The AHA/ASA Early Career Voice provides a 365-day view of the impact AHA science has on the daily practice and research of early career cardiovascular and stroke professionals. Topics range from implementing new science into patient treatment and research, securing research funding and travel awards, the process of submitting science, and much more.

Statements or opinions expressed on the AHA|ASA Early Career Voice reflect the views of the contributor, and do not reflect the official views of the AHA|ASA, unless otherwise noted.

Latest Posts

“A disruptive technology is any innovation that creates a new market and disrupts an existing one. We live in an exponential era…either disrupt yourself or be disrupted by someone else.” Peter Diamandis, MD, CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation, in Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World.
Posted by Kelly Kozakowski on Nov 20, 2015 11:31 AM CST
In light of the horrific massacres in Paris and Beirut, it is difficult for me, as one of the Early Career Voice bloggers at Scientific Sessions, to complete the task of writing a summary piece on the conference without addressing how these events might motivate us to continue with our global mission to improve cardiometabolic health and ultimately save lives.
Posted by Kelly Kozakowski on Nov 16, 2015 10:18 AM CST
Now that the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions have come to a close, we believe that it may be important to highlight why should we celebrate science! One can argue that there may exist three different viewpoints on this: the ugly, the bad, and the good.

Now that the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions have come to a close, we believe that it may be important to highlight why should we celebrate science! One can argue that there may exist three different viewpoints on this: the ugly, the bad, and the good.

Every year at AHA Scientific Sessions, you get the science daily news as soon as you walk in the convention center. Often times, I have heard attendees, colleagues, and friends snapping how the AHA is spending way too many resources on publicizing, advertising, media, news, and now on social networking sites. Resources that some attendees believe can be used to fund investigators waiting in line to answer the dream scientific questions they have had for decades. If this was my first Scientific Session, I may believe the “ugly” viewpoint, which simply is that celebration of science can wait and it is of utmost importance to have more and more funds available for investigators to conduct research instead of being spent on news, media etc.

Now let’s talk about the viewpoint: “bad” when it comes to celebration of science. The key argument here being, on how certain research activities presented on a big stage during the Sessions e.g. late-breaking clinical trials would get more if not all the press and media coverage than let’s say some of the other oral presentations. This often times starts the never-ending debate among attendees on what science should we highlight as a scientific community if we all agree that celebrating science is essential.

What about the “good”? The simple viewpoint here is science would cease to exist if not celebrated in today’s era and the kind of lives we live. Secondly, the dissemination of science is as important if not more than conducting the original investigation/research. What if the science presented is or eventually turns out to be a new therapy for a devastating illness. It is important to remember that as a society, we have an obligation to have maximum number of human lives get benefit from the research conducted. There is no other better way to do this than to spread the scientific information by celebrating it.

Next time when you find yourself among attendees criticizing the celebration of science (the “ugly”) or being engaged in the debate what should be highlighted (the “bad”), I would like to urge you to develop a distinctive perspective that may be something like this. If you are an early career investigator presenting at the Sessions, many years worth of hard work and efforts have gone behind your 10-minute presentation. What Sessions are providing you is the platform to showcase your research, giving you an unprecedented opportunity to highlight the team of investigators colleagues/mentors etc. the folks who may have worked with you tirelessly to achieve a common goal. We have always in the past and will welcome high quality science submissions that we promise to celebrate with you at the next Scientific Sessions in 2016. Lastly, this year we got a chance to meet a few members from a large team of people who work behind the scenes at the Scientific Sessions to make celebration of science a possibility and we salute them for their hard work and dedication!

Pankaj Arora, MD, FAHA
Chair Early Career Committee
Functional Genomics & Translational Biology Council
American Heart Association

Dr. Arora is a physician scientist in cardiology division at University of Alabama at Birmingham primarily focused on clinical & translational research.
Posted by Lyndie Bishop on Nov 12, 2015 4:31 PM CST
I had the wonderful opportunity yesterday to serve as a mentor for the Council on Clinical Cardiology’s High School Minority Outreach Program. Bigger and better than ever, this program is now in its fourth year, with participation by more than 100 students from eight local schools in the Orlando area. The organizers worked hard to provide a stimulating experience for the students, with the hope of getting them excited about medicine and science—for if these students will not be the ones safeguarding the health of our communities in the future, then who else will? more...
Posted by Kelly Kozakowski on Nov 10, 2015 9:55 PM CST
"You can dream. You can create, design, and build the most wonderful place in the world… but it requires people to make the dream a reality." -Walt Disney

This quote from Walt Disney, which I found fitting given this year’s Orlando location for Scientific Sessions, captures an important message I’ve heard repeated throughout the day: meeting people through networking is an invaluable component of conference participation. more...
Posted by Kelly Kozakowski on Nov 9, 2015 6:43 PM CST

