The Pulse of ACC

Setting a new vision for ACC’s future, updated recommendations for non-statin therapies, and more.

ACC Sets New Vision for the Future

Over its nearly 70-year history, the College has grown from a small cardiology association focused primarily on education of physicians, to the much larger professional home for cardiovascular clinicians around the world that it is today. As a result of this growth, the ACC has worked hard over the last several years to transform its governance structure and processes, as well as its strategic planning processes, to more nimbly and effectively meet the needs of the College and its increasingly diverse membership.

As the College is in the final years of its 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, efforts to develop the next Strategic Plan that will guide the ACC from 2019-2023 are well underway. These efforts have included a re-examination of the ACC mission and vision statements to ensure they align with where the College is headed as it looks to the future.

Cardiology Magazine Image"This new vision will serve as the guidepost for all the College’s efforts going forward. Even more importantly, it will help ACC leaders, members and staff as they continue to develop and finalize the next strategic plan and update the College’s core values and strategic goals." ACC President Mary Norine Walsh, MD, FACC

A strong mission and vision should complement each other and clearly articulate why the College exists and what it hopes to achieve. Over the summer, working groups comprised of ACC’s Board of Trustees (BOT) members, staff, and external experts representing over 54 organizations, including 28 health systems, 16 universities and 10 companies like IBM and Google, met to answer key strategic questions and envision the future of the College in the context of the current health care environment and where the ACC expects to be going forward.

“The visioning exercises were unique and unlike any strategic planning visioning process the College has experienced to date,” said ACC President Mary Norine Walsh, MD, FACC. “The College welcomed the willingness of both members and outside experts who dedicated time and energy to help shape the College’s future. This is truly a reflection of the reputation of the College as a leader in transforming cardiovascular care.” Read More >>>

The working groups identified many common themes and developed narratives that painted a vision of the future. Among the areas of focus for the future are: 1) knowledge management which allows for information to be easily consumed, shared, discovered, integrated and kept updated; 2) integration of relevant data as sources proliferate; 3) technology as an enabler to reduce the burden of care delivery, payment models, education and knowledge management; 4) optimization and support of team-based care as the primary driver of improved clinician well-being (i.e., “quadruple aim”); 5) increased diversity of the cardiovascular workforce that leads to improved outcomes for diverse patient populations; 6) ACC as a trusted partner and source for defining standards and best practices for cardiovascular care; and 7) personalization of care through the integration of genomics, individualized risk assessments, patient preferences and shared decision-making.

Many of the thematic areas focused on leveraging expected advances and innovations in technology and the integration of data and knowledge. Ultimately, these collaborative exercises led to the development of ACC’s new vision: A world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes.

During its recent meeting in August, the BOT reaffirmed the College’s mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health, while creating and approving the new vision statement.

“This new vision will serve as the guidepost for all the College’s efforts going forward,” said Walsh. “Even more importantly, it will help ACC leaders, members and staff as they continue to develop and finalize the next strategic plan and update the College’s core values and strategic goals.”

The ACC will continue to keep its members apprised of the College’s Strategic Plan development process, as the College moves forward in setting the Strategic Direction by defining Strategic Goals, Performance Measures and Core Values.

“This new vision will serve as the guidepost for all the College’s efforts going forward,” said Walsh. “Even more importantly, it will help ACC leaders, members and staff as they continue to develop and finalize the next strategic plan and update the College’s core values and strategic goals.”

The ACC will continue to keep its members apprised of the College’s Strategic Plan development process, as the College moves forward in setting the Strategic Direction by defining Strategic Goals, Performance Measures and Core Values.

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Updated ACC Recommendations for Non-Statin Therapies

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As a result of recent evidence regarding PCSK9 inhibitors and ezetimibe in some patients, the ACC has released the 2017 Focused Update of the 2016 ACC Expert Consensus Decision Pathway on the Role of Non-Statin Therapies for LDL-Cholesterol Lowering in the Management of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk.

Since the publication of the 2016 expert consensus decision pathway, additional evidence and perspectives have emerged from randomized clinical trials and other sources, particularly considering the longer-term efficacy and safety of PCSK9 inhibitors in secondary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), as well as evidence on the types of patients most likely to benefit from the use of ezetimibe in addition to statin therapy after acute coronary syndrome. Read More >>>

Due to these findings, revised recommendations are provided for patients with clinical ASCVD with or without comorbidities on statin therapy for secondary prevention, indicating more clearly when ezetimibe or a PCSK9 inhibitor may be considered. The writing committee judged that the new data did not warrant changes to the decision pathways and algorithms regarding the use of ezetimibe or PCSK9 inhibitors in primary prevention patients LDL-C <190 mg/dl with or without diabetes or patients without ASCVD and LDL-C <190 mg/dl not due to secondary causes. Also provided in the focused update is new information on diagnostic categories of heterozygous and homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, based on clinical criteria with and without genetic testing.

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DeMaria Recognized With ESC Gold Medal

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Anthony DeMaria, MD, MACC, was awarded the European Society of Cardiology’s Gold Medal during the ESC Congress 2017 in Barcelona. The prestigious award recognizes individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the field of cardiology.

