ACC/AHA Greater Boston Fellows' Society Hosts Successful Career Night

January 17, 2017 | Morgan S. Kellogg, MD & Saket R. Sanghai, MD
Career Development

On the evening of Oct. 11, 2017, over 75 cardiology fellows from 11 programs in the greater Boston area gathered at the Hilton Hotel in Boston's Back Bay to discuss tips and tricks for crafting a successful career after fellowship.

The night began with a networking dinner and followed with a keynote panel address, moderated by Ami B. Bhatt, MD, FACC.

During the panel presentation, James Breed, MPA, administrative director at Massachusetts General Hospital, shared candid stories from his career as a practice administrator hiring cardiologists. He underscored the importance for each fellow to critically evaluate what is most important for them in a job, and ensure that a potential employer shares their vision and offers the desired opportunities. Breed also highlighted a number of important considerations for fellows when evaluating a job, from job description, extra duties, protected research, administrative time and details of the contract. He explained that data on median salary can be obtained from colleagues, mentors or public sources, especially for large, non-for-profit or state hospitals. For instance, in our area the median annual income for a non-invasive cardiologist in private practice surpassed that of one in an academic faculty position by over $150,000. While salary may be less negotiable in most junior academic jobs, other basics such as dedicated academic time, dedicated research, clinical support staff, vacation time or route to partnership, are usually flexible.

Following Breed, Kerri Hall from Medicus Healthcare Solutions, explored the pros and cons of a hospital-employed position, private practice position, academic position and locum tenens appointments from the perspective of a physician recruiter experienced in placing newly-minted physicians into jobs. She also explored the additional services that using a reputable staffing firm can provide, and debunked several myths around employing staffing firms. For example, Hall explained that firms are not typically paid by the physician or taken from the package offered to the incoming physician, but instead hospitals may fund these fees from a separate hospital's recruiting budget.

Marvin A. Konstam, MD, FACC, chief physician executive for the CardioVascular Center at Tufts Medical Center, concluded the keynote session by providing insight into the future of the cardiology profession, reminding applicants that ventricular assist devices and transplant activities are projected to increase over 100 percent in the next 10 years, while the number of bypass surgeries is projected to decrease over the same time period. He presented his perspective as a head of a division interviewing trainees, emphasizing that the best interviewees are fellows who have a plan or idea of what they want their job to be, and are looking for a position that has a good fit.

After the keynote panel, fellows participated in small group sessions with experts from many facets of cardiology, allowing for intimate discussions on careers in cardiovascular imaging, invasive cardiology, heart failure, critical care, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and other innovations. There was also a small group session that allowed time to discuss contract negotiations with several chiefs present.

All told, the fellows left armed with tangible advice to embark on the upcoming job search. The forum provided an opportunity for frank discussion about the opportunities available to graduating fellows, and allowed access to leaders throughout different domains of cardiology. On behalf of the ACC/American Heart Association (AHA) Greater Boston Fellows' Society, we would like to extend our appreciation to all who volunteered to make this night a great success – from the fellows who created the program, to the 30 faculty who attended. Without the close collaboration between the ACC and AHA, and our wonderful administrators Sue Flor of the AHA and Lorraine O'Grady of the ACC, the night would not have been possible.

This article was authored by Morgan S. Kellogg, MD, Fellow in Training (FIT) at Maine Medical Center, and Saket R. Sanghai, MD, FIT at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.