March 25th, 2012

Face to Face with the Living Legends

Several Cardiology Fellows who are attending ACC.12 this week are blogging together on CardioExchange.  The Fellows include Tariq AhmadBill CornwellMegan CoylewrightJeremiah Depta, and John Ryan (moderator). Read the previous post here. Read the next post here.

Most professional groups have a group of “living legends”: people who have revolutionized the way they practice their job. For guitarists, it is  Eric Clapton; for computer scientists, it is Bill Gates; for basketball players, it is Michael Jordan.

Most people do no get to meet their idols. Today, at ACC 2012, during a session organized by a group of fellows from across the world, trainees in cardiology were able to have face-to-face time with some of cardiology’s living legends. We had read their papers, we had watched them be interviewed: for one of the first times at a national meeting, we were able to meet them and speak to them in person.

I sat beside Dr. Valentine Fuster, from Mount Sinai, who listened intently to my career goals, and offered sage advice. I discussed the state of heart failure research with Dr. Clyde Yancy and listened to what skills Dr. Lynn Stevenson felt are key to becoming a well trained cardiologist. Dr. Tom Bashore and I talked about the future of cardiology training programs, as well as his thoughts about the Ohio State-Syracuse game tonight (he is a big Ohio State fan). Drs. Richard Becker and Samuel Goldhaber spoke with me about my research project on studying adverse thrombotic events in LVAD patients.

This event was a tremendous success. I could tell from turnout as well as from my conversations with other fellows that this session has likely earned a spot in all future meetings.

I do not think that I will even forget the impact of the personal interactions I had today. It was a talk I heard by Dr. Fuster in medical school that attracted me towards internal medicine, witnessing Dr. Patrick O’Gara’s clinical skills made me chose cardiology as a sub-specialty, and inspiration from Dr. Stevenson’s example attracted me towards heart failure. Today, I had the honor to sitting across from them in an informal manner, something I could never do online or by reading a paper.

As the sounds of Michigan Ave. die down, I am busy at work planning the next day’s itinerary. The ACC has constructed an excellent online tool that can be used to plan the day’s events.

The only drawback is my inability to attend multiple sessions at the same time.

Decision, decisions…

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