Reflection on the 2022 ACC Women in Cardiology Leadership Workshop

The 2022 ACC Women in Cardiology (WIC) Leadership Workshop preceded the ACC Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. This event takes place annually and brings together female cardiovascular professionals from all levels of training to provide an educational platform and strengthen their professional support system.

The workshop began with a welcome note by ACC WIC Section Chair, Gina Lundberg, MD, FACC, from Emory University. This was followed by Jyoti Sharma, MD, FACC, from Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, who spoke about how to tackle interviews and ask for promotions. She explained the need to update one's CV regularly and tailor its content to your target audience. Emphasizing the importance of authenticity during interviews, she reminded us that highlighting niche personal facts can help you stand out.  Dr. Sharma also noted that it's important to ask about money – the timing and who you ask is key. Finally, she warned that intrusive questions and micro aggressions may happen in the workplace – it is important to anticipate and be prepared for them.

Next, Toniya Singh, MD, FACC, Chief of Medicine at Christian North East Hospital led a breakout session on contracts and negotiations.  She emphasized that proper preparation such as researching the job market early during training, listing realistic expectations and reaching out to mentors are key to begin a successful career. Remaining open minded and flexible are additional attributes. Once one finds their dream job, it is advisable to carefully review a contract with a trained specialist in the field. This will help avoid pitfalls both in the short and long-run.

This was followed by a moderator session titled, "Pay Equity: Can it be Achieved in 2022," co-hosted by John P. Erwin III, MD, FACC, clinical chair of the Department of Medicine at Northshore University Health System and Cathleen Biga, MSN, FACC, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cardiovascular Management of Illinois. They revealed details about the current pay disparity between female and male cardiologists using MedAxiom compensation data. They encouraged women to carefully research the job market, establish the mean salary for the position they are pursuing and use this knowledge as a point of reference during negotiations. Many institutions publish salaries transparently and should be explored by female physicians.

Dr. Villacencio and Dr. Walsh spoke on the future of reproductive health and cardiovascular care. There is much uncertainty about the future in this post Roe v. Wade era and the law is unclear about the implications of saving a pregnant female patient's life who has CVD if a fetus has to be aborted.

Arooj Khan, MD, a PGY-5 Cardiology fellow at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, chair of the Iowa Chapter's WIC FIT Council and member of the national WIC council, spoke about her time as part of the planning committee for the workshop. "It was an incredible learning experience," she exclaims, "to not only listen to the talks - but to make new connections and revisit old friends. I finally had the opportunity to physically meet many women leaders who supported me and communicated with me only through email." She explains that through the WIC meetings she has primarily learned that "networking is not about small talk. It's not about pretending to be someone you're not. It's about knowing what you want out of the interaction and having a goal. Other people appreciate when you are straightforward about what you want when you meet them."

In the future, Dr. Khan herself would like to initiate opportunities for younger trainees, especially female, to come forward and take leadership positions. Her advice to the trainees out there? "Say yes to all the opportunities that come your way!"

Sanchari Banerjee
Matylda Mazur

This article was co-authored Sanchari Banerjee, MD, and Matylda Mazur, MD.

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