Guest Editorial | Membership: Meeting the Needs of Cardiovascular Professionals Around the World
"A world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes."
The College's "True North" was set with this Vision statement by the ACC Board of Trustees (BOT) in August 2018, after more than a year of research, conversations with our membership and envisioning our future.
Our Vision formed the foundation for ACC's Strategic Plan for 2019-2023.
Together, we're turning this Vision into our reality as we tackle important challenges with strategies and tactics laid out in the Strategic Plan. The College is driven to deliver unparalleled value and to meet the needs of cardiovascular professionals around the world.
Four major priorities are guiding the work of your Membership Committee as we navigate this tumultuous year:
- Modernizing communications and connecting clinicians
- Representing diversity and ensuring inclusion
- Tackling clinician well-being
- Answering the global COVID-19 pandemic with advocacy and knowledge dissemination
Modernizing Communications and Connecting Members
The College is making a transformational statement with its Vision for a "digital-first ecosystem" and planned investments in technology to flatten our world.
As our live events have rapidly evolved through innovative approaches to bring us together virtually, we have seen a connected membership participate in knowledge transfers across the world. ACC.20/WCC Virtual together tens of thousands from some 135 countries, and more continued to benefit from the on-demand capacity of such a meeting.
In answering the threats of systemic racism, clinician well-being and COVID-19, the College has established Hubs on ACC.org to immediately link our membership around common topics, such as COVID-19 (ACC.org/COVID19). The Member Hub continues to be an important resource for networking and support (ACC.org/MemberHub).
Now, recognizing that digital transformation is core to all of our Strategic Goals and with a systematic approach supported by a BOT Task Force, the College is building the infrastructure to provide trusted, timely and tailored knowledge across all touchpoints of cardiovascular care delivery.
Diversity and Inclusion
The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force in 2017 set the College's strategy to improve culture and perception, to create accountable structures and continuous improvement programs, and to engage and nurture the pipeline and leadership of female and underrepresented groups in cardiology.
The leadership and work of the Task Force is prodigious and includes development of our diversity and inclusion principles, education modules, stakeholders' summits, implicit bias training, and other activities to support members. Learn more at ACC.org/Diversity.
Now, launching in 2021 in partnership with the Membership Committee, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee will continue to affect the strategic metrics we have set, with tactics and a portfolio of programs that can travel from the grassroots to the leadership as we continue to engage our domestic and international chapters, sections, membership-at-large, patients and communities.
A survey of ACC membership revealed that 35.4% of respondents reported burnout and 43.9% were stressed, Burnout rates were highest in mid-career and female cardiologists. The findings from this research were presented by Laxmi Mehta, MD, FACC, in a live ACC.20/WCC Featured Clinical Research presentation.
Click here to learn more about the results of this survey and what your colleagues are saying about how burnout is affecting them.
Clinician well-being is clearly a pressing concern for the College. Dr. Mehta is leading a BOT Task Force to help us identify solutions. ACC's Clinician Well-Being Portal (ACC.org/ClinicianWellbeing) provides a variety of resources to support members individually and collectively.
Among the resources, which can be shared at section, chapter, and committee meetings, are a well-being toolkit and infographic. Notably, there are also links to counseling resources to support health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Task Force is developing a broad strategy that includes creating positive work and learning environments, reducing administrative burdens, enabling technology solutions, eliminating barriers to obtaining support, and investing in research.
All boots will be on the ground addressing this important threat to our profession as we advocate for the health of our membership.
Science, Advocacy and COVID-19
The value of the College to its membership is most evident this year by our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Health Affairs and the Science and Quality Committees organized very quickly to create policy priorities and the COVID-19 Hub, which has been the most trusted and timely source for cardiovascular information during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 Hub has provided us important information to our members from China and Italy early in the pandemic, the latest science and clinical guidance for issues such as myocarditis, thrombosis, QT-prolonging hydroxychloroquine and the use of RAAS blockers, as well as operational guidance on a wide range of topics including best practices for telehealth and how to staff clinics and hospitals.
In advocacy, the College acted early and often to support policy that would ensure access to personal protective equipment and testing, preserve patient access with telemedicine that included telephone parity, provide financial support to practices and institutions, create liability protection during this public health emergency, and reduce administrative burdens such as prior authorization and government reporting programs.
Click here to read more about advocacy work on behalf of members to protect clinicians and patients during the pandemic.
As we move forward together, our membership will continue to engage with telehealth and to grapple with financial strains that became acute emergencies in 2020 and will affect us for the foreseeable future. As our professional home, the College will be by our side.
Andrew P. Miller, MD, FACC, is the chair of ACC's Membership Committee, vice chair of HeartPac, and a Trustee.
Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine
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