ACC Member Sections: Powering Our Strategy

Cardiology Magazine GraphicThe field of cardiology has experienced an unprecedented evolution over the past several years. Growing demand from an aging population, changes to the delivery of care and advances in science and technology have all led to a drastically altered cardiovascular climate. As a field, we now face great threat and great opportunity – physicians, institutions and organizations must be prepared to evolve with the changing climate or risk being left in the dust.

In order to remain relevant, the ACC developed a new Strategic Plan in 2013, charting the course for the College over the next five years. By leveraging ACC’s strengths, yet allowing for the flexibility to adapt to changes in the future, the plan positions the College as the professional home for the entire cardiovascular team.

The plan outlines four key strategies: improving population health, providing purposeful education, increasing member value and engagement, and supporting the transformation of care. Together, these strategies work to meet ACC’s overarching goal of being recognized as each member’s professional home, and aligns the College with the “triple aim” of better care, better outcomes and lower cost.

At the crux of successfully implementing these important strategies are ACC’s Member Sections. Born from a need for more specialized topic-focused communities, Member Sections bring together like-minded professionals with similar clinical or professional interests. Specialists in areas such as electrophysiology, intervention and cardiovascular management come together for peer-to-peer interaction, allowing the ACC to be more relevant to their area of interest.

These 20 groups power the goals of the College and are the driving force behind the majority of new initiatives and programs that allow the ACC to continue to evolve. At the grassroots level of the College, Sections allow for collaboration between experts in a given specialty to advocate for and advance the priorities of their community within the College. This includes identifying key issues facing their field, keeping the ACC abreast of the latest updates and advancements in their specialty and leading the way in the development of important initiatives and projects aimed at moving their respective area, and the College, forward.

Sections lead the way in the College’s most important initiatives. Whether it’s using clinical data from the College’s NCDR suite of registries to identify and close gaps in care for specific patient populations; providing specialized insight into national and state health policies impacting physicians and the patients they serve; serving as a community hub and a source of new leaders in specific areas of cardiovascular medicine and the College itself; or identifying areas for further guideline development or purposeful educational programming.

As one of the oldest and most active ACC Member Sections, the Geriatric Section provides tremendous value to ACC members – serving as a much-needed forum for peer-to-peer discussions. The Section also has an important role to play in the improvement of population health, helping to ensure the rapidly growing geriatric population is achieving better outcomes and experiencing better quality of life, as well as ensuring the provision of purposeful education on treating this group to fellow-physicians.

The Early Career Professionals Section is hard at work, developing and nurturing the next generation of cardiovascular professionals. To engage more of their members and provide exceptional member value, the Section spearheaded efforts to create the ACC Mentoring Program where like-minded professionals can connect to form mutually-beneficial relationships and share experiences. This program helps young professionals to meet and exceed professional goals while also gaining veteran insights and knowledgeable advice, contributing to their perceived value of the College.

As the field moves from a volume-based to value-based model of care, organizations are thinking through their options for remaining viable under this new paradigm. The Academic Section is leading the College’s efforts in developing new, innovative plans for the organization of academic medical centers in the future. By bringing together members of their community at the ACC Annual Scientific Session, they were able to formulate next steps for the transformation of care within their institutions and beyond.

Sections also have an important advocacy role to play, helping to shape ACC’s responses to issues such as congenital heart disease. In addition to sponsoring nine annual national congenital heart lobby days, the Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology Section is working to improve the lives of their patients by fighting for mandated congenital heart disease screening in all 50 states. The Section also contributes to the development of quality programs like IMPACT Registry, as well as use of data to facilitate information and knowledge sharing.

Member Sections are powering the College forward and shaping the future of the cardiovascular field. They are the College’s answer to the ever-changing health care landscape and are the key to making the ACC the professional home for the entire cardiovascular team.

Keywords: Cardiology Magazine, ACC Publications

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