November 6th, 2012

Cardiology Circles and the AHA

Several Cardiology Fellows who are attending AHA.12 in LA this week are blogging together for CardioExchange. The Fellows include Tariq AhmadReva Balakrishnan, Megan Coylewright, Eiman Jahangir, Amit Shah, and John Ryan (moderator). Read the previous post here. Find the next one here. For related CardioExchange content, go to our AHA 2012 Headquarters page.

When planning my trip to the AHA meeting, I had three major goals: to meet old friends, to make connections, and to learn about new science.

Since arriving here, I admit that I have spent the majority of my time on the “social” goals. Soon after arriving at LA on Sunday, I quickly made my way towards the convention center to attend the late breakers. En route, I ran into friends from residency and spent quite a bit of time catching up (time well spent, I must add). We spoke about our clinical and research interests and the differences between our training programs.

During the late breakers, I bumped into the first cardiology attending I ever had as an intern, and he asked me about my current research and future goals. As always, he gave me sage advice.

Soon after the presentations were over, I met my co-fellows and attended the Duke Reception for current and past trainees of the program. This turned out to be an excellent opportunity to socialize with faculty members in an entirely different way, as well as to meet previous trainees at other major institutions who were nostalgic about their time in fellowship and eager to talk to current fellows.

After the reception, our fellowship program director took us out to an excellent Spanish restaurant. Once again, we were able to mingle outside of the work setting. I learnt more about some my co-workers in one night than I have after having worked with them for more than 2 years.

The next day, I felt guilty about having traveled across the country only to spend the majority of my time with people from back home. I shared this thought with my colleagues, but to my surprise, they had very similar experiences. AHA is primarily about developing and forming new connections, they said. One particularly cynical cardiology fellow (who shall remain unnamed) said that he could always read about the results on a popular cardiology website, but there was no better venue for networking.

This might be an important sentiment, especially as people increasingly use the internet to learn. Certainly, for me, the social interactions during this meeting have had the highest “yield.”

Google “Circles” allows us to organize our friends according to level of importance. I think that meetings such as the AHA give us the opportunity both to enrich our own current “circles” and to add new ones.

However, the one aspect of this meeting I have found ironic is that so much time is spent at these meetings with people who are already in your inner circle and so little time getting to know new people. Please weigh in: Has this been your experience? Would our time be better spent making new connections?

Comments are closed.