Fellows Met the Masters at TCT 2016

November 16, 2016 | Deepika Narasimha, MD
& Poonam Velagapudi, MD
Career Development

The recent TCT 2016 meeting was well attended by many notable ACC members. Roxana Mehran, MD, FACC, chair of ACC's Interventional Cardiology Section, co-director of TCT 2016, and co-author of the Platinum Diversity study presented at this meeting, hosted an exciting program titled 'Fellow Conversations with the Masters' for FITs. This was an innovative session with a well renowned faculty panel that included Robert Harrington, MD, MACC; Alice Jacobs, MD, FACC; George Dangas, MD, FACC; Jeffrey Moses, MD, FACC; Spencer B. King III, MD, MACC, editor-in-chief of JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions; Antonio Colombo, MD, FACC; Ron Waksman, MD, FACC; Bernard Gersch, MD; and Kenneth Rosenfield, MD, FACC. This session was special not only for the wonderful advice received from faculty, but also because it was conversational in nature and FITs could interact and ask questions of faculty members in a very collegial environment.

Fellow Conversations with the Masters

Dr. Mehran kicked off this event by introducing faculty and then went on to describe her career and work as director of Interventional Cardiovascular Research and Clinical Trials at the Zena and Michael A. Weiner Cardiovascular Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Multiple issues pertinent to the training years were discussed:

Mentorship, the Ultimate Boon
The importance of 'mentors' in every young cardiologist's life was stressed by the panel. The panel described the importance of mentorship in their own careers and the opportunities they were exposed to as a result of having excellent mentors who looked out for them. These mentors can help guide you in terms of picking the right job, research ideas and conceptualization, and help guide you to achieve that ever elusive work-life balance. A person can have one mentor who helps them in every aspect of their career or several different mentors who can help them with different facets of their career and life.

Hardwork, There Can be no Substitute
The other advice everyone on the panel unanimously agreed on was the importance of hard work, and dedication on part of the mentee. The oft repeated phrase was 'get the work done'. They reflected on how now that they are in the 'mentor's shoes, they look forward to working with young, enthusiastic, motivated mentees who are focused and dedicated. A mentee's enthusiasm can motivate a mentor to provide better support and opportunities.

Research and Academics, Jobs Still Exist
Subsequently, the topic of conversation moved to academics and a career in research. Dr. Harrington alluded to the fantastic course held in DC every year, called 'How to become a Cardiovascular Investigator,' where multiple renowned research faculty members meet with young fellows and discuss how to build a successful career in research. After this, we had a robust discussion on the current job market, especially in academia, and all the panel members were in agreement that while your first job might not necessarily be the best job or the best fit for you, it is important to try to expand your skill set and adapt to the situation until you find what you are looking for. They also stressed the importance of taking in to consideration the ongoing changes within the American health care system including the impact the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) will have on the job market, particularly private practice.

Advanced Training Always Helps
Faculty also highly encouraged those interested in pursuing any further education in the forms of structural/peripheral training to acquire as much training as they could and not be in a hurry to find a job. There is no period in your life like fellowship training where you have mentors to guide you, where you can constantly learn without being bothered by legal/reimbursement issues, where you can make mistakes and learn from them. The panel also discussed the direction in which research is moving with increasing emphasis on global/population health, data sharing and prevention.

We are hopeful that this program will turn into a regular feature at national meetings. We are excited about ACC's Annual Scientific Session and Expo (ACC.17), which will feature many FIT events, including the popular 'Mix and Mingle' session where FITs can interact with cardiology faculty members from various parts of the country. There will be an FIT Lounge again this year where we plan to host multiple FIT related events. One wonderful event to look forward to is the 'Meet and Greet With ACC Leadership' where FITs can meet, interact and learn from current ACC leadership. We hope many of you attending ACC.17 will be able to attend these interactive sessions.

This article was authored by Deepika Narasimha, MD, a cardiology Fellow in Training (FIT) at Loma Linda University, and Poonam Velagapudi, MD, an interventional cardiology FIT at Brown University and a member of the FIT Section Leadership Council.

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