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

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

Women’s History: Imaging, Quality and the Workforce

Douglas_PamelaThis post was written by Pamela S. Douglas, MD, MACC, a past president of the ACC and a member of ACC’s Women in Cardiology (WIC) Section.

I choose to specialize in cardiology because it combined a great mix of direct patient contact, therapeutic procedures, imaging and internal medicine. Medicine is a calling for me, and I love the breadth of cardiology and how all the components relate to each other and make each other richer.

I have spent much of my career focused on imaging. Our ability to see a heart beating in real time, watch valves opening and closing, is still awe inspiring and wonder-filled for me today. I’ve been a champion of quality in imaging and have worked to change the paradigm from quantity to quality in our guidelines and standards documents, regulatory processes and everyday practice. One of the important accomplishments of my ACC presidential year was to lead the College and the profession towards defining and adopting broad quality measures in imaging, developing appropriate use criteria and imaging outcomes metrics. The recent PROMISE randomized trial, the highlighted plenary presentation at ACC.15 and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is an example of how this work is continuing and has been translated into real-world data regarding imaging outcomes. Further insights from the PROMISE trial will be presented at ACC.16 and will be published in a special issue of JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging focused on imaging in women on April 4.

Continue reading

A History of Women’s Heart Health

NKWphoto2This post was authored by Nanette K. Wenger, MD, MACC, professor at the Emory University School of Medicine, director of the cardiac clinics at Grady Memorial Hospital and a member of ACC’s Women in Cardiology (WIC) Section.

As we celebrate the history of women in cardiology for women’s history month, it is important to emphasize women’s heart health as a part of that story. Although heart disease is the number one killer of women, cardiovascular disease was really thought of as a man’s disease until the last few decades.

Differing risk factors and symptoms for women weren’t really understood or recognized. Women who came in to the emergency room with chest pains were told they had a stomach problem or that they were imagining the pain and had emotional problems so they were sent home. Gender differences in heart disease remained unexplored and unacknowledged as women were underrepresented in or excluded from clinical trials and research and there were no guidelines to inform clinical decision-making. Continue reading

ACC’s WIC Section Celebrates Women’s History Month

Lewis headshotThis post was authored by Sandra Lewis, MD, FACC, chair of ACC’s Women in Cardiology (WIC) Section.

This March, ACC’s WIC Section is celebrating the achievements and history of female cardiologists. In a field typically dominated by men, pioneering women have brought diversity and innovation to cardiovascular medicine, enriching heart health and patient care.

Female cardiologists were once a rarity, with the first women physicians training during the 19th century. These early women physicians were determined to serve and broke down traditions and barriers to enter medical schools, crossing such hurdles as having their medical school admissions contingent on approval of their classmates. Their work created a strong model for us to build upon, setting the stage for the next generations to grow and thrive within the field. We continue to grow their accomplishments, and honor their contributions. Continue reading

One Year, Two Roles: A Perspective From a New Faculty Cardiologist and New Mom

MSThis article was authored by Monika Sanghavi, MD, assistant professor in the division of cardiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX, and a member of the ACC Women in Cardiology Section.

This academic year was a list of firsts for me. I bought my first home, started my first “real” job and had my first child. Despite lots of planning and plenty of support, I was confronted with the reality of “trying to do it all,” which previously was a theoretical concept. When I wrote the article, “Women in Cardiology: Introspection Into the Under-Representation” and explored reasons for the differences in ambition and academic success between men and women, the challenges seemed clear and the solutions achievable. However, it is not as simple as it seems. What was unfathomable at the time was the internal struggle that working mothers face.    Continue reading

The Role of the Cardiovascular Genetics Counselor

Marion Rae headshotThis article was authored by Marion E. McRae, MScN, ACNP-BC, CCRN-CSC-CMC, a nurse practitioner in the Congenital Heart Program at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

Genetics counselors have specialized training in medical genetics and counseling at either the masters or doctoral level and are certified through the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Many states offer genetic counseling licensure. Genetic counselors working in cardiovascular genetics have additional clinical training and/or continuing education with regard to cardiovascular disease. It is estimated that there are currently about 50 – 60 cardiovascular genetics counselors in the U.S. Continue reading

Gender Equality in Medicine: A Male Perspective

Bina Ahmed MDFrizzell HeadshotThis post was authored by Jarrod D. Frizzell MD, MS, second-year cardiology fellow, PGY-7, in the Division of Cardiology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and Bina Ahmed, MD, FACC, FSCAI, assistant professor of Interventional Cardiology at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque.

I (JDF) am a white male of European descent and, by that virtue alone, the clear majority in medicine. So why am I writing about women in cardiology? For three simple reasons: my wife, who is a surgeon, and my two daughters. I believe gender equity is an issue that should be a common cause between genders, and not solely one “for women, by women.” This is as true for medicine and cardiology as it is for society as a whole. Continue reading

Starting a Heart Center For Women: How It’s Been Done and How You Can Do It Too

This post was authored by Annabelle Santos Volgman, MD, FACC, member of the ACC Women in Cardiology member section.

Annabelle Santos Volgman Headshot CroppedThere have been more women than men dying from cardiovascular disease since 1984, yet, until recently, it was still thought of as a man’s disease. In 2000, the gap increased to about 70,000 more women than men! At this time, a concerted effort began in cardiology to narrow this gap. Heart centers for women began to open their doors around the country to take care of women with or at risk for heart disease.

Today at noon, the ACC Women in Cardiology (WIC) member section will host the panel discussion, “How to Start a Heart Center for Women.” Come to the WIC Lounge in the Lounge and Learn Pavilion and learn about the different ways to start a heart center for women in your medical center or community. If you are thinking of starting one or are interested in hearing more about heart centers for women, this will give you invaluable insight into how successful they can be. Continue reading

A Story of Perseverance: Minority Women in Cardiology

Ponce, SoniaThis post was authored by Sonia G. Ponce, MD, a fellow in training at the University of New Mexico and a member of the ACC’s Women in Cardiology Member Section.

Young women from impoverished parts of rural Mexico are not expected to pursue much education or professional careers. The lack of expectations is driven by many factors, most rooted in our patriarchal society. As a young girl, I became aware of huge gender inequities and feared my fate as a woman. But as I grew older, I was determined to not let poverty and gender inequality hold me back. I committed myself to my own education and set down the path of becoming a doctor. Continue reading