ACC.16 Recap: 2016 Merck Research Award

May 18, 2016 | Philip S. Hall, MD

ACC's Annual Scientific Session (ACC.16) in Chicago was my first time attending ACC's annual meeting, and it was a great privilege to be there as a recipient of the ACC/Merck Fellowship Award. I arrived on Saturday and at the Merck reception that evening I got to meet Jainy Savla, MD, an FIT from UT Southwestern and Pritha P. Gupta, MD, an FIT from the University of California, Los Angeles, two of my co-awardees, as well as several previous recipients of the award, celebrating the 35th anniversary of the award.

My research mentor at UCSF, Nisha Parikh, MD, was also able to attend the reception, as was my program director, Michael H. Crawford, MD, FACC. The presence of a diverse selection of senior faculty members, junior faculty members, current and recent fellows, and researchers at Merck gave me the opportunity to discuss my research and get advice about potential further areas of investigation. Because each person had a unique background and different perspective, I was able to look at my research questions from a new angle, which was a wonderful opportunity.

I am interested in the relationship between women's reproductive health and cardiovascular disease, and with this research award, I am planning to work with Dr. Parikh to investigate the factors linking pregnancy loss and subsequent cardiovascular disease. During the year, I also hope to complete a formal certificate program in clinical research offered at UCSF.

After cardiology fellowship, I will be pursuing interventional cardiology training, and I hope to continue to develop a career in academic interventional cardiology. Meeting the previous ACC/Merck fellowship awardees and hearing about their experiences, I know that not only will I benefit from the research experience and education, but also the relationships and mentorship provided by the award will be invaluable in my career.

Over the ensuing days of the conference, I took advantage of the wide variety of sessions. Some of the highlights for me were the late-breaking clinical trials presentations, the live case discussions, and the moderated sessions regarding women's health, challenges in transcatheter mitral valve interventions, controversies in acute coronary syndromes, and coronary flow physiology. At the Convocation Ceremony on Monday night, I was honored to join my fellow ACC/Merck fellowship awardees and compare experiences. I hope to see them again at future meetings, along with the many others I got to meet at ACC.16!

Read more about the 2016 ACC/Merck Fellowship Award winners on the ACC in Touch Blog.

This article was authored by Philip S. Hall, MD, a fellow in training (FIT) at the University of California Hospital, San Francisco (UCSF) and recent Merck Research Award winner.