Connecting California: A CA ACC Chapter Initiative

Welcome back to the series on ACC chapter engagement for Fellows in Training (FITs)! The intent of the series is to encourage FITs to actively engage in their state's ACC chapter.

Today, we return to a hub of FIT excellence: the California (CA) ACC Chapter. Since the last article, the CA ACC Chapter has continued to be active, flourish and provide the latest content and resources for fellows.

Spearheaded by Natalie Tapaskar, MD, and Nikhil Ghatnekar, DO, MBA, and the CA ACC Chapter's FIT Committee, their newest initiative, Connecting California has created outstanding resources and information. The initiative was created to understand the landscape of cardiology training in the state of California, generating programming that highlights the various cardiology specialties, advancing both medical content and professional development, and connecting fellows for social and professional networking.

The first phase of the initiative brought forth a comprehensive list of training programs in California. This included general programs as well as subspecialty programs, where networking is particularly important.

The second wave of the initiative connects the advanced subspecialty fellows located in California created subspecialty specific WhatsApp groups. All Electrophysiology, Interventional, Imaging, Adult Congenital Heart Disease, and Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology program specialties are incorporated in WhatsApp groups which include CA ACC Chapter FIT members. This has provided a great platform to share medical knowledge and different practice models and has created lifelong professional and social connections.

The third goal of the initiative was to generate resources for medical content and professional development; specifically to highlight the outpatient sector of cardiology. Thus, the CA ACC Chapter lectures series on outpatient practices in cardiology was born. The attendings sought staff specialty or unique outpatient clinics that general cardiology fellows may not have in their own institutions, including transplant, cardio-oncology, and myocardial bridging. An outstanding panel of speakers from across California were chosen from different California programs. This ongoing monthly lecture series covers a large spectrum of specialty outpatient clinics, including the logistics of running a clinic, interdisciplinary collaboration, institutional support, and the day-to-day life of a cardiologist in outpatient clinics. All lectures have received positive feedback and enthusiasm. The next speakers include active military duty cardiology from the Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego.

Beyond these innovative and impactful programs that have increased networking opportunities, the CA ACC Chapter is also creating conferences and lectures for fellows across California and the nation. Recent and upcoming events include: networking beyond the match, how to attend a conference, early career panel, and medical legal issues. The first of these events was networking beyond the match and was held in February 2023. This interactive session explored the who, what, and why of the nature and importance of networking in the cardiology profession.

There are many new and exciting resources and events coming out of the CA ACC Chapter. Congratulations to Dr. Tapaskar and Dr. Ghatnekar for their innovative and impactful efforts in providing informative resources and knowledge to FITs!

This article was authored by Megan Pelter, MD, an FIT at Scripps Health.

Twitter: @MeganPelter

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