Chapter Engagement | Establishing a WIC Section in a Local ACC Chapter
This article was authored by Toniya Singh, MD, FACC, a cardiologist at Partner St. Louis Heart and Vascular in St. Louis, MO.
Establishing a Women in Cardiology (WIC) Section in your local ACC chapter may seem like a daunting endeavor, but fear not, it can be done! I started a WIC Section for ACC’s Missouri Chapter last year, and while it was a lot of work, it has been extremely rewarding to see so many of my female colleagues come together to advocate for issues that important for all women. If your Chapter doesn’t have a WIC Section yet, I encourage all of you to take the initiative to start one. Here’s a checklist to help you get started. Also, come to the WIC Lounge at ACC.17 on Saturday, March 18 at 1:30 pm to hear more about how you can do this in your chapter!
- Obtain a list of female cardiologists in your state from your Chapter Executive.
- Recruit a few like-minded women in your state who want to establish a WIC presence in your chapter to help you with your efforts.
- Think about what is feasible for your inaugural WIC event. It doesn’t have to be complicated – you can host an informal social gathering. For instance, other WIC chapter sections have held potlucks or met at local restaurants. Or you can try to integrate a WIC event into your chapter’s annual meeting. The advantage of piggybacking on your larger annual chapter meeting is that more individuals are likely to attend your event as many more will probably already be attending the annual meeting. You can also incorporate the advertising of your event into the larger meeting’s advertising/flyers, etc.
- To find out when your chapter is hosting their next annual meeting, contact your Chapter Governor or Executive.
- Determine the topics/speakers you would like to feature at your WIC event. Possible topic ideas could be negotiating skills, financial planning, the ins and outs of part-time vs. full-time work, pregnancy issues, a career in xyz, how to juggle a career and family … the possibilities are just about limitless. Also, think about incorporating a panel discussion as part of the program as it allows more women to be highlighted and engaged.
- Assign those who are helping you tasks to work on, such as finding speakers, planning/creating the agenda, sending out invitations, managing registration, managing logistics, etc.
- Consider asking for sponsorship from your chapter, institution and/or industry to help fund the costs of the event.
- If you are hosting the WIC event at your annual chapter meeting, think about including a networking reception the evening before or the evening of your WIC event.
- Consider opening up the event for men to attend, if they desire to do so, as there are many men who support WIC’s cause.
- Send out invitations and promote via email, posting to your Chapter website and ACC’s WIC Section page (contact ACC WIC Section Liaison), social media: Twitter using #ACCWIC and tag @ACCinTouch, ACC’s Women in Cardiology Group on LinkedIn. Think about inviting medical students and internal medicine residents to encourage them to pursue a career in cardiology. 50 percent of medical students are women. However, only 12 percent of women choose cardiology as a career.
- Recruit an attendee to write a brief article about the event and how it impacted them so the article can be featured in WIC’s monthly newsletter that gets emailed to WIC Section members and posted to WIC’s Section Page on ACC.org. Asking a Fellow in Training and/or an Early Career member is a great way to get them more engaged.
- Encourage your attendees to tweet out photos and updates during the event using #ACCWIC to share with other WIC members on social media. There is a live feed of #ACCWIC on WIC’s homepage on ACC.org.
- Setup a plan for annual WIC meetings/events, with a small group of engaged individuals that are committed to making it happen each year, to keep the momentum going. Consider including people in various stages of their careers and practice settings.