AHA FITs at Scientific Sessions 2019

It is hard to believe that a year has passed between my first blog for the Early Career Voice and now! That first blog was a dispatch from Sessions 2018 and covered the redesign of the Sessions programming for fellows-in-training (FIT) and early career (EC) members. Because of the success of last year’s iteration, the AHA FIT Steering Committee entrusted the FIT Planning Subcommittee with creating a bigger and better FIT/EC experience at Sessions 2019. After the first day of AHA 2019, I think we are on our way to fulfilling that charge.

Since last year, a few hundred additional FIT have joined the AHA FIT program and have benefited from the range of opportunities provided through AHA committees and councils. The FIT Planning Subcommittee also launched a quarterly membership newsletter that showcases our progress and initiatives over the past year.

Our goal for this year’s Sessions 2019 programming was to create a dynamic, diverse, and inclusive slate of sessions that incorporates the breadth of cardiovascular and neurovascular medicine and science. New this year are sessions in vascular neurology, pediatric cardiology, wellness and burnout, innovation and technology, cardiac critical care, cardiac electrophysiology, and the fellow-to-faculty transition. Even though we were gifted with a Lounge twice the size of last year’s, we aimed to maintain an intimate and casual atmosphere that would facilitate one-on-one interactions between FIT/ECs and our faculty.

Once again, the first day of programming exceeded our expectations. Saturday started with a session on careers in vascular neurology with Drs. Ashutosh Jadhav, Louise D. McCullough, and Brett Cucchiara. Drs, Mohamed B. Elshazly, Akl Fahed, Annabelle Volgman, and Seth Shay Martin joined us for an eye-opening session on exploring the intersections of entrepreneurship and clinical care. We revived one of last year’s favorite sessions – Matching into Cardiology Fellowship: The Inside Scoop from Program Directors & AHA FITs – with Drs. Omar Siddiqi, Pamela Mason, Eric Yang, and Julia Indik and heard from medical students, residents, and international medical graduates interested in careers in cardiovascular medicine. A highlight of the day was AHA President Dr. Robert Harrington’s visit to the FIT/EC Lounge in which he shared a preview of his Sunday presidential address and spoke about the importance of early career members to the AHA. Next, Drs. Erin Michos and Laxmi Mehta shared their personal and crowdsourced strategies for maintaining balance and wellness during training and practice. We focused our women in cardiology session around the issue of personal advocacy this year, and Drs. Harriette Van Spall, Biykem Bozkurt, Mary Cushman, and Monika Sanghavi gave powerful testimonies about their own experiences in self-advocacy both within and outside the workplace. We concluded the day with a high-yield session on developing careers in pediatric cardiology with Drs.  Kiona Allen, Bradley Marino, Joseph Rossano, Shelley Miyamoto, and Antonio Cabrera. FIT/EC Lounge programming continues into Sunday and Monday with 11 more hours of programming designed by FIT/ECs for FIT/ECs.

If you were unable to attend Sessions 2019, keep an eye out for our Sessions recap in our upcoming December 2019 AHA FIT Newsletter and follow the hashtags #AHAFIT and #AHAEarlyCareerBlogger on Twitter!


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