Author + information
- Steven E. Nissen, MD, FACC, President, American College of Cardiology⁎
- ↵⁎Address correspondence to:
Dr. Steven E. Nissen, American College of Cardiology, c/o Cathy Lora, 9111 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, Maryland 20814-1699.
This month, we celebrate the relocation of American College of Cardiology (ACC) to our new home at 2400 North Street NW, right in the heart of Washington, DC—a move that acknowledges the growth of the College and will help us address the daunting challenges facing cardiovascular medicine.
The decision to move from the current Heart House campus in Bethesda, Maryland, to downtown Washington was the result of considerable research and analysis involving many members aided by our outstanding staff. The central themes underlying this decision included the need for a larger and better-configured facility to respond to our growth in membership and our increased scope of activity. Most important, this relocation reflects the need for a strong presence in Washington to interact with legislative and regulatory leaders.
A great strength of the College throughout its many years has been the ability of the organization to adapt to the evolving needs of its members. In the early years, the ACC sought to provide a home for cardiovascular practitioners and a few internists who were interested in treating heart disease. The original focus of the College concentrated on providing continuing medical education to the rapidly evolving specialty of cardiovascular medicine. Later, the College extended its activities to include the academic and research community. Finally, in recent years, the College mission has broadened once again to include the development of relationships with Congress, regulatory authorities, and third-party payers. The College’s move from New York to Bethesda in the Washington, DC, suburbs in 1965 reflected these initial transitions.
One of the College’s early founders, Franz Groedel, who advocated its growth to include academic physicians, once wrote: “Each can learn from the other: the practicing physician from the research man, the research man from the practitioner” (1). The move to Bethesda and the construction of the Heart House in 1977 tacitly acknowledged the need for the College to become one of the “educators” about heart disease, not just for members, but for legislators and government regulators as well. Recognizing the importance of education, our predecessors built a state-of-the-art educational facility in the Bethesda Heart House.
The move to our new Heart House in Washington recognizes the changing environment in which the College and the profession must operate in the 21st century. Today’s extremely challenging political climate requires that we adopt a strong, proactive advocacy role in educating legislators, regulators, and payers about cardiovascular medicine and the science of quality in health care. Our mission now requires a constant effort to preserve our rights as physicians to determine the best method of care for our patients.
In the contemporary environment, the College must also work with many other organizations to build alliances and coalitions that expand science, information, and quality cardiovascular health care. As the premier cardiovascular organization, the College is also expanding internationally to fulfill the global responsibilities inherent in our status.
Size increases needs and responsibilities
We have grown enormously in the last decade into an organization that now represents approximately 34,000 members, including new-member categories, and employs more than 250 staff members. The need to disseminate knowledge requires new state-of-the-art educational facilities, improved meeting spaces, and enhanced access to related organizations. The Washington Heart House provides the College and its members with a more accessible physical presence close to the center of the federal government. It enables us to take a more active role as an alliance and coalition builder among other health organizations, regulatory agencies, payers, and global organizations.
The new Heart House is a visible manifestation that the College is the key representative of cardiovascular practitioners within the federal government. We are also now better positioned to assist the media in understanding cardiovascular care worldwide. When we consider the College’s concerns for quality in patient care and the need to influence regulatory, legal, and legislative policy, the ACC’s new home could not be better situated.
From the beginning, the College provided a home for physicians who specialize in cardiovascular care. Today, our constituency is broader, reflecting the importance of a cardiac care team that includes more than just clinical, research, and academic physicians. We now have a vibrant and rapidly growing membership that includes nurses and physician-assistants who work in cardiovascular medicine practices.
The College has encountered many challenges in its history and nimbly adjusted to meet them, recognizing the need to expand its role to meet the needs of the profession and patients. The College’s expansion and relocation have been a natural outgrowth of the changes occurring in medicine and society. The move to Washington marks the next phase in the evolution of the premier cardiovascular professional society. We hope you will visit the new facility and come to feel at home in our new headquarters.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation
- Fye B.