Dominican Republic’s ACC FIT Team Journey

Welcome back to our series on ACC chapter engagement for Fellows in Training (FIT). This series, which will consist of interviews with select state chapters to glean experience and tips, is meant to encourage FITs to get involved in their state's chapter by highlighting the personal and professional benefits of doing so.

The Dominican Republic (DR) is located on the island La Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. It is the second-largest nation in the Antilles with 10.8 million residents. The DR has approximately 600 cardiologists, 82 FITs and 10 cardiology programs.

In its nascent existence, the DR Chapter has provided educational and informational resources to FITs across the nation, providing rich opportunities for education and mentorship. The DR Chapter recently won the International FIT Jeopardy Competition held during the ACC's 71st Annual Scientific Session.

I recently chatted with the DR Chapter's FIT catalyst, Pamela Piña Santana, MD, (PGY 5 CEDIMAT [Centro de Diagnóstico, Medicina Avanzada y Telemedicina] Santo Domingo), to discuss the chapter and its history.

Being a relatively young chapter and FIT team, you have accomplished quite a bit. Tell us about your chapter and its history.

The DR Chapter was founded in 2014 by two Dominican Society of Cardiology past presidents, Carmen Encarnacion, MD, FACC, and Petronila Martinez Peguero, MD, FACC. To date, our chapter has a total of 44 members and is still growing. The chapter has been working on improving cardiovascular education, quality of care and integration of FITs into ACC's activities.

What are the chapter's recent activities, contributions and functions you would like to highlight?

In 2018, one of the chapter's main goals was to ensure that every cardiology fellow became an active member of the College, and that effort has continued since then. In 2019, one of our fellowship programs (CEDIMAT) started as the first Latin American nation to take the ACC In-Training exam. So far, FITs have taken up the challenge and succeeded. And in the last two years, the DRR Chapter has hosted several major activities, including a competition where a specific topic was presented and speaker abilities were evaluated, and another where an FIT from each program had to present a challenging case and receive direct feedback from peers. We also hosted an event, "How to be an ACC influencer," to motivate chapter members and FITs to participate in the College's activities and committees.

How does the chapter engage its members to participate in functions?

The chapter continuously motivates FITs and members via social media by sharing interesting and relevant information, publications, etc.

What are the challenges facing your FIT team?

The most significant challenge I see currently is the language barrier. We recognize ACC's efforts to overcome this barrier through JACC Spanish version, and the opportunities to translate live all virtual or in-person conferences during meetings. Currently, ACC is working on an ACCSAP Spanish version that we are anxiously waiting for. It will be a great tool to further our training.

How do you see your FIT group connecting to ACC and sister FIT chapters across the world?

Our main goal is to apply a collaborative learning method. We aim to learn from sister FIT chapters. We would like to engage in virtual conferences with topics of mutual interest, exchange "observership" rotations, etc.

Is there a particular focus of your chapter?

The chapter has been working on the inclusion of women and FITs. We want to develop the leadership of those groups and increase their participation in the College.

What do you see as the next steps and future goals for your FIT team?

We are working on promoting the participation of every fellowship in the In-Training exam, though some administrative barriers are yet to be overcome.

Thank you, Dr. Piña Santana, for the informative discussion. Be the catalyst for change in your state chapter! The belief in what we do has a meaningful and profound impact on colleagues and the practice of cardiology.



This article was authored by Megan Pelter, MD, an FIT at Scripps Clinic and Southern California ACC FIT chair. Twitter: @MeganPelter.

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