Letter from the President – November 2021

Dear Colleagues,

It’s hard to believe that it’s already November! As we approach the end of 2021, I would like to take a moment to reflect on an extraordinary year of NYACC activities.

When I began my tenure as president last March, we still didn’t know what challenges would arise after a year in the midst of a pandemic. Thankfully, with the vaccine roll-out and the assistance of our amazing NYACC volunteers and staff, we navigated our way closer to a pre-pandemic “normal,” which included planning in-person events again.

Our first in-person event in nearly two years was the return of the Shark Tank Challenge and Young Investigators Competition, which were held at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island on October 29 to a maxed-out capacity audience. The event drew over 60 attendees from across the state and was held in the actual shark tank exhibition at the Aquarium.

We received 51 research abstracts and 50 clinical case submissions from trainees. The top three research abstract winners and best clinical case winner each gave a 5-minute oral presentation about their prize-winning projects. In addition, about 20 trainees presented research posters in person, and 24 trainees presented clinical cases on a large, digital screen. The highlight of the evening (other than the 18 different kinds of sharks that are housed at the aquarium quietly swimming back and forth) was the exciting Shark Tank Competition, featuring NYACC celebrity judges (“sharks”): Drs. Jeffrey Kuvin, Roxanna Mehran and Chad Teeters. Seven physicians presented their innovative ideas and answered tough questions from the sharks.

The first place project was a facial recognition app to detect arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation (Dr. Jean-Philippe Couderc); second place was a ring-based EKG monitor (Dr. Matthew Jones); and third place was a transseptal catheter with built-in balloon dilation (Dr. Barry Love). Prizes were supported by a generous donation from The Michael Wolk Heart Foundation.

The first Shark Tank Challenge was organized in 2019 with the support of a Chapter/Section grant obtained by the New York and California chapters (spearheaded on our side by Drs. Norma Keller and Chad Teeters) and the Health Care Innovation Section (previously led by Drs. David Cho and Regina Druz). We are proud to continue to grow this event and to highlight the achievements of trainees and faculty across the state.

It would be impossible to not mention the vaccine roll-out and its impact on the fight against COVID-19, but there is still much to be done and many communities that still need to be reached. That is why NYACC’s DEI Committee, led by Dr. Rachel-Maria Brown Talaska, put out four new PSAs that were targeted to higher-risk individuals, and another is currently in the works. You can view the PSAs here on the NYACC YouTube channel.

While you’re there, take a look at our newly launched After Shocks series featuring recent, high impact research. Our speakers to date have included Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy discussing his “practice changing study,” STROKE-VT, which was moderated by Dr. Suneet Mittal; Dr. Roderick Tung and his “PAUSE SCD” trial with Dr. Jim Cheung as moderator; and, most recently, Dr. Ileana L. Piña’s EMPEROR-Preserved trial with Dr. Donna M. Mancini moderating. Stay tuned for the next installment!

Early in 2022 we also have an incredible activity prepared for our CV team members, a heart dissection event that will take place on January 19. Don’t forget to register early, as spots are already filling up!

As a final note on this first half of my presidency, it has been an honor and a privilege to serve with my Co-Governor, Dr. Srihari Naidu, and our talented Council members and staff. I look forward to the rest of our tenure. Wishing you all a very happy holiday season and great start to the new year!

Hima Vidula, MD, MS, FACC