Importance of Connecting With Leaders at ACC’s Regional Meetings

January, 25 | Prasad Gunasekaran, MD
Chapter Engagement

ACC’s Annual Scientific Session and Expois a robust event with a strong presence from cardiologists and fellows worldwide. The large scale of the event is a limiting factor for FITs to have a close personal interaction with the leaders of the College. Some of ACC’s chapters have meetings on an annual basis, while large chapters may have multiple meetings through the course of the year. These regional and state chapter meetings provide FITs with the chance to personally interact with the national leadership of the ACC. FITs in Kansas have had the distinct honor of hosting three successive presidents of the ACC, Patrick T. O’Gara, MD , MACCKim A. Williams Sr., MD, MACC; and  Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC, to preside over the chapter’s annual cardiovascular symposium. The welcome dinner served as the perfect platform for FITs to interact in an informal manner with ACC leadership on pertinent topics:

What are the changes in practice patterns that we are to anticipate in the near future?

The field of cardiovascular diseases has diversified immensely over the last decade with the advent of multiple sub-specialties such as electrophysiology, interventional cardiology, advanced imaging and heart failure/transplant cardiology. Newer emerging sub-specialties such as adult congenital cardiology, structural heart disease interventions and cardio-oncology are exciting prospects. The ACC can provide us with a national perspective on the demands or lack thereof for subspecialists in each of these fields. FITs can often gather insight into practice patterns from this information and streamline their subspecialty training based on their interests, keeping in mind the demands of the community.

Does the ACC offer opportunities for FIT engagement?

The College is eager to have the engagement of FITs, who are the future leaders of our organization and of cardiovascular practice worldwide. Enthusiastic FITs are often willing to volunteer and contribute to the advancements in the objectives of the college. Leaders of the college provide a bird’s eye view of the different ACC sections and the functions of the major operating ACC committees. The ACC has created the opportunity for FITs to serve the College via section and council leadership positions and committee. FITs on these committees have the unique opportunity to represent other fellows on a national level, offer their input and enhance their leadership skills. Active engagement in state chapter activities, is an important avenue for FITs get involved with the College.

What are the administrative changes in the governance of the ACC?

Reduction in the size of the Board of Trustees to enable strategic and focused policy-making and implementation, enhancing accountability and promotion of diversity by engaging the state governing councils, FITs and international members are recent changes to the governance of the College. Sharing autonomy with the regional ACC member councils signals a welcome change which has been well embraced. 

What is the primary focus of the ACC?

The primary focus of the ACC is to advance its mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. The ACC strives to execute initiatives outlined in its strategic plan. Direct conversations with the leadership of the ACC provide a clear insight for FITs on changes to expect and adaptations to make as we transition from fellowship to clinical practice. The ACC has been instrumental in the dissemination of information about the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), a payment model that establishes a framework for rewarding clinicians for value over volume. Further, the ACC has reiterated to Capitol Hill that it is necessary to reduce the administrative burden of MACRA implementation, risk-adjustment of treatment modalities and the formulation of meaningful measures of physician performance for eligible clinicians.

Immense emphasis has been placed on maintaining national registries to provide stringent quality control on health care services. Rapid and widespread propagation of guidelines to clinicians in peripheral centers to prevent confinement of knowledge to the large academic centers is an important goal. Diversification and expansion of knowledge are of high priority. It is indeed encouraging that more and more submissions to the Journal of the American College of Cardiologyoriginate from outside the U.S. Moreover, the rapid expansion of ACC memberships from foreign countries is a testimonial of the efforts of the college to promote global diversification.

What are the advantages of attending regional and state chapter meetings?

By virtue of their presence, the national leadership of the ACC generates massive interest in regional meetings. FITs can have a face-to-face interaction with the leaders of the ACC and acquire information about the governance of the College and seek input regarding effective leadership. FITs can also learn about the changes affecting the field of cardiology, ways to get involved and mediate solutions to issues affecting contemporary practice. These meetings are substrates for networking opportunities, building professional and research collaborations, cross pollination of ideas and opportunities to participate in planning regional meetings. FITs are the future of the College and it is imperative that we learn best practices from the finest leaders!

This article was authored by Prasad Gunasekaran, MD, a Fellow in Training (FIT) at University of Kansas Medical Center.

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