PHA + ACC: ACCESS Partners

The Philippine Heart Association and American College of Cardiology officers with distinguished cardiology experts during the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the ACC Extended Scientific Summit (ACCESS)


Strengthening their dynamic alliance towards the shared goal of excellence in cardiovascular healthcare, the Philippine Heart Association (PHA), together with the American College of Cardiology (ACC), have embarked on a new thrust in cardiovascular education with a CME activity for its fellows and other specialists— the ACC Extended Scientific Summit (ACCESS)

By Lyka Mae P. Chiang

For over 50 years now, the American College of Cardiology(ACC) and the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) and the ACC have maintained a solid connection which allows establishing avenues of interaction that benefit both associations.

Thus, in 2012, as a brainchild of then PHA president Dr. Saturnino Javier and ACC president Dr. William Zoghbi, the ACC Chapter Philippines was formed.

A new milestone for the ACC Chapter Philippines, ACCESS is the pioneering CME activity which serves as a forum for extensive discussions on important concerns in Cardiology, and a foundation for continuous collaboration between the fellows and other members of the two associations.

On February 17, 2018—attended by the ASEAN ACC governors, ACC fellows, PCC, and other counterparts—the first-ever ACCESS, mind-crafted by Dr. Raul Lapitan, in the history was held at the Fairmont Makati Hotel. The event was supported thru a CME partnership/grant from LRI-Therapharma Inc.

Dr. Carl Michael Valentine, president-elect of the ACC

Dr. Lapitan, current governor of the ACC Chapter Philippines, says the forum provides the gates of opportunity for knowledge and key advancements in treatment and practice.

“It provides avenues to confront issues, controversies, and challenges inflicting various communities and an international venue of discussion towards encompassing resolutions with all-inclusive application and results,” says Dr. Lapitan.

Furthermore, Dr. Jorge Sison, current PHA president, says the activity can open doors for the global recognition of the association. With the ACC’s support, PHA and its members will be entitled to the remarkable advancements the college has to offer, such as an opportunity to get invited in their well-attended annual conventions in the US as well as to regional meetings conducted in various countries.

Dr. Raul Lapitan, ACC Governor and immediate past president of the PHA

Leadership training

It is the PHA and the ACC’s unified mission to involve the fellows-in-training (FIT) in the dynamic development of cardiovascular care. Through its partnership, the ACC provides PHA and its members, primarily the FIT, access to its expansive stock of educational resources.

“All the young people who are in training get free membership to the ACC,” says Dr. Carl Michael Valentine, incoming president of the ACC. “And so anybody who’s a member can go to our website and download all the educational programs, which is very important when people are trying to learn and gain new skills,” he adds.

Both the PHA and the ACC believe that by involving the FIT and giving them the chance to a journey of learning, their handful of skills and knowledge will become more extensive which can be used for the greater good in the future.

The organizations also recognize the importance of leadership training and have embarked on an activity that shapes young physicians to be excellent leaders in the making. Prior to the day when the ACCESS was conducted, together with Dr. Valentine, the PHA launched the PHA Leadership Academy.

“Leadership is something that is inherent. Many people are born very talented leaders but it’s also something that can be trained,” notes Dr. Valentine.

It is therefore the Academy’s duty to be a venue that trains and transforms physicians into better leaders in healthcare. In order to attain this vision, the Academy delivers lectures and workshops that teach young physicians salient leadership etiquettes—such as proper and seamless communication, conflict management, team building, finance, strategy planning, among others.

“It’s all about how to become a leader—practical things that you cannot find in the book,” explains Dr. Lapitan. “Because we’re cardiologists, we’re trained to evaluate a disease, to diagnose a condition, and to treat, but something that we haven’t been taught is leadership,” he adds.

Dr. Valentine notes that seven of the top 10 hospitals in the US are run by physicians, and the ACC envisions the same future here in the Philippines. That’s why they are contributing their fair share in shaping young Filipino physicians to become great leaders.

Women’s role in Cardiology

While the PHA stands as a beneficiary of the ACC, Dr. Valentine notes that the college benefits from the PHA as much as it does from the ACC.

“Learning is a two-way street and so when I’m here, I learn just as much from my Filipino colleagues as they learn from me,” explains Dr. Valentine.

If there is one thing Dr. Valentine has learned from the Philippines, it is the exemplary capabilities of Filipina cardiologists. According to him, the leadership roles of women in the Philippines are very diverse, in contrast to that of in the US.

“In the US, one of our problems is that we have done a poor job in attracting women and minorities to our subspecialty,” says Dr. Valentine. “We are conducting extensive research into that now,” he adds.

According to him, among the reasons they found why women aren’t going to cardiology are: 1) lack of encouragement from their leaders and their institutions, 2) the perception that the lifestyle cardiologists have is too difficult and thus, not fitting for women, and 3) lack of role models and mentors in training institutions that will guide them in the cardiology.

The ACC, however, has seen women leaders in the past, and Dr. Valentine stresses their exemplary feats—such as the leadership role in the college’s diversity ignition. As the new helm of the college, he seeks to continue what has been started in the college’s diversity program and is looking forward to expanding opportunities for women that will guide them in their practice.

Pursuing this mission, Dr. Valentine seeks help from the past women presidents of the PHA, who vowed to help the ACC in its venture of championing diversity in cardiology.

“I met with the former women presidents of the PHA this morning, and they said they would be honored and glad to help me learn more about our diversity plans in the United States and how we can recruit and attract more women to cardiology in America,” he reveals.

The Philippines and the United States have established a strong and mutually beneficial relationship in cardiovascular care through the ACC and the PHA. With the success of ACCESS, the country foresees a vivid future in cardiology training and practice.

Lapitan said: “We have set the tone and the impetus. Let us sustain till the next ACCESS and beyond. We did it because we were blessed with the right people who are devoted, resilient and innovative who share the ACC Chapter Philippines vision.”

Local and foreign faculty speakers during the open forum session

Both organizations have pledged that the ACCESS is just a jumpstart of their enduring collaboration, and they look forward to leading further education programs for Filipinos practicing cardiology.

May 2018 Health and Lifestyle

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