Dr. Smith Goes to Washington

Picture1This post was authored by Annabelle S. Volgman, MD, FACC, a member of the Women in Cardiology (WIC) Section.

 Cardiologists on Capitol Hill? It turns out that a big part of taking care of patients is controlled by what happens in Congress! Lobbyists can have negative reputations, but there is nothing wrong with lobbying for your patients and your livelihood in order to improve the care of those patients.

As a naturalized American citizen, I found it fascinating to interact with representatives and senators about the day-to-day challenges and experiences of a cardiologist. They were actually interested in hearing what I had to say! I realized after decades of being a cardiologist that, if I really wanted to impact health care, I could do so by influencing the people who make the laws. I hope every cardiologist can have the experience of “going to the Hill” in order to advocate for cardiovascular clinicians and the care of our patients. Continue reading

Helping Congress Transform Cardiovascular Care

This post was authored by Michelle Hadley, DO, a fellow in training at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MA.

I have always wanted to be impactful. In October, I attended ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. We met with our representatives on the House side, as well as with our senators. Unfortunately at that time, my district congressman was not in DC. Therefore, I took it upon myself to schedule a meeting in Worcester, MA, to meet with him.

Rep. Jim McGovern’s (D-MA) office was a big, open floor plan. All the side doors were open and every turn seemed to be greeted with a smiling face. Before I had time to completely take off my coat, the congressman walked out to introduce himself and extended his hand with a pleasant smile.  Continue reading

The Path Forward to Health Equity

Williams HeadshotThis post was authored by Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, MACC, immediate past president of the ACC.

Throughout my ACC presidency, I focused on bringing attention to health disparities and finding solutions to ensure all patients receive the cardiovascular care they deserve. While my presidential term has come to a close, I am determined to continue advocating for the underserved.

As part of National Minority Health Month, I joined colleagues and lawmakers in Washington, DC, last week at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center for the Democratic Forum on Achieving Health Equity: The Path Forward. I was honored to be invited by the House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats in partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (collectively known as the Congressional Tri-Caucus) to speak on a panel titled, “Examining Disparities Across the Continuum of Care through the Lens of Heart Disease.” Continue reading

Private Practice Cardiology: Advice For Young Mothers

This article was authored by Riya Chacko, MD, a cardiologist at the Cardiovascular Group of Syracuse in Syracuse, NY, and a member of the ACC Women in Cardiology (WIC) Section.

In fellowship, no one prepares you for the decisions you will face in private practice and certainly not the issues you might face as a young mother.  As a result, many young mothers fall out of the workforce. I’ve decided to list a few issues below which I think other young moms and cardiologists should consider before starting private practice: Continue reading

Past ACC President Selected to Chair World Heart Federation Partners Council

This post was authored by John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, past-president of the ACC.

I am honored to have been chosen as the chair of the World Heart Federation (WHF) Partners Council for 2016 on behalf of the ACC. In this new capacity representing the College, I led the first meeting of the WHF’s Partners Council in March 11 in London, England.

WHF President Salim Yusuf, MBBS, FACC, opened the meeting noting that the vision of the WHF is to work with members and the cardiovascular health community to hasten the day when cardiovascular health is no longer a privilege – but a right, and when cardiovascular disease is transformed from a life-threatening disease to one that can be prevented and managed in all populations. He added that the role of the WHF is to serve as the global facilitator, convener, trusted adviser and representative of cardiovascular disease stakeholders, driving the global cardiovascular health agenda by converting policy into action, through its members and a broader network of partners. Continue reading

Changing the Conversation: A Unique Approach to Legislative Practice Visits

This article was authored by Edward J. Toggart, MD, FACC, governor of the ACC Oregon Chapter.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), who is a veterinarian by trade and is in his 4th term in Congress. He currently serves on the House Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee. He also previously served as a member of the non-partisan Congressional Arts Caucus and was heavily involved in the repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).

I was contacted by ACC’s Grassroots Advocacy manager about an opportunity for Rep. Schrader to make a practice visit. After accepting the offer, I immediately began thinking about how to best approach the visit, including how to communicate the critical issues facing the cardiology community. Continue reading

Making Progress in Social Media and Medicine: Engagement at ACC.16

Campbell headshotThis post was authored by Kevin R. Campbell, MD, FACC, assistant professor of medicine, University of North Carolina, division of cardiology, and a presenter at ACC.16.

I was amazed by the uptick in Social media engagement at ACC.16. While 75 percent of all fortune 500 companies are represented and active on twitter, doctors have been quite slow to enter into the social media space. Many of us have who have pioneered social media in medicine have often felt like Dr. Sisyphus as we push the “Social Boulder” up the hill in order to show our colleagues the value of digital engagement. However, it appears that finally the tide is turning.

From the very outset of the meeting the hashtag #ACC16 began trending. Just in time for the annual sessions, the ACC recently created and published a Cardiology Hashtag Ontology reference guide in order to bring together the broad topics within cardiovascular disease so that common subjects of discussion can be easily identified, searched and catalogued. Continue reading

ACC.16 Video Highlights – Day 3

See more insightful interviews on the hottest topics and Late-Breaking Clinical Trials from the last day of ACC.16 on the ACC’s ACC.16 YouTube Playlist. For comprehensive coverage of the meeting from the fellow perspective, see the full list of FITs on the GO videos on ACC’s FITs on the Go YouTube Playlist. The FITs on the GO video blog provides an FIT perspective of the meeting, featuring interviews with top experts and cardiovascular leaders on news and events taking place at ACC.16. Highlights from the third day include:

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Special Issue of JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging Highlights Value of CV Imaging in Women

LESLEE_SHAW_HEADSHOTThis post was authored by Leslee J. Shaw, PhD, FACC, associate editor of JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging and a member of ACC’s Cardiovascular Disease in Women Committee.

For decades, we have heard all of the statistics that more women are dying of coronary heart disease than men. This early finding from the mid-1980s has continued to unfurl with additional data on unique biologic differences coupled with quality of care differences between women and men. All of these factors disadvantage women and illustrate the sizeable gap in knowledge relating to heart disease for females.

If the goals of our health care system are to provide high-quality care for all, then for half the population, we have truly failed! Is this too much of a nihilist’s perspective? Maybe, as gains have been made. We have gained tremendous insight into sex-specific differences over the past decade based on evidence from research using cardiovascular imaging.

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Who Cares About Lifestyle … I Want Science!

FreemanThis post was authored by Andrew Freeman, MD, FACC (@heartcuredoc)

I have definitely heard people question the importance of lifestyle before. Exercise up until recently was considered “alternative” medicine, and diet was considered an adjunct to pills. However, very good data and research are now showing that once seemingly innocent things – diet, exercise, smoking cessation and now even mindfulness – are proving to be as potent or more potent for the vast majority of diseases that we treat.

The clincher here is this: How many of us actually “cure” disease? The answer: Mostly none of us. The pills and procedures we do usually palliate, remediate, or slow progression of disease, but almost none of what we do cures the underlying problem.

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