Just in the Nick of Time!
By Wanda C. Miller-Hance, MD
As I write this piece and reflect back, I cannot help but think about how fortunate we were to have such a terrific CCAS Annual Meeting just a few months ago, before an unprecedented pandemic altered so many aspects of our lives. Unquestionably, this event has been catastrophic worldwide; our hearts go out to all who have suffered in many different ways.
On top of this, the recent social events that have once again brought to the forefront the ubiquitous issue of racial injustice in our society have no doubt stirred us to our very core. Although it might be somewhat difficult to find a reason to celebrate in the midst of all of this, there is contentment in looking back at our recent Annual Meeting and the many highlights that characterized the gathering. There are also reasons to continue to be optimistic that the future of our Society will be bright.
All CCAS annual meetings (in my opinion) have been special, but what was different or unique about this one? Here are some of the things worth commemorating: one, the meeting took place for the first time outside the United States, at an acclaimed international destination; two, the diverse faculty from various countries offered a unique international perspective on congenital cardiac care, which we had not had in the past; and three, we had the privilege of being joined by colleagues in our field from all over the world.
Several other exceptional features of this annual meeting are worth mentioning. We were delighted to start off the day by highlighting the accomplishments of our Society to date, and it was amazing to see how much we have evolved over time. We were honored to have Dr. Paul Hickey deliver the distinctive Dolly D. Hansen lecture, a wonderful presentation that among many things honored her contributions to the specialty.
To wrap up the day, we were thrilled to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of CCAS at a very special evening reception. Our sincere gratitude to Drs. Spaeth, Nicolson, and Latham of the Program Committee for the superb job they did organizing the program, to all the speakers for their excellent presentations, to all the members who attended, and to the folks at Ruggles, especially Stewart Hinckley and Kim Battle, for all their assistance and support.
We are proud that our Society has grown to include more than 1,200 members from nearly all continents. From an organizational perspective, we now have seven formal committees, two of which were recently created (the Research Committee and the Membership Recruitment, Engagement and Retention Committee). Another one, the Safety and Quality Committee, is now accepting nominations for leadership and membership as it prepares to launch. These join the Education, Communication, Database, and Nominations Committees, each of which will continue to play a key role in further advancing the various missions of our Society. We appreciate all of their work and encourage you to also get involved.
We have made significant progress toward our goal to collaborate with other professional organizations with which we share common interests, the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society (PCICS), American Society of Extracorporeal Technology (AmSECT), and the Congenital Heart International Professionals (ChiP Network). Our Society is also actively involved in the Neonatal Cardiac Collaborative and the planning program for the 8th World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery to take place next year. These interactions no doubt will further enhance our connections with other professionals.
Recently, we were delighted to hold our very first CCAS webinar on the timely topic of "‘COVID-19 and Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesia Programs." A lively panel discussion with representatives from various institutions was part of the offering. The webinar was well received, and the feedback has been very positive. If you missed it, we encourage you to view the recorded session now posted on our website.
Subsequent to this, our Society has just published a document entitled "Considerations for Pediatric Heart Programs During COVID-19: Recommendations from the Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Society" led by Dr. David Faraoni and co-authored by various members of our organization in one of our leading journals, Anesthesia and Analgesia.
A second webinar representing a joint effort between CCAS and the Congenital Heart Academy, a web-based educational platform dedicated to healthcare providers worldwide was held on Thursday June 11th. The session presented a ‘2020 Update on Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia’ and almost 600 participants attended. We hope to continue to offer web-based educational activities to our members.
One very important subject that we do not want to overlook is our unwavering support of the Dolly D. Hansen fund and our desire to fulfill Dr. Hansen’s wishes to promote education and research within our specialty through this fund. Several institutions, along with the CCAS Board of Directors, and many of you, have been fully behind this effort from the time the fund was established. We are extremely grateful for that. We have recently initiated formal discussions to determine how best to allocate these funds in the near future in order to meet its aims. As we do so, we will continue to need your support so that this initiative can continue for many years to come. There are many different ways to donate; you can even schedule regular deductions over time if you wish. If you have questions, we are happy to help; please consider making a contribution.
Finally, I hope that you and your loved ones continue to be well and stay healthy. Have a wonderful Summer! We hope to stay in touch!