WIC Section Meetings at ACC's Annual Scientific Sessions

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As we gear up for ACC's 68th Annual Scientific Session and Expo (ACC.19), it is important to reflect on the significance of ACC Women in Cardiology (WIC) Section meetings and networking opportunities.

At ACC.18, the ACC WIC Section meeting and reception provided a networking platform for Section leaders and female physicians from around the globe. The theme of the event was to exchange strategies on common issues of interest. Networking was encouraged prior to and immediately upon the completion of the sessions, where colleagues could share thoughts and ideas.

The meeting was kicked off and moderated by former chair of the ACC WIC Section, Claire S. Duvernoy, MD, FACC, joined by Toniya Singh, MBBS, FACC; Gina P. Lundberg, MD, FACC; and Elizabeth Le, MD. The overall discussion consisted of recapping the year and reviewing statistics of adult cardiology workforce, showing its lack of diversity with a small percentage of women and minorities entering the field. These numbers are even more staggering when looking at the subspecialties of interventional and electrophysiology.

To combat this issue, the group discussed the WIC Section's free affiliation and collaboration with the American Medical Women's Association to provide mentorship and expose the field of cardiology to medical students and residents early in their careers.

Additionally, the group highlighted the ACC WIC Section Leadership Toolkit, created by Lundberg; Singh; Jennifer H. Mieres, MD, FACC; and Erin Boehm, MD, which describes guiding principles to engage all talents and best carry out missions related to patient care, advocacy, education and research.

Soon after, Barbara Casadei, MD, PhD, engaged diverse members of the audience to share their stories and words of wisdom. This conversation provided a gateway for advice on the acknowledgement of the most pivotal tool that would bring much-needed change for the future: leadership. Although mentorship was repeatedly discussed as an important part of the solution, it was also noted that it may perpetuate the status quo and that the best advice one can give is the leadership tools needed to succeed.

To further address the importance of leadership roles to serve as a beacon for future women in the field, Casadei was joined by Mary Norine Walsh, MD, MACC; Catherine M. Kells, MD, FACC; and Sarah C. Clarke, MD, FACC. The session concluded with a true symbol of hope – four female leaders of major cardiology societies around the world on the same stage.

Although women remain underrepresented in the field of cardiology, I can only imagine that the visibility of women in such positions will encourage other women to move toward a path of advanced leadership.

Registration is now open for ACC.19, taking place March 16 – 18, 2019, in New Orleans, LA. Look out for more information regarding WIC Section meetings and networking opportunities.

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This article was authored by Rachel M. Bond, MD, FACC, associate director of the Women's Heart Health Program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, NY.