Author + information
- William A. Zoghbi, MD, FACC, ACC President* ()
- ↵*Address correspondence to:
William A. Zoghbi, MD, FACC, American College of Cardiology, 2400 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
The ancient Romans recognized March as the first month of spring and a logical point for the start of the year. March also means the start of a new year for the American College of Cardiology (ACC). Not only does it usher in new Fellows and Associates of the College, it also welcomes a new president, new trustees, governors, and other committee leaders.
As I reflect back to when I took the stage at Convocation in ACC.12 as your ACC President, I predicted that it would be an exciting year for the College; I wasn't wrong. I came into my presidential year with a thematic focus on patient-centered care, an approach that emphasizes involving patients in medical decision-making, integrating care across the healthcare team, and paying as much attention to disease prevention and healthy behaviors as to treating existing disease. I am proud to say that the College has made tremendous headway in promoting this style of care throughout the ACC's many endeavors, including, for the first time, having a public member on the ACC Board of Trustees. In this, my last President's Page, I'd like to highlight some of our achievements in this area.
Reaching Out on the Web…
The state of cardiovascular health in the United States and around the globe demands our attention and action. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 16.7 million individuals die each year from cardiovascular disease (CVD), about 29% of deaths globally. By 2020, chronic diseases and CVD will account for almost three-fourths of all deaths. Within the United States, CVD is the main threat: 1 in 3 Americans has some form of the disease, and by 2030, it is expected to increase to about 40% of the population—unless concerted efforts can reverse these trends.
A recent CardioSurve survey found that the vast majority of cardiologists (92%) believe there is a need for a patient education resource developed by cardiologists and other cardiovascular specialists to provide the tools patients need to make healthier choices and to better connect with their health care team. CardioSmart is this resource. ACC's CardioSmart staff worked tirelessly over the last year incorporating feedback from ACC members and patients alike to make this the best all-around cardiovascular resource on the web.
Just last month, the College rolled out the redesigned site, which now includes specialized condition centers, an online activity tracker, and links to a variety of new CardioSmart tools such as text messaging, mobile apps, CardioSmartTV™, a CardioSmart Clinical Community where individuals and patients can share experiences and ideas, and practice toolkits. Existing text messaging streams are focused on heart disease prevention tips (PREVENT) and smoking cessation (QUIT/DEJA). The site can be accessed in both English as well as Spanish. The CardioSmart Explorer App, which is available for free to ACC members, is an excellent point-of-care tool for visually educating patients about their disease and procedure.
Meanwhile, the new CardioSource Clinical Community, under the guidance of Editor Andrew Freeman, MD, FACC, introduces ACC members to ways in which CardioSmart can facilitate patient-centered care, while CardioSmartTV aims to provide educational programming concerning heart health for patients in a practice or hospital waiting room. I encourage all of you to explore this CardioSmart “ecosystem” and become familiar with its offerings so you can share the wealth of resources with your patients, colleagues, friends, and family.
Reaching Out to the Community…
CardioSmart has also made strides this past year in reaching vulnerable and under-served populations to educate, engage, and empower. The ACC partnered with the Association of Black Cardiologists on 4 “Spirit of the Heart” events in 2012 (3 in my home state of Texas and one in New York City). The goal behind this innovative program is to increase awareness of heart disease and promote better heart health in high-risk communities through weekend long events that include a call to action leadership forum, free heart disease screenings, and outreach programs based in community churches. A fifth Spirit of the Heart Event will take place March 5 in Oakland as part of CardioSmart activities at ACC.13 in San Francisco. The College also worked closely with Coca Cola's Live Positively campaign and the North Carolina ACC Chapter to educate NASCAR fans about heart healthy lifestyle choices and cardiopulmonary resuscitation at several track walks in North Carolina.
The ACC is a proud partner of the Million Hearts initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017 and has, through our national chapters, promoted this goal with educational and community events. The ACC also joined together with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to support women's heart health through The Heart Truth®Red Dress CollectionSM 2013 Fashion Show on February 6 as part of Fashion Week in New York City. With the support of the fashion industry, The Heart Truth once again spotlighted the Red DressSM as the issue's national symbol to prompt women to take action and protect their hearts.
In addition, the ACC also held a number of other activities throughout February for both members and consumers, including a special Twitter chat focused on women's heart health that included CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief JoAnne Foody, MD, FACC, and other experts. On National Heart Health Awareness Day, February 14, CardioSmart had free heart risk screenings and educational awareness at major national health care institutions and academic medical centers. Lastly, USA Today is putting together a supplement on Heart Health with the aim of giving hope to patients; they invited us to write a preface to the issue, which we entitled, “Prevention Trumps Treatment.”
Reaching Out Around the World…
In 2012, the College expanded its international outreach to promote collaboration and knowledge exchange, with the goal of improving heart health worldwide: we initiated 10 new international chapters this past year alone, bringing the current total to 26. (I was honored to be at 6 of these chapter inaugurations, including the one in my home country of Lebanon.) International membership, currently at 6,300 members, is the fastest-growing membership segment (15% to 20%/year) in the College. As a result of this unprecedented growth, we are in a position to carry the patient-centered care message around the world.
Global access to online educational tools, as well as the latest clinical science, means we can more quickly disseminate and share information with each other and with patients. In addition to the offering of CardioSmart in Spanish, this past year for example, we were able to translate CardioSmart materials into Chinese for the first-ever patient-centered event at the Great Wall meeting in China. (You can see photos on the ACC's Facebook page.) At ACC.13, live streaming of certain sessions will mean greater access to science and education for those members unable to attend the meeting in person.
International growth also provides an opportunity for the cardiovascular world to unite as one voice on global policies that can improve lives. One key issue at the forefront of the College's global agenda is the alarming rise in mortality from global noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The College, working with its global partners, is committed to helping reduce premature NCD mortality by 25% by the year 2025 (1). In January, I was at the WHO meeting in Geneva with our partners from the World Heart Federation, American Heart Association, and European Society of Cardiology where the WHO Executive Board approved plans for the NCD targets to achieve this laudable global health goal.
As I said at the beginning, it's been an exciting year—for the ACC, and for me personally as president. I am thankful for my family who supported me every step along the way, for my colleagues at the Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, our member volunteers, and the incredible ACC staff who are tireless in their efforts to support the mission and vision of the College. On Monday, March 11, I will officially pass the presidential baton to John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, as part of the College's annual Convocation ceremony. I hope to leave behind a legacy that ensures patient-centered care is at the heart of all our activities. To improve outcomes, we need to collaborate and have everyone on the same page. It is our duty to provide the best cardiovascular health information and valuable tools for health care providers to improve care and strengthen communication with patients.
I am confident that we are “CardioSmarter” than when we began this journey together, and I look forward to a healthier future for us all.
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- World Heart Federation, American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology Foundation, European Heart Network, European Society of Cardiology