I had a great time at the national meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) this past weekend. I hadn’t been to “the meetings” in a few years, in part because my professional focus is no longer primarily clinical and well, I never really liked going even when it was. I generally believed (and still do) that I get more valuable information about new developments in cardiology by reading journals than by shlepping around some gargantuan convention center and listening to a few talks while dodging the barrage of drug and device manufacturers. Now that the results of “late breaking” clinical trials are instantly available (complete with slides and expert analysis) within hours of their presentation, I find the whole convention thing even less compelling.
So (with a nod toward the upcoming Passover holiday) why was this meeting different from all other meetings?
First, I had the pleasure of hearing my brother, David Nash, founding Dean of the Jefferson College of Population Health, deliver the Simon Dack lecture. As I said to him when he first told me he was invited (and wanted to know if it was a big deal), this is a big deal. It is the opening keynote for the conference, and is intended to set a tone or theme for the meeting, which draws almost 20,000 people from around the world. Here is a picture of him being introduced by the President of the ACC:
He delivered a great talk about the need for cardiology to take up the challenge of population health. He made our high school debate and public speaking coach proud as he explained that we need to focus on improving the clinical outcomes of the patients and communities we serve and increasing the transparency of reporting on those outcomes. Sound familiar? I could have done without the reference to his “kid” brother, but listening to him was worth the whole trip, and I am sure many others among the thousands in the hall felt the same way. Take home message for providers of care: “no outcome, no income.”
The other reason why the meeting was worth the trip was the chance to socialize with colleagues from Northwell Health. A bunch of us got together and had a wonderful time over dinner.
As I reflect back, I think the two reasons are related, and not just because it is good to spend time with family and friends. I think that achieving the improvements in care that my brother spoke so eloquently about will require a team effort and the “team dinner” was an effective way to build the cohesion and enthusiasm we will need.
I am very proud of both my brother and our team.