DeMaria, the youngest-ever ACC president (1988) and past editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2002-2014), was recognized for his contributions and leadership in echocardiography. William Wijns, MD, of the National University of Ireland, Galway, the other recipient of an ESC Gold Medal, was recognized for his contributions to the field of PCI.

New ACC Task Force Focused on Diversity

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Diversity and inclusion are increasingly recognized as requirements for optimal organizational performance. In medicine, diversity provides opportunities to better serve specific patient populations, promote health equity, bring different views to debates and problem solving, better engage communities, and provide a broad spectrum of mentors and researchers.

In a recent leadership page, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ACC President Mary Norine Walsh, MD, FACC, and former ACC presidents Pamela S. Douglas MD, MACC, and Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, MACC, expand on the importance of diversity, especially in the field of cardiology where diversity if far less than other medical specialties. To mitigate this trend, the ACC earlier this year formed a Task Force on Diversity, chaired by Douglas and vice-chaired by Williams, charged with ensuring cardiovascular medicine in general, as well as the ACC itself, attracts and provides rewarding careers for the full range of talented individuals in medicine; benefits from diversity of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives in leadership, cardiovascular health care delivery, education and science; and that the diverse needs of cardiovascular patients are met by cardiovascular clinicians sensitive to and respectful of their gender, cultural, racial and ethnic diversity. Read More >>>

The group has since identified three broad objectives that were presented in an interim report to the ACC’s Board of Trustees at its recent meeting in August. The objectives: 1) Enhance the culture within the cardiology profession and the perceptions of the field to be inclusive, professional, equitable and welcoming; 2) Realize and sustain the value of diversity over the long-term by implementing structures and continuous improvement programs within the ACC to ensure accountable execution; 3) Engage and leverage all available talent by attracting and providing value to under-represented groups in cardiology across the ‘career life-span’, from ensuring a deep pipeline, to recruitment, retention and leadership development.

These objectives will be further refined in the coming months. “With the extraordinary work of the Task Force, the ACC can envision a future College and specialty of cardiology that is more diverse and inclusive thus more able to serve our mission,” write Walsh, Douglas and Williams.

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Internal Medicine Organizations to Explore New Options for Physicians Maintaining Board Certification

The ACC, American College of Physicians (ACP) and American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) are working with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) to explore development of collaborative pathways through which physicians can maintain board certification.

This collaborative work is in its early stages, and each organization has committed to looking at the creation of a Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process in their specialty that offers board certified physicians flexibility in how they can demonstrate to their peers and the public that they meet standards and are keeping their medical knowledge current. For cardiology, the ACC would provide clinicians with learning material and assessments modeled after its lifelong learning self-assessment program (ACCSAP). Read More >>>

“The ACC is pleased to join ASCO and ACP on exploring these additional pathways for cardiologists, oncologists and internists to maintain their certification,” said ACC President Mary Norine Walsh, MD, FACC. Helping our collective members in the provision of professional and compassionate care, while also keeping up with current knowledge, is a shared goal. We appreciate ABIM’s willingness to continue to listen to and engage with stakeholders in order to achieve this goal in a more effective manner.” These collaborations are the result of an ongoing dialogue within the internal medicine community in an effort to improve MOC. Updates about the new pathway options will be shared as they become available. For more on MOC, visit

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In Memoriam: Robert Jesse, MD, FACC

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Robert (Bob) Jesse, MD, FACC, passed away on Sept. 2. Jesse, an ACC Fellow, was a member of the ACC Accreditation Management Board serving as a liaison to the NCDR Management Board and former governor of the ACC’s Virginia Chapter (2006-2009). He was also a founding member of the Society of Chest Pain Centers (now ACC Accreditation Services).

Jesse was active with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, having served from 2010-2014 as the Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health; as the Acting Under Secretary for Health in 2014; and since 2014 as the Chief Academic Affiliations Officer, Veterans Health Administration.

Abe Joseph, VP of ACC Accreditation Services, called Jesse “one of the most brilliant cardiologists and a very respected intellect on the Board.” In 2011, he was honored with the Ray Bahr award. Jesse resided in Richmond, VA, with his wife, Janice Jesse, MD.

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Clinical Topics: Acute Coronary Syndromes, Arrhythmias and Clinical EP, Dyslipidemia, Noninvasive Imaging, Prevention, Genetic Arrhythmic Conditions, Lipid Metabolism, Nonstatins, Novel Agents, Primary Hyperlipidemia, Statins, Echocardiography/Ultrasound, Exercise

Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Interventions, Accreditation, Acute Coronary Syndrome, Algorithms, Certification, Cholesterol, LDL, Comorbidity, Decision Making, Diabetes Mellitus, Echocardiography, Exercise Therapy, Genetic Testing, Genomics, Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors, Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II, Knowledge Management, Leadership, Medical Oncology, Medicine, Mentors, Pain Clinics, Patient Preference, Physicians, Primary Prevention, Research Personnel, Risk Assessment, Secondary Prevention, Spouses, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans, Veterans Health

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