Why Get Involved with the AHA as a Trainee?

Keeping tradition with Dr. Ivor Benjamin’s visit to the AHA FIT & Early Career Lounge last year, current AHA President Dr. Bob Harrington came by the Lounge today to engage and interact with FITs and research trainees alike. He expounded on his own journey towards the AHA Presidency, from getting involved with the AHA as a cardiology fellow to volunteering on many councils within the organization.

His path was one filled with persistence and hard work, yet he emphasized the importance of mentorship in his career trajectory. At Duke University, Dr. Robert Califf served as an early mentor of his, and Dr. Harrington continues to collaborate with Dr. Califf on research projects, he said that he still views him as a career mentor. Yes, even while holding arguably the peak leadership role within American cardiology, the President of the AHA still has mentors who advise him.

At another FIT/Early Career session, Dr. Jared Magnani, Chair of the FIT Programming Committee, emphasized the role of knocking on doors, seeking out opportunities, and seeking out mentors. While we may feel like we have wonderful mentors at our home institutions, it is crucial to broaden your horizon and learn about the breadth of career paths that have been tread elsewhere.

So, why get involved with the AHA as a trainee? Mentorship. Opportunities. And the opportunities to meet mentors.

For a more detailed list of the opportunities that exist for AHA FITs to get involved, see the AHA FIT Newsletter published earlier this year.

But by getting involved with the AHA as a trainee, whether it be through applying for research funding or volunteering for committees within your council, allows you the unique opportunity to network with mentors (faculty & peer) from across the country. These people can become invaluable resources as you progress in your career, and as Dr. Harrington reiterated, it is crucial to find mentors in all aspects – research, clinical, leadership, work-life balance, etc.

Dr. Harrington’s Q&A session in the FIT Lounge today demonstrated the AHA leadership’s willingness and readiness to be available to mentor trainees. As a trainee, getting involved with the AHA demonstrates your willingness and readiness to be mentored by them.

To learn more about mentorship opportunities through the AHA as a FIT/Trainee, please email ahafellows@heart.org.

And to learn about how to Cultivate a Successful Mentor/Mentee Relationship, stop by the AHA FIT & Early Career Lounge tomorrow at 10am to hear tips from our faculty panelists.

The AHA FIT Programming Subcommittee with AHA President, Dr. Bob Harrington.

The AHA FIT Programming Subcommittee with AHA President, Dr. Bob Harrington.


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