I’ve been attending the AHA Scientific Sessions since I was a medical resident, which means close to 10 years now. While that pales in comparison to our most committed senior colleagues, it’s enough time for me to have developed a sense of what Sessions is “supposed to be.” The science that’s presented at Sessions is some of the best cutting-edge work to be seen anywhere, but much of it tends to be delivered in a fairly standard, well-worn format—a moderated series of lectures by several speakers lasting for a few hours. Each speaker gets up in front of the room and talks without interruption while the audience sits in packed rows of up to hundreds of seats, politely and passively listening to the speaker. The speaker invariably spends the first part of the talk giving an introduction to the subject at hand, and the last few minutes provide the only opportunity for the audience to ask questions of the speaker. This format is by no means exclusive to Sessions but has been shared by just about every conference I’ve ever attended in my career. more...
Posted by Kelly Kozakowski on Nov 9, 2015 11:15 AM CST
I always love attending the Opening Session at the AHA Scientific Sessions. I think of it as the “Red Carpet” of the Sessions complete with the requisite bright lights, large screens and an illustrious list of scientific award winners.  The opening remarks by President Dr. Mark Creager set the tone for the conference with an enthusiastic charge to action to increase awareness and treatment for patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), building a culture of health among AHA members and incorporating cutting edge technologies in cardiovascular research. His passionate call arose from his very personal connection to PAD, as his father suffered from complications from this severely underdiagnosed disease. It reminded me of why we as AHA members are so engaged in the organization as we all have loved ones that have been devastated by cardiovascular diseases. more...
Posted by Kelly Kozakowski on Nov 8, 2015 6:30 PM CST
I write this after having just attended the Annual Clinical Cardiology Council Dinner and Business Meeting. I’ve been going to this dinner since first becoming an AHA member when I was a medical resident, and it becomes an ever richer experience each year as I’ve come to know more and more people through the AHA. It’s such a great opportunity to connect with colleagues, both mentors and peers, whom I don’t see more than a few times a year and never all in the same place at the same time. more...
Posted by Kelly Kozakowski on Nov 8, 2015 9:31 AM CST
Welcome to the largest scientific cardiovascular meeting on planet focused on targeting and improving cardiovascular health! Yes, we are talking about the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions!

The festivities (in the life of a cardiology physician), as I like to think of the AHA Scientific Sessions, have just begun. There will be 5 jam-packed days of scientific learning, networking, and an opportunity to create new collaborations. What you do matters, whether you are attending, moderating, presenting or just volunteering, and everything about the Scientific Sessions wants to make you believe that it cannot get any bigger or better than this.
Posted by Kelly Kozakowski on Nov 7, 2015 8:42 PM CST
The road to becoming a physician can be taxing to even the most capable of individuals.  For the aspiring physician-scientist, the pathway is all the more complex, with additional responsibilities and challenges arising from training in scientific research.  While none among us can predict the future as we progress in our training, we can learn from those who have faced similar challenges before us.  

Recently, the American Physician Scientists Association (APSA), a student-led organization dedicated to advocacy for physician-scientist trainees, joined with the American Heart Association (AHA) to ask trainees two questions: “What do you wish you had known, and what has been your experience as a physician-scientist trainee?” APSA and the AHA have compiled responses from two such trainees for the Early Career Experiences Blog.  If you are just beginning your journey as a physician-scientist trainee, the experiences of these trainees may help you navigate the exciting challenges ahead.
Posted by Alexander Adami on Jun 25, 2014 10:42 PM CDT
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Most Recent Comments

I think there are two great points in Phil’s post: 1) the funding levels at NIH are exceedingly low, and 2) there are numerous mechanisms to bridge or promote funding of early stage investigators. I also agree that young investigators do need to take advantage of many of the mechanisms that are in place, and need to start planning for most of these several YE...
I agree completely. My impression was that one goal of reducing the number of oral presentations was to reduce concomitant oral programming, so hopefully: 1) people who would have had/attended oral presentations will attend posters, and 2) people who have posters will not miss out on related oral sessions. Looking forward to see how well this works at S...
Interesting concept. But I think it will only be successful if the poster session is scheduled when there is no concurrent oral session that is of similar research interest (what's that...Cores 2 and 7?). If the scheduling is at the same time, many of the poster presenters will also miss out on some great oral sessions. Similarly, many of the presenters (a...
Thanks for the post. The program committee is very excited about these poster changes. We do want to increase interaction and networking, the very things that make AHA Scientific Sessions such a great place to present our science. Try it out this year and continue to send us your comments! We especially hope people like the Poster Professor concept.