Responding to FIT Needs: Developing ACC’s SHD Fellowship Program Database
April 19, 2017 | Bharath Rajagopalan, MD
The field of structural heart disease (SHD) interventions has grown significantly over the last decade. With the recent advances in the field of adult and pediatric SHD, there has been an increase in demand for cardiologists who are trained and proficient in performing these procedures. Many academic institutions around the country started fellowship programs to train cardiologists in SHD interventions. Previously, no resources or databases listing the current available options existed for FITs interested in these programs.
ACC's FIT Section Leadership Council created a work group for developing a database listing the current programs in adult and pediatric SHD in March 2015. The work group comprised of two members of the Leadership Council and two FIT volunteer members. We created two surveys: one for adult SHD interventional programs, which was sent to all adult interventional cardiology fellowship programs; and another for pediatric SHD interventional programs, which was sent to all pediatric cardiology programs.
The surveys were initially sent in April 2015, followed by reminder emails at two weeks and again at four weeks. Follow-up emails were also sent to program coordinators and individual program directors to increase survey response rate. After these follow-up emails, we had a survey response rate of 69 percent among adult interventional cardiology programs and 49 percent in pediatric cardiology programs. We identified a total of 36 adult SHD interventional programs and nine pediatric SHD interventional programs, including one program specifically for adult congenital heart disease interventions. The results were published in JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions and the database was setup on the ACC website. To our knowledge, this is the first such database available for aspirants in this growing field.
We have updated the SHD database this year to include any new programs that have started since 2015. We will continue to update the list on a regular basis. As an FIT, if you notice that your home institution's SHD program is not listed in our database, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can include your program.
ACC's Structural Heart Disease Interventional Fellowship Programs database is an example of how the FIT Section Leadership Council assessed the needs of FIT members and addressed them. We are always interested in learning about additional needs that FIT members might have. With the help of FIT volunteers, the Leadership Council has many such ongoing projects. If you are interested in being a part of section initiatives, please contact Kristin West, email@example.com.
This article was authored by Bharath Rajagopalan, MD, a Fellow in Training (FIT) at the University of Buffalo in New York, and a member of ACC's FIT Section Leadership Council.