Focus on ACC’s NY Chapter: Interview With Shubhika Srivastava, MBBS, FACC, and Antonio Gabriel Cabrera, MD, FACC

May 18, 2016 | Edon Rabinowitz, MD
Chapter Engagement

As a fellow constantly on the move in my home institution, it's easy to forget that the ACC has a community of cardiologists ready to support and provide FITs with guidance, so I sat down with Shubhika Srivastava, MBBS, FACC, and Antonio Gabriel Cabrera, MD, FACC, at ACC's 65th Annual Scientific Sessions (ACC.16) in Chicago, IL. Dr Cabrera moderated a small group discussion on "Getting the Most Out of the Mentor/Mentee Relationship." Dr. Srivastava addressed trainees and junior faculty with a presentation entitled "Career Pathways: What You Need to Know About Academic and Clinical Career Paths Starting in Fellowship," and then moderated a small group discussion regarding work-life integration. She had plenty of advice and guidance to provide fellows in training, and approached it with a New York City fervor.

How has the ACC shaped and furthered your career?

SS: The ACC has provided me with opportunities to speak and interact with physicians and leaders across the country. It opens the opportunity to find mentorship outside your home institution, and outside your fellowship. It has provided me with multiple affiliations and recognitions which have led to promotions and advances in my personal career path. The ACC is here to help you!

Can you expand on mentorship opportunities outside your home institution?

SS: You are not confined to your own institution. One may have interests in subspecialty areas not represented at their institutions and by going to and participating in regional meetings, there is increased exposure to what is happening in all areas of cardiology. There are regional meetings, there are national meetings, and there is a need for fellows to start spreading their wings very early. Additionally, ACC's FIT Section promotes leadership and networking for fellows which gives them a wide exposure.

AGC: That's true! If you are unhappy with resources, figure out how to change them. Come up with a solution. Approach your program director, approach your mentors, look inside or outside your program, but do so with a solution in hand.

SS: It is important to self-promote! Get involved with the ACC. Get involved with ACC's Member Sections and Councils. Grab opportunities when you see them. There is no harm in asking: how can I get involved, how can I help, approaching ACC members outside your institution and ask them about their careers and experiences.

What made you get involved in fellow training and education?

Dr. Srivastava explained that learning from her experiences and past mistakes, is one of the main reasons. She was always interested in teaching and education but also felt that there was a need to improve on how "things are done".

AGC: It is now a reason why I want to make change, to make a difference in fellow education and training. Some of my mentors and role models have been physicians who I met at meetings and then reached out to for advice. I was given the opportunity to be associated with the Society of Pediatric Cardiology Training Program Directors (SPCTPD), which allowed me to network and find training directors who were also trying to figure out how to improve and provide resources for fellows. It was through the ACC that we involved FITs to create a forum for fellow resources and development within SPCTPD. SPCTPD is supported by ACC's Adult and Congenital Pediatric Cardiology Member Section and has helped us publish revised training guidelines and a work force assessment in pediatric cardiology.

Work-life balance is an issue that most fellows struggle with, what do you suggest?

SS: I now have a better understanding of work-life balance. It is a process that is learned – a lesson that took three to four years into my attending career to better appreciate and come to terms with. The word 'balance' in itself is an inappropriate term. It is not a balance because your work is not a separate entity. It is not separate from your life and does not need to be isolated. It is part of your life. It is an integration of your life and your work as opposed to a balance. They are one with each other. At times my work needs to come home with me, at times my children need to come to the office.

AGC: Fluidity. It is all one. Our work is part of our lives, and needs to be seen in such a way in order to be successful. This is the path we chose, it cannot be made into an arbitrary dichotomy. Saturday morning at home, if you need two hours to complete work from the office, you should consider it.

Looking back now, is there anything you wish you would have done differently during your fellowship?

SS: I wish I would have taken advantage of more opportunities to work with the ACC earlier.

Any last words of advice?

SS: No one will come and give you handouts, you need to self-promote! You need to grab opportunities when you see them! Once you demonstrate your capability your mentors will endorse and help promote you. Always remember to pay it forward.

This article was authored by Edon Rabinowitz, MD, a pediatric cardiology fellow in training (FIT) at Hofstra North Shore LIJ Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York and an FIT member of ACC's New York Chapter.

Dr. Srivastava is a pediatric cardiologist at the Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital in New York City. She completed her training in pediatrics at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey, and her pediatric cardiology training at Mount Sinai Hospital. She is currently working as a professor in pediatrics and director of congenital, pediatric and fetal echocardiography, as well as the pediatric cardiology fellowship program director. She is the former president of the SPCTPD, and a former president of the New York Pediatric Echocardiography Society. She is the co-chair of the SPCTPD/ACC/American Heart Association/American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) non-invasive imaging training guidelines committee. She is working with SPCTPD members on modifying and standardizing evaluation methods in fellowship training and working with the American Board of Pediatrics in developing curricula components for specialty specific Entrustable Professional Activities (EPA).

Dr. Cabrera is a pediatric cardiac critical care and heart failure/ transplantation attending as well as an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Texas Children's Hospital. He completed his training in pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, his training in pediatric cardiology at the Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, OH, and his cardiac critical care fellowship at the University of Arkansas for medical sciences. When he is not teaching fellows and running simulations in the cardiac intensive care unit, he runs a cardiomyopathy clinic. He is the pediatric cardiology fellowship program director and vice president of the SPCTPD, using his position to guide fellows nationally. He is also an editor of the subspecialty board review, PREP Cardiology, for the AAP.