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.
It’s all too easy in one’s busy work life to forget that we’re part of a larger community with a shared mission—“building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.” It’s so nice to be reminded of this fact by getting to mix with and break bread with a few hundred likeminded people, as well as to honor the achievements of some of our colleagues, whether accomplished senior scientists such as Dr. Sanjay Kaul and Dr. Marc Pfeffer, two of this year’s award recipients, or the young investigator award finalists. It was especially nice to connect with Dr. Pfeffer, who was chief of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital while I was an impressionable “young” medical intern there, a fact about which we reminisced.
One unique aspect of this dinner is the youthful energy brought to the proceedings by the large number of fellows-in-training who are invited to attend. It really does create a feeling of connection running from the most senior members to the most junior members of the clinical cardiology community. Even though I still think of myself as an early career investigator, I have advanced enough in my career that some of the people I've helped to train in my role as attending physician were at the dinner, and it was nice to feel that I’m playing a part in maintaining a tradition that has existed since the early days of the American Heart Association.
With all the hustle and bustle of Sessions to navigate, I think that Council Dinners are perhaps among the most special experiences for early career attendees. I urge all junior people to take advantage of these Dinners, irrespective of the Council with which you’re aligned. Sessions is about much more than just the science and the medicine—it’s about community. Get your dinner ticket before it’s too late, and do all you can to make yourself part of this community!
Kiran Musunuru, MD PhD MPH FAHA
Kiran Musunuru is a harried but hopeful physician-scientist-teacher living the dream at Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He volunteers extensively for the Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology and the Council on Clinical Cardiology