This year, in addition to providing a discussion forum on various issues facing cardiology, I want to use the ACC in Touch Blog to provide you with a first-hand glimpse into the meetings, trips and other engagements that your ACC leadership team is undertaking on your behalf.
In the past two weeks, ACC President-Elect Dr. John Harold, Interim Chief Staff Officer Tom Arend and I flew to Boston to attend the Heart Rhythm Society's (HRS) Annual Scientific Sessions, which had close to 13,000 attendees. While there, we met with HRS leadership, including outgoing President Dr. Bruce Wilkoff, Incoming President Dr. Anne Gillis, and had an open discussion on how to improve overall communication between our two societies, as well as how best to collaborate around quality projects like NCDR. Education was also a topic. We discussed including a full day of programming by HRS at ACC.13 in San Francisco (similar to ACC.12), and a reciprocal session on quality at the 2013 HRS meeting. Both teams felt this open face-to-face dialogue brought new perspectives and improved current relations and communication.
From there, we flew to Las Vegas for the SCAI 2012 Scientific Sessions, where we were joined by ACC’s Chief People Officer Cathy Gates and former ACC President Dr. Ralph Brindis. We met with the SCAI leadership including newly installed President Dr. Jeff Marshall, President-Elect Ted Bass and others. We discussed topics ranging from our collaborative efforts on clinical documents like appropriate use criteria, to the importance of ACE (Accreditation for Cardiovascular Excellence) for accreditation of interventional laboratories. We also clarified the role of the ACC Interventional Academic Council as an advisory body to College leadership on interventional matters. It was a welcoming meeting and one that I feel furthers our collaboration in the field of interventional cardiology.
On May 19, I found myself back in my home state of Texas to participate in two great events in Dallas. The first was the Texas ACC Chapter meeting. Former AMA President Dr. Jim Rohack shared his views on the health care system and its future, while I spoke on why physicians should be involved and “get off the sidelines”—an important stance for advocacy, professional education, or even mentoring of the future generations of cardiologists. Many thanks to ACC Texas Governor and BOG Chair-Elect Dr. David May, as well as the program committee, for a very successful program.
Also on May 19, I attended the celebration of the 60th anniversary year of Mended Hearts. Mended Hearts and Mended Little Hearts are great organizations with more than 18,000 volunteers helping patients recovering from heart surgery and/or other procedures. I had the honor to be the keynote speaker at the event, sharing with the audience of close to 500 volunteers the latest advances in cardiovascular medicine, and importantly emphasizing our strong collaboration with Mended Hearts in patient education and engagement. Gus Littlefield, president of Mended Hearts and Mended Little Hearts, surprised me by affectionately presenting the College with a special recognition award for our collaboration and emphasis on patient-centered care.
Next stop was Washington, DC, for the ACC’s Clinical Quality Committee retreat chaired by Dr. Joe Drozda. During a break in the meeting, I was introduced to “Twitter” – a form of social media I had avoided until I learned that more than 12,000 ACC members, media, consumers and others are “followers” on at least one of the College’s Twitter feeds. I am now honored with the distinction of being the first ACC Tweeting president! You can follow the various ACC Twitter accounts, as well as my own at @williamzoghbi.
My last stop in the week was San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the 23rd Annual Puerto Rico Chapter Meeting. I was here last year, and was reminded again this year about just how impressive this educational meeting is. Besides excellent scientific sessions with speakers like Drs. Mike Adams, Anne Gillis and Mike Quinones, the unique evening gala dinner brought together ACC members and their families celebrating distinguished faculty, research fellow winners and graduating fellows from training programs. Big thanks to Puerto Rico Governor Dr. Luis Rodriguez Ospina for his phenomenal leadership.
As president, my travel and other schedules may be grueling, forcing many life changes, including the art of exponential multitasking. However, being there with you, learning your issues, receiving your feedback first hand (positive or critical) and getting to connect with many of you (even through our blog or Twitter!) is what this experience is all about… it is priceless.