issues of importance to members, such as 2016 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule or updates from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and share our opinions in the Early Career newsletter, as well as the ACC Advocate newsletter. We welcome new participants on the committee as we plan for activities during the upcoming year that will help us accomplish these goals.

Jeffrey Anderson, MD, FACC, and Dmitriy N. Feldman, MD, FACC, co-chairs of the Advocacy Work Group


Engagement and Communications Work Group
As a subgroup of the Engagement and Communications Work Group, the Marketing Team of the Early Career Section provides support and outreach for the section via electronic media. Our subgroup works with the ACC to promote awareness of resources and to make them easy to find for Early Career Section members. Furthermore, if the ACC needs assistance with website revisions or other projects, we provide that assistance.

The Marketing Subgroup also monitors the Early Career Facebook group, which is restricted to Early Career members. It is meant to be a safe place to ask questions and discuss clinical cases. It is also a great place to network and find others interested in your area of expertise or research. To join our discussion, search for "ACC Early Career Cardiologists" in Facebook and request permission to join.

Steve Simpson, MD, chair of the Engagement and Communications Work Group


International Work Group
The ACC Early Career International Working Group is entering a challenging and exciting time. The main focus of the group is to activate the international exchange database allowing early career cardiologists to sharpen and enhance their skill sets. It also lends them the opportunity to explore new systems of practice and expand their professional network. Other activities under development include writing a white paper on current global practice patterns and examining/comparing international guidelines and standards of practice. In addition to the above, a primary goal of the group this year is to reach out to other early career cardiologists and increase the number of participants in the group. Our aim is to continuously adopt new ideas with a resonating impact.

Mirvat Alasnag, MD, chair of the International Work Group


Mentoring Work Group
Our mentorship work group continues to get stronger and grow. Our hope is to continue to link mentees (Fellows in Training [FITs] and Early Career Professionals) and to connect them with more established and mature cardiologists within the ACC, in order to build long lasting mutually beneficial relationships. There are many avenues for potential mentoring relationship, such as help with acquiring a job, research projects, career advancement and acquiring grants, mentoring women in cardiology, navigating the field as an early career, etc. Our platform is catering to all the diverse needs of the FITs and Early Careers, and relying heavily on the input of the mentors who are established and willing to devote their personal time for the betterment of the younger cardiology population.

We would also like this mentorship platform to be used by other members of the ACC, including all members of the cardiovascular care team. The ACC.org/Mentoring website continues to link mentees with potential mentors nationwide. To our knowledge there is no such dynamic mentorship program nationwide. We hope to be able to make a greater impact in the future and are working on some strategies to be able to capture more mentors within the system. One of the ways to do that is to have everyone from the Board of Governors (BOG) sign up for this fantastic initiative. Robert A. Shor, MD, FACC, chair of the BOG, has already recruited the BOG as mentors within their respective ACC state chapters. Our hope is to have another "meet and greet" session with potential mentors at ACC.16 in Chicago, IL.

Garima Sharma, MBBS, FACC, chair of the Mentoring Work Group


Newsletter Work Group
One of the biggest changes recently has been the creation of the Early Career e-Newsletter, ACC On-Call ! The new e-newsletter is designed with Early Careers in mind, featuring topics that are most relevant to early career physicians, such as opinion pieces from our peers, updates on urgent advocacy issues (e.g., legislation updates, repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate), tips on how to succeed in the field of your interest, links with news from social media, resources from financial experts about loans, mortgages, life insurance, and more. The newsletter provides insights for Early Careers in different fields, clinical and basic science research, those who take care of patients on daily basis, or those who educate. Our goal is for Early Careers to use the newsletter as a vehicle for accessing online content within the ACC and a communication tool with your peers. If you have ideas about topics you would like to see in the newsletter or would like to contribute an article, please contact us or our ACC staff liaison, Amalea Hijar (ahijar@acc.org).

Eugene Soh, MD, FACC, and Dmitriy N. Feldman, MD, FACC, co-chairs of the Newsletter Work Group


Outreach Work Group
This work group is tasked with understanding the levels of Early Career engagement locally and nationally, and identifying areas of opportunity. Since the conclusion of ACC.15, we have been working with chapter governors and executives to better understand what activities and leadership opportunities exist for our member group, and lobbied for broader based engagement of Early Careers in states where the defined roles had yet to exist.

A common theme has emerged from these efforts. Governors are uniformly eager to involve us, yet have questions on how to reach Early Careers and what specific leadership and mobilization skills they have. Most often, governors also want to know what Early Careers are looking for from their state chapter and the ACC in general. Within these conversations lie incredible opportunities. While some are transactional (like identifying Early Careers amidst changing geography and practice settings), others are visionary. We will continue to progress with facile communication, the replication of effective programs and the establishment of meaningful priorities. The Early Career Leadership Council, and the Outreach Work Group in particular, welcomes your thoughts and shared experiences as we help shape the ACC.

Scott M. Lilly, MD, PhD, FACC, chair of the Outreach Work Group


Research Support Work Group
The Research Support Working Group of the Early Career Council has previously focused its efforts on developing and supporting a research-funding database available to ACC members. As this project has matured, the Research Support Working Group has shifted its energies to other endeavors related to the academic and research needs of early career cardiologists. For example, we have been collaborating with the National Cardiovascular Data Registries to inform Early Career members of existing research resources already available within the College. Other work has included formalizing an assessment of the research needs of the Early Career constituency via a joint survey with the Academic Council.

Moving forward, this working group is seeking members with novel ideas to augment the research activities of early career physicians. We are also looking for members to operationalize findings from our needs assessment survey when it becomes available. Members with ideas or interest should contact our ACC staff liaison, Amalea Hijar (ahijar@acc.org).

Michael W. Cullen, MD, chair of the Research Support Work Group

This article was authored by the chairs and co-chairs of the work groups within the Early Career Section Leadership Council.