Career Tips From the ACC WIC Section

Riya Chacko, MD, cardiologist at Crouse Medical Practice in Syracuse, NY.

1. Be engaged – In private practice, it is easy to get lost in one's own practice and day-to-day routine. For a more enriching experience, join your local medical society, ACC Chapter or hospital committee or form a network for women physicians in your area to gain a new and expanded perspective.

2. Be digital – Become familiar with ACC's apps and online resources and use them to inform and educate yourself and your patients. For example, my patients enjoy the CardioSmart Heart Explorer App, which we use together to discuss procedures and structural or ischemic heart disease. Patients appreciate the visual education and opportunity to ask informed questions with their provider present, rather than referencing the internet to find answers.

3. Take a break – As a woman and perhaps mother in private practice, life is very busy. There is no such thing as academic time. Carve time for yourself every day because no one else will. Get a hobby, meet with other women regularly or engage in something other than work or family to give yourself a needed break.

Natalie A. Bello, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY.

1. I always keep a spare black blazer and a clean white coat in my office in case I need to meet with a visiting speaker or VIP at the last minute. It helps me look professional and pulled together for any situation.

2. You have to take care of yourself in order to take good care of your family and patients. Sleep, eat healthy and exercise – block out time for these in your schedule.

Malissa J. Wood, MD, FACC, co-director of the Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

1. Make sure that your personal life is managed when you are at work. For those with kids, pets and partners, make sure things are all set when you are away so you can give 100 percent of yourself without worry. If things are unsettled at home, it is hard to focus.

2. Identify your area of expertise or passion. Make sure your academic and research commitments align with this.

3. Find colleagues with similar interests and develop a team of people devoted to solving the same problem, although possibly from different angles.

4. Take care of yourself. Exercise, eat well and be mindful of your brain and body's need to decompress, particularly when you in a demanding clinical field.

5. Find mentors who will be honest, supportive and promote your career. Stay in touch and let them know how much you appreciate them.

JoAnne M. Foody, MD, FACC, therapeutic area head of the cardiovascular medical affairs at Janssen Pharmaceuticals in New York, NY.

1. Do what you love and be passionate about all you do.

2. Maintain personal integrity and be true to yourself.

Laxmi Mehta, MD, FACC, section director of preventative cardiology and women's cardiovascular health, director of lipid clinics, Sarah Ross Soter Endowed Chair in women's cardiovascular health, and professor of medicine at the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH.

1. Be an engaged member of the ACC. There are many volunteer opportunities to help you be part of the College. For most, the low-hanging fruit is to take part in your ACC Chapter. Reach out to your state governor or Chapter executive to find out how you can participate in your Chapter. Local involvement is often a stepping stone to national engagement. Your help is needed and wanted regardless of your career stage (fellow in training to seasoned cardiologist).

2. Advocacy is essential. There is an old saying that if you are not at the table, you are on the menu. As physicians, we want to take excellent care of our patients in an effective, low-cost manner. However, politics affects how we practice medicine and how we are reimbursed. Rather than being put off by health policy, we need to maintain a voice and advocate for our patients and the practice of medicine. Most of us are not born advocates; it is a learned skill that we must refine. Advocacy is a great way to get involved with the ACC and have a voice in health policy. If you want to learn more, attend either your state Chapter meetings or the annual ACC Legislative Conference.

Gina Lundberg, MD, FACC, clinical director of Emory Women's Heart Center and associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA.

1. Never turn down an opportunity that you might want. Sometimes, you will feel overwhelmed with work, but usually things will calm down and you can make it all fit in. Once you say "No," you may not get another invitation.