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Reflections from ACC 2024 Scientific Sessions: It’s Time!

Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.

Quality education, cutting-edge science, and the collaborative community were not eclipsed by the solar eclipse this weekend at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Scientific Sessions in Atlanta. Celebrating its 75-year history, the ACC witnessed the largest in-person attendance in the last five years, with the session rooms, expo hall, and stages buzzing with energy and engagement. ACC members were reminded why the College is our professional home to learn, to grow, and to share advances in cardiovascular care and outcomes. 

I attended my first ACC meeting during my internal medicine residency when I presented a poster on cardiac magnetic resonance imaging measures of diastolic dysfunction in women with open coronary arteries and microvascular dysfunction. New to the world of cardiology, I was inspired by the passionate scientists and educators who held themselves to the highest standards of evidence of knowledge. This spirit of the ACC remains steadfast this year as I witnessed sessions filled with clinicians eager to learn about diagnosis and management of ischemia with no obstructive coronary arteries, sex differences in cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular conditions in pregnancy. Now, 15 years later, I remain inspired by the science but also enlightened by other initiatives of the college, such as health equity, advocacy, and fostering the future. 

Equitable Care

How do we achieve equitable care in our community? The ACC Health Equity Hub provided critical discussions on maternal health equity, healthcare access in rural and underserved populations, and food as medicine. How can we affect change? 

  • Take grassroots action by responding to ACC Action Alerts to urge your member of Congress to advocate for health policies that ensure patient access to quality and cost-effective care, such as strengthening Medicare. 
  • Join the California ACC Lobby Day on May 15 in Sacramento, where we will tackle hot topics such as sudden cardiac arrest in student-athletes and obesity treatment coverage by health plans. Bring your fellows-in-training and cardiovascular team members to learn how to advocate for our profession and our patients.

Board Certification Update

For all of us who have been frustrated by burdensome board certification maintenance, it’s time! Thanks to the ACC and the close partnership with major cardiovascular societies, an application to the American Board of Medical Specialties was submitted in January to create a new board that will focus on learning assessments to identify gaps in current knowledge or skills and de-emphasize timed high stakes performance exams. A 90-day public comment period is coming soon — stay tuned to communication from the ACC regarding how you can advocate for this new cardiovascular board. In the meantime, cardiologists will need to continue to pay the fees and complete board certification through existing ABIM pathways.

State Chapters

Cardiovascular care continues to change as innovation meets science. We are fortunate to be in a field of continuous growth and to be supported by a community dedicated to professional development. However, we must all take action to strengthen and expand the pipeline of diverse trainees and to purposefully work towards an inclusive organization and profession. To avoid a cardiovascular workforce crisis in the face of an insufficient supply of physicians, APPs, nurses, and allied health professionals in our aging patient population, we need to promote team-based care and determine how artificial intelligence and digital platforms can help us lower barriers to care and improve effective and efficient health care delivery. I encourage all of us to be engaged with our state chapters to work together towards transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health for all.

Illustration by Jennifer Bogartz

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