Wow, What a Year!
By Wanda C. Miller-Hance, MD
No doubt, many of us have likely experienced gloomy days during the last several months. This has been one of the most challenging times of our generation, involving COVID-19, finances, social unrest, and politics. However, it has been uplifting to witness ongoing enthusiasm, dedication, and teamwork within our Society. I am sure that your email inboxes have seen several calls from CCAS for committee participation, available research funding, voting, updates, and other topics. These communications all represent an effort to continue to push forward the missions that CCAS has set to accomplish, even amidst trying times!
We are delighted to share that, in recent months, CCAS launched a number of educational initiatives. These have included a high-quality didactic virtual program under the guidance of Drs. Viviane Nasr and David Faraoni with webinars on timely topics such as the Impact of COVID-19 in Pediatric Anesthesia Programs and Priorities in Pediatric Anesthesia Research. In addition, structured educational sessions addressing topics such as hemostasis, transesophageal imaging, mechanical circulatory support, and other subjects of relevance have been offered for our trainees under the guidance of Dr. Greg Latham. We continue to have a multitude of excellent educational sessions planned in the next few months as part of the webinar series and a new offering launching soon called Virtual Visiting Professor Grand Rounds. You will not want to miss these!! We have continued a robust educational effort on our website with the Question of the Week and other resources added by the Communications Committee. We hope that everyone is enjoying the new website format and the informative CCAS Weekly Update that now incorporates the Question of the Week, in addition to other timely announcements!
With regards to training and mentorship, we are thrilled to now have an active Special Interest Group in our Society, the Trainee CCAS Group, co-chaired by Drs. Rica Buchanan and Asif Padiyath and overseen by Dr. Viviane Nasr. We have also recently created a mentoring program with the purpose of attracting, engaging, and supporting talented junior physicians in our specialty. The idea of establishing this program was born out of recognition