How to Effectively Network and Make the Most of Your Time at ACC.23/WCC

Heather Wheat, MD

ACC.23/WCC is quickly approaching, and we all know this is a great place to network and meet others in your field of interest. But how does one actually network? Here are some tips from the new National Director of Cardiology for the Office of Veterans Affairs, Claire Duvernoy, MD, FACC, on ways to ensure that you get the most out of the upcoming conference.

Go to section meetings/lounges.

The annual ACC meeting serves as a platform for individual section meetings during the conference. Here you can learn of goals and plans for the future of each section and meet the key players of different committees. Introduce yourself and let them know of your interests or desire to get involved within the committee. Groups such as Women in Cardiology, FITs, etc. will have lounges where those of particular interests can meet, discuss, and exchange ideas. This is a great place to hear what others thought of different presentations, areas for growth, and how they got interested in the field in the first place. The lounges can be a hotspot for meeting future mentors!

Learn about your local or state chapter.

Getting involved at the local level is often a great first step to meet others from your area, form bonds and alliances, and learn what others near you are working on for potential collaboration. Ask how you can get involved in preparation for your next local meeting and learn the key players in your area. Many state chapters have a formal mentorship program that you can apply to and be paired with an ACC representative for your state. This not only helps you to learn more about what your state chapter is planning and ways that you can get involved, but also exposes you to different hospitals or practices in the state that may come in handy down the line when applying for jobs.

Bond with your co-fellows.

What better way to bond with co-fellows from your program, state, and around the nation than the ACC meeting?  These are the future leaders of your field, so get to know them and their interests.  Go to the vast array of talks and discuss with your peers what you've learned or how items presented will affect your future practice. Discuss topics for further research or ways to implement techniques learned at your home institution.

Go to the dinner events.

This is often your chance to learn of not only new devices and drugs but talk with individuals interested in research and learn how to incorporate these aspects into your care. Don't be shy to go up after these presentations and ask questions. Sit with someone new and learn what makes them tick over a hot meal!

Do your research ahead of time.

If you are interested in talking to a specific individual, make sure you've done your research.  Intrigue them with your knowledge of their work and then impress them with what you have to bring to the field.

The bottom line is that ACC.23/WCC will be a fantastic meeting of the minds that will open the door for FITs to meet the stars and bright minds of our field in addition to learning what new things the future holds. Make sure to stop by the FIT lounge to meet your fellow trainees and discover the next major innovation!

Heather Wheat, MD

This article was written by Heather Wheat, MD, a FIT at the University of Michigan.

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