Our Past Has Been Great, And Our Future Will Be Even Better!
By Wanda C. Miller-Hance, MD
Pretty amazing that another year is over! Year after year, it has been exciting to consider the tremendous accomplishments of the Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Society—and this past year was no exception.
The annual meeting is always one of the highlights of the year, so I will start with that. In March, we had a terrific 2019 CCAS Annual Meeting in Houston. We appreciate the hard work of Dr. Kirsten C. Odegard (program chair), the members of the program committee, the speakers, and those involved in all the educational activities. We must also thank the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia for its support and highlight the tremendous help of Kim Battle, Stewart Hinckley, and the folks at Ruggles, who always make the meeting a delightful opportunity for us to come together as a society.
We are especially excited that, for the first time, selected CCAS 2019 meeting abstracts have been featured in a journal, Seminars in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia. Dr. Greg Latham has done a superb job of highlighting current research at our meeting in the Journal by providing a synopsis of selected abstract presentations and discussing their importance (see his overview at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1089253219867696). The individual abstracts are available at https://journals.sagepub.com/page/scv/collections/ccas-abstracts; please check them out.
This year’s CCAS Annual Meeting promises to be no less successful. The meeting will take place on February 27, 2020 at the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas—the first time that the meeting is being held outside the United States. Accordingly, the event will have an international flavor! The program will focus on congenital cardiac care and will include roundtable and problem-based-learning discussions, followed by sessions on ventricular assist devices, perioperative care in various regions of the world, cardiopulmonary bypass, and training in congenital cardiac anesthesia. In addition, CCAS will reach a remarkable milestone next year—that is, its 15th anniversary—and to celebrate this landmark, we are planning a very special reception at the end of the day. Make sure you do not miss that!
We have been working on a number of initiatives this year. One of them, the CCAS International Campaign, originated as a pilot program after a few members gathered informally to discuss potential projects that could support the society’s aim to build bridges among professionals around the world who are committed to excellence in our specialty. The idea was for these members to reach out to friends outside North America and invite them to join CCAS, while sponsoring their memberships. The overarching vision was to expand the CCAS network so that we can exchange ideas, learn, teach, and support one another toward achieving our ultimate goals of improving patient care and advancing the field. We are thrilled that, as a result of this preliminary effort, today we have several new colleagues who have become international members of CCAS. We have now opened the program for any interested member to sponsor an international colleague through the Sponsor an International CCAS Member initiative.
I am pleased to report that we have made substantial progress on two other CCAS projects over the last few months: the revision of our society bylaws, soon to be considered by the SPA Board of Directors; and the establishment of collaboration agreements with other professional societies with which we share common interests. The need to revisit the bylaws stemmed from the recognition that our society has grown significantly over time and that we must restructure the organization to advance our various missions. The collaborations arose from a desire to formally join efforts with colleagues in related fields and specialties, in order to increase our interactions, further strengthen our alliances, contribute to writing projects, and work together to overcome some of the challenges we face daily while caring for our patients. Stay tuned for further progress in these two areas!
Related to the society’s increasing needs, we have recently created, or are in the process of organizing, various committees and special interest groups to address areas such as research, membership, and trainees. We are thrilled that Dr. David Faraoni has gracefully agreed to lead the CCAS Research Committee and that Dr. Luis Zabala will soon join forces with others in the CCAS Committee on Member Recruitment, Retention, and Engagement who share his passion for our society’s growth. Another important project has been to carve out a place for current trainees who are interested in our field of practice. I am delighted to announce that we are launching a CCAS Trainee Special Interest Group dedicated to those who are likely to be the faces of our specialty in the future and to lead our society.
Important accomplishments last year also include the strides that our Communication Committee has made by expanding the educational content of our website, enhancing our social media engagement, and other ongoing efforts. Of note, we now have a presence on the Congenital Heart International Professionals (CHiP) Network, thanks to this committee’s work. The CCAS Database Committee remains very active with the CCAS-STS registry, which continues to serve as a repository for important anesthesia-related patient data and as a resource for ongoing research projects and publications.
CCAS has several great new things planned for this year that I think we will all be very excited about. As always, the society is strongly committed to the directives of the Dolly D. Hansen, MD Educational Fund to support education and research among generation of professionals that will improve the lives of patients with congenital heart disease, and will keep that at the forefront of our agenda. We hope we can continue to count on your contributions to the fund and support. We encourage you to get involved in our society and to participate as much as you can. Together, we all can anticipate even better years to come!
Wishing everyone the best in the new year! I look forward to seeing you soon!