Author + information
- Alfred A. Bove, MD, PhD, FACC, ACC President⁎
- ↵⁎Address correspondence to:
Alfred A. Bove, MD, PhD, FACC, American College of Cardiology, 2400 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
During the last few years, other leaders in the College and I have had the opportunity to meet with cardiovascular professionals and cardiovascular societies throughout the world. As we share experiences with the global cardiovascular community, we quickly realize that we share common ground in our attempts to provide quality care to patients with cardiovascular disease and generally improve cardiovascular health in our countries.
Our concerns are very similar. Coronary disease incidence is increasing in many countries, and the increase is most likely related to the increased incidence of obesity, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome. Hypertension is a serious public health problem in many countries. Cardiologists on a global level are searching for programs to educate people about hypertension and manage it in the developed and developing world. We are all interested in ensuring quality of care, preventing overuse or inappropriate use of procedures, and pursuing care that follows evidence-based clinical guidelines. The U.S. is not alone when it comes to concerns about the increasing cost of health care, as other countries are faced with similar challenges to contain costs and still provide quality care.
It is also interesting to note that our advocacy efforts for better patient care are gaining attention outside the U.S., and our guidelines and practice standards are being used throughout the world. In recent years, the international membership of the College has grown to more than 4,000. These are cardiovascular professionals who live and practice in other countries. In other words, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) has truly become a global organization.
The ACC Board of Trustees (BOT), recognizing this new paradigm, has responded by creating the International Council of the ACC. The Council, which reports to the BOT, will provide a forum for members outside of the U.S. to ensure that their needs are being met. Huon Gray, MD, FRCP, FACC, is chair of the new Council. Dr. Gray is a practicing cardiologist in the United Kingdom and a former president of the British Cardiovascular Society. The new International Council, which replaces the International Committee, raises the profile of the ACC's international activities within the College's leadership structure. The new Council comprises well-known cardiologists from outside of the U.S. Members of the International Committee, whose terms had not yet expired, have been retained as advisers to the International Council.
In addition to the International Council, the College has created an International Member Section. The International Member Section serves as the home for ACC's international members and is open to U.S. members who are interested in being a part of the College's international activities. The Section provides a forum for engagement, enabling international members to have a voice in the governance of the ACC.
In order to ensure that our efforts meet the needs of members at a “grassroots” level, the ACC has also launched an international chapter program that allows fellows of the College to form ACC chapters in their home countries. Of course, the formation of an ACC chapter must be approved by that country's national cardiovascular society. Once formed, the country-level chapters will send representatives to an International Assembly that will meet twice yearly and will report to the International Council.
April, my first month as ACC President, proved to be an international month. I had the opportunity to participate in the initiation of the Malaysian Chapter of the ACC, our first international chapter. This new chapter was launched during the annual meeting of the National Heart Association of Malaysia and will work closely with the society. Together, the new ACC chapter and the National Heart Association of Malaysia are committed to bringing quality cardiac care to the people of Malaysia.
I also was able to participate in the first International Cardiovascular Conference: Focus on the Middle East, a meeting collaboratively organized by the ACC and the Indiana University Medical School. The event was hosted in Indianapolis by Douglas Zipes, MD, MACC, a past president of the ACC. This was a wonderful opportunity to speak with cardiologists from many countries in the Middle East and to hear of their concerns. To no one's surprise, what we heard was familiar to us as they, too, are dealing with diabetes, obesity, and hypertension—conditions that threaten large segments of their populations.
The ACC's efforts on other global fronts will continue throughout 2009 and 2010. ACC.10 in Atlanta will include the international program concept, which was introduced by immediate past president Douglas Weaver, MD, MACC, at ACC.09 in Orlando. At that meeting, the ACC held 14 joint symposia with national cardiovascular societies from all parts of the world. Speakers came to present data from their countries—science that was specific to their countries' individual goals and epidemiology that compared various countries around the world. Their messages were clear and familiar. We all recognize the need for early detection and prevention of cardiovascular disease. As we form these new relationships, refresh friendships, and exchange information, it becomes clear that as cardiovascular professionals, we are part of a single, global community.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation