Engaging in Advocacy at ACC’s Legislative Conference


“Advocacy is empathy, compassion and community at work.”- Janna Cachola

These words ring loud and deep as I reflect on ACC’s Legislative Conference 2022, held in Washington, DC. This meeting enables cardiovascular clinicians and providers, including trainees and FITs, to learn about current health policy issues affecting patients and our community, from ACC leaders, staff and experts. More importantly, it provides an important platform for cardiologists and healthcare teams to speak directly with members of Congress and their staff.

I would like to thank ACC for providing FITs such as myself with this prestigious opportunity to engage with leaders in healthcare policy and keeping us at the forefront of advocacy. The travel grant award I received from ACC allowed me to attend the meeting and participate in all the educational, networking and advocacy sessions. It allowed me to advocate actively for our patients with the team from the Iowa ACC chapter and our Governor, Mahi Ashwath, MBBS, FACC. Dr. Ashwath helped me lead the discussions in advocacy along with introducing me to multiple ACC leaders. It afforded me with the opportunity to learn about the most pertinent health care policies that affect the welfare of our patients and profession, and importantly how we can engage in advocacy on a national level at the Hill, to present and discuss our personal experiences and perspectives.

The meeting kicked off with sessions presented by the ACC WIC Leadership Council on topics like contract negotiations, leadership development skills, as well as sensitive issues and nuances surrounding topics like abortion and Roe v. Wade. The ACC Advocacy team worked tirelessly to provide guidance and actionable instructions on tips for building relationships with policymakers, the importance of providing personal day-to day stories in patient’s lives that may be influenced by the policies, best practices on lobbying and mentorship sessions with leaders in the field.

I would like to strongly invite my colleagues and FITs across the country to consider this opportunity to work and engage with ACC Advocacy, both at regional Chapters and National level. It promises to provide opportunities for networking with leaders in diverse care teams from clinical, research and policy/public health teams – a key to wholesome cardiovascular care of our patients and profession. It further opens avenues for mentorship, and leadership development, especially for Women in Cardiology and FITs. Finally, it expands our dimensions to care for patients and our teams through advocacy – a powerful tool to get involved and make a difference.

This article was authored by Suvasini Lakshmanan, MD, MS, fellow in training at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa.

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