California ACC Chapter's FIT Journey to Success: Part I

Welcome to a new 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. This is part one of an article highlighting the California ACC FIT Team – my homebase chapter.

Since the ACC's inception in 1949, the College has endeavored to provide resources to cardiology FITs nationally and internationally. To do so, state chapters were created. The California chapter is one of ACC's largest chapters, with over 4,500 members, of which 330 are FITs actively involved. I am thrilled to be involved with this chapter as the Southern California FIT chair. Paniz Vafaei, MD, the Northern California FIT chair, and I have worked very closely over the last nine months as co-chairs as we restarted the California FIT team, established dynamic membership and 2+ large educational activities while overcoming challenges and building a large FIT team. In reflection, I consider our FIT committee's success is the result of our team spirit and professional dedication. The belief in what we do has a meaning and profound impact on colleagues and the practice of cardiology.

I recently chatted with California ACC Chapter's chief executive officer, Lianna Collinge, CAE, to discuss our FIT chapter and its history.

What is the history of the California ACC Chapter?

Collinge: Although ACC Chapters were originally in existence beginning in the 1960s, the California ACC chapter was officially founded and incorporated in 1992. FITs were always included into our work and encouraged to become involved.

In 2006, FITs became a formal body of our chapter and became voting members of our Board of Directors. (1 each, North and South). We have encouraged, organized, and held an average of 6-8 FIT events annually since that time. These events focus on networking, education that cannot be found in training programs, and knowledge about various practice models, contracts, negotiation, and economic management.

What are the goals and aims of this chapter?

Collinge: Our mission is to be the catalyst empowering members to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health for Californians.

To fulfill our mission, we work to get as many of our 4,500 members to participate as possible, as we focus on education, advocacy, patient care, and Innovation. Participation is a two-way street – we want to hear what is happening with our members and to share what we are doing and how we can assist.

How do you see FITs making a difference within the chapter and beyond?

Collinge: Obviously, FITs are the future of patient care, the ongoing relevance of cardiology and of our organization.

FITs have energy, drive, enthusiasm, and knowledge of many newer social processes and technology than many seasoned members. I envision our FITs are an integral way for our organization to continue to evolve, respond to the way the world is changing, and provide leadership in the profession of cardiology, regardless of sub-specialty or practice model.

How do you see the future expansion of the FIT role?

Collinge: For the past few years, our chapter has been attempting to appoint at least one FIT on each one of our 25+ active committees. We hope to achieve that and add an even greater number to every active body of our work. Bringing the voice of FITs to each of our silos of work to contribute as catalysts is essential to our success.

In conjunction with the specific FIT networking and education that continues, deeper collaboration of FITs throughout the state of California is anticipated. Promotion of their skills to ACC nationally for committee appointments, as well introduction to as prospective employers is goals, we must support and encourage our FIT members.

We thank Lianna Collinge for the unwavering support of our efforts as catalysts of the California ACC Chapter!

To read part two of this interview, click here.



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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