Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Society (CCAS) Educational Initiatives
Luis M. Zabala, MD, MBA
Vice-President, Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Society
UT Southwestern, Dallas
The Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Society (CCAS) has grown substantially over the last decade. With more than 1200 members, this growth comes with the tremendous responsibility of supporting and mentoring our next generation of pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists. The society has been developing initiatives that support our mission of improving perioperative care and outcomes for all patients with congenital heart disease, through education and research.
Two years after the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, we find ourselves living a “new normal.” At the Society level, the pandemic helped us realize the importance of being in touch with our members more routinely and with each other. It was up to us to adapt to the challenge and respond positively with flexibility and creativity. The CCAS Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and the Standing Committees and Special Interest Groups, worked to promote initiatives that spread our shared knowledge, grant access to education, expand our collaboration agreements, and improve our specialty training.
In 2019 the Board of Directors approved the new Bylaws, which included the creation of two new committees. The first, the Quality and Safety (QS) Committee, led by Dr. Morgan Brown, is dedicated to measuring and improving the quality of care and safety of patients with congenital heart disease undergoing cardiac and non-cardiac surgery. The second, the Research Committee, led by Dr. David Faraoni, promotes research in the peri-operative management of pediatric patients with congenital heart disease following three pillars: mentorship, leadership, and dissemination. Both committees have had a substantial impact on our ability to concentrate resources in these two areas critical for the future development of our specialty.
CCAS continues to support trainees and junior faculty, through the creation of the CCAS Mentorship Program led by Dr. Laura Diaz-Berenstain. This program is designed to meet the needs of those entering our specialty and provide guidance on personal and professional development, as well as an alternative place outside of the work environment to discuss clinical and career concerns. Program leaders have reviewed the results from the first year and overall, participants have reported a positive experience.
2020 brought us the CCAS Webinar Series, led by Dr. Viviane Nasr and Dr. David Faraoni. Our first webinar came at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It updated our current knowledge of COVID-19 and provided a forum to discuss organizational challenges in personnel, personal protective equipment, policies and procedures, and programmatic adaptation to triage and the elective surgical schedule. The webinar format proved to be a success and it has become a quarterly activity on a myriad of topics intended to reach out to members worldwide throughout the year. The CCAS Webinar Series has covered; Priorities in Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesia Research, Relevant articles for Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesiologist Published in 2020, Quality and Safety in Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia, and Training in Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesia. Our January 2022 CCAS Webinar will be our first Spanish Language Webinar collaborating with international speakers and other societies.
CCAS continues to build strong collaborations with other societies involved in the peri-operative care of patients with congenital heart disease. CCAS has formal collaborative agreements with the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society (PCICS), American Society of Extracorporeal Technology (AmSECT), and Sociedad Maxicana Anesthesiólogos Cardiotorácicos (SMACT).
These agreements help expand our reach to other members of the congenital cardiac care community and provide opportunities for collaboration, reciprocal promotion, and the development of new knowledge and skills.
In addition to our two existing Special Interest Groups (SIG); the Hemostasis Interest Group and the Trainee Special Interest Group; the Board of Directors recently approved the Latin American Cardiac Anesthesia SIG (Chair Dr. Juan Ibla). This new SIG is intended to provide a structured forum to collaborate, share knowledge, and reach out to all our colleagues from Latin America. Anyone with a strong interest in these topics, or wishing to start another SIG, should reach out to the Education Committee (Luis.Zabala@UTSouthwestern.edu)
Finally, thanks to the work of Dr. Viviane Nasr, Dr. Nina Deustch, and a dedicated Task Force from the CCAS on fellowship standards, the congenital cardiac anesthesia fellowship has been accredited by the ACGME. The next steps are milestones and curricula. This offers the opportunity to standardize content across all of our training programs and to collaborate with one another to produce the highest quality materials for our trainees. The Trainee SIG meets once a month to deliver excellent didactics to all of our trainees in North America as well as discuss issues pertinent to developing a career in our field.
In summary, the CCAS continues to grow and with growth comes the need for innovative initiatives aimed at membership engagement, disseminating knowledge and skills, collaborations with other Societies and developing the next generation of pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists. Personally, I’ve enjoyed my involvement with the Society since very early in my carrier and I hope that you identify yourself with at least one of these projects or promote your own project by sharing with others in our Society. I hope to see you all in Tampa!
All Program & Schedule Times are Eastern Time (EDT).