Covering #AHA21 as an Early-Career Blogger

It has been a month after the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2021. Not only was this year my first time attending the conference, but it was also my first time ever covering a scientific meeting as an early career blogger. As a participant in the AHA Early Career and FIT Blogging program, the AHA sponsored my access to the conference and my media pass – so fancy!

My favorite aspect of Scientific Sessions was the balance between basic and translational scientific research. As an early-career PhD scientist who primarily works at the bench, it’s easy to limit myself to the day-to-day routine of basic science work. Attending Scientific Sessions gave me the opportunity to expand my viewpoint: from viewing posters on cellular signal transduction in the morning to attending clinical talks about the latest cardiovascular treatment breakthroughs in the afternoon, the conference really had it all. The opportunity to interact with clinicians and industry partners was particularly meaningful, as it broadens my perspectives on how our basic understanding of human physiology translates into tangible, impactful solutions for patients (check out my coverage of the effectiveness of non-statin therapies in reducing low-density lipoprotein C, the “bad” cholesterol, here). Most importantly, attending sessions on health equity allowed me to reflect on the current challenges of addressing health disparities and informed my research philosophy in my own work.

Being an early career blogger also allows me to network with other early career bloggers on social media (#SciTwitter, anyone?). Due to the diversity of session topics, it was impossible to attend every session. The AHA bloggers’ live tweets and coverage of different conference sessions, however, gave me a pleasant conference experience: if I missed a session, I could read their coverage and check out recorded sessions I might have missed. Beyond the conference, I remain connected to my fellow bloggers on multiple social media platforms, an invaluable opportunity for my own professional development.

The American Heart Association recruits early career bloggers every year for The Early Career Voice, the organization’s platform to amplify the contribution of early career scientists and clinicians. Be sure to apply to the program – we need your insights to shape our conversations on science, mentorship, and professional development!

“The views, opinions and positions expressed within this blog are those of the author(s) alone and do not represent those of the American Heart Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. The Early Career Voice blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.”