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.
“Early Career Day,” as we like to think of the first day of the meeting, is a perfect occasion for all our colleagues to go and learn what they want and moreover what they should to enable them to become proficient cardiovascular investigators. As the early career day has come to a close, we would walk through and capture some of the action that happened during the early career day at the Scientific Sessions. The Early Career Committee of the Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology organized a Genome Editing Bootcamp (first of its kind), which was a “hands on” training session where the participants learned how to leverage and use cutting-edge genome editing with the CRISPR/Cas9 system in a small-group, interactive format. This was followed by a session of interactive and experiential talks on what every early career person would dream to learn.
How about these topics as some food for thought: a) Tailoring your genomic science to your audience; b) Developing Effective Mentor-Mentee Networks; c) Navigating a Successful Clinical and Academic Career; d) “To Err is Human, to Forgive is Divine,” Making Mistakes: Growing Resilience and Self-Compassion; e) Diversifying Funding Options as an Early Career Scientist; and f) How to Write a Great Specific Aims Page?There was uninterrupted exposure to ideas on how to successfully build a career in academic cardiology. The interactive nature of these talks created a perfect platform to brainstorm and exchange ideas between national leaders in cardiovascular disease and early career investigators. Similar experiential talks were held throughout the day across different Councils.
If for any reason, you missed the experience, there is an option to review the content electronically via Sessions-on-Demand. The AHA’s vision is to provide early career programming 365 days a year, so stay tuned! Along those lines, in an interesting pilot project, the AHA has launched early career blogging, of which this piece is one of the first examples.
In the end, we do recognize that there are increasing time constraints (either family or work related) on each one of us to be here physically and participate in the Sessions. However, we in the early career community like to believe that this is what we have worked hard in our professional lives for to achieve. We welcome you and thank you for joining us at the AHA Scientific Sessions especially on the early career day, one big family!
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.