ACC.16 Recap: 2016 Young Investigator Award

May 18, 2016 | Saurav Chatterjee, MD

Participating in the Young Investigator Awards (YIA) competition at the 65th Annual Scientific Sessions (ACC.16) was an enormous opportunity – previous contestants include some of the luminaries in academic cardiology. So it was indeed with trepidation that I submitted an abstract for the competition. As a prior finalist in 2012 (as an internal medicine resident), I knew that to be selected as a finalist entailed a favorable constellation of hard work, meticulous science and serendipity. Hence I was quite overwhelmed when in early October, I received an email saying that my abstract had been short-listed for the competition in the category of 'clinical investigations, congenital heart disease, and cardiovascular surgery' – one of five finalists.

It is a great opportunity in and of itself to be selected as a finalist. However, additional aspects enhance the experience, like greater interest and enthusiasm among peers in general with one's research, personal notes of encouragement from institutional senior faculty, not to mention the fringe benefit of being hosted by the ACC for travel and stay during the conference. Next came the phase of preparation where I had significant help from the FIT Section Page on, specifically the slides and videos on effective presentation.

It was a humbling experience to be identified as a YIA finalist during the conference on several instances – I realized that many people had availed of the ACC. 16 App where the competition was featured as a 'special session', and thus had garnered some attention. Soon it was Sunday night, time to check on the availability of the uploaded presentation slides from the speakers' resource center, as well as find out the specific time and room designated for the competition from the App.

After a relatively sleepless night, I arrived at the designated room for the competition. After friendly introductions and greetings with the judges and other finalists, the competition got underway with our presentations. In spite of the relatively early hour, the session was quite well attended. All the finalists were invited for the Convocation Ceremony later Monday evening. We were dressed with gowns, and had pictures taken before the actual ceremony got underway. The Convocation booklets handed to us also bore the names of the YIA finalists.

Being seated on the dais with luminaries in cardiology, including the present and future presidents of the ACC, as well as presidents of many of the national and international cardiovascular societies, was an overwhelming experience indeed. It was a pleasure to attend ACC.16 and present my research as part of the YIA competition. Looking forward to ACC.17 in Washington, DC!

This article was authored by Saurav Chatterjee, MD, a fellow in training (FIT) at Mount Sinai-Saint Luke's and Mount Sinai-West Hospitals in New York, New York.