BOG and Chapters 101: How to Make the Most of Your ACC Membership

ShorThis post was authored by Robert A. Shor, MD, FACC, chair of ACC’s Board of Governors.

What is the ACC’s Board of Governors (BOG) and why should I care?

It is a privilege to serve as chair of the BOG this year. It is my mission to highlight and emphasize the integral value that ACC Chapters and their leaders provide to cardiovascular professionals across the U.S. and to ensure the goals of ACC’s state chapters also align with the College’s strategic plan. To begin, we must start at the very beginning – what are ACC Chapters? Who leads them? What do these leaders do?

Each state in the U.S., as well as Puerto Rico, has an ACC Chapter. Each of these Chapters is led by an elected president who by virtue of the position, is appointed to serve on the BOG for a three-year term. The BOG represents YOU the ACC’s members. As representatives, BOG members are responsible for bidirectional communication – providing information both to members and back to the College as a whole – about relevant state and national issues impacting patients and/or the ability to provide cost-effective and appropriate cardiovascular care.

I like to think of the BOG and ACC Chapters as incubators of ideas and instruments for action. There are countless examples of ACC programs and projects that were either born from BOG-led ideas, or were successful because of BOG and Chapter efforts on the ground. From SMARTCare, to the Door-to-Balloon initiative, to advocacy surrounding the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Maintenance of Certification changes, and the wider adoption of the ACC’s NCDR, ACC Chapters make a difference at local and national levels.

ACC members often ask what they can do to get involved. They ask what they can do to make a difference, to stay informed, to be heard. To this ask, I offer three simple action items. First, take the time to open the newsletters and communications that come from your local Chapter. Scan the communications for important and relevant information. These publications are compiled with your needs and interests in mind, and are typically sent monthly to quarterly. Next, when given the opportunity to voice your opinion – particularly in a formal, structured way – take it. Your feedback is tremendously important, and will continue to be a critical piece of our impact factor as we move forward. Your input makes a difference. Another MOC survey will be coming to you through the Chapters-please open, read and complete the survey!  Our voice must be and will be heard. Finally, take your membership in the ACC to the next level by getting involved in your state Chapter and in an ACC section – or more – that fit within your specialty or interest area. Our Chapters are the boots on the ground for the ACC and our sections provide smaller communities for members within our robust and growing membership of nearly 50,000.

We practice in interesting times, during which we are experiencing the byproducts of a rapidly changing health care delivery environment. We must be part of the process in crafting sensible changes to the benefit of our members – spanning the entire care team – and most importantly, our patients.  To make this impact, involvement is key. Attend your state’s next annual Chapter meeting. Contact your Chapter president. Let your BOG representative know what they can do as your local instrument for action with a national voice. Only together can we fulfill the ACC’s mission of transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health. Please do not hesitate to contact your Chapter to get involved and begin making a difference.

Follow @RobertShor on Twitter for more updates.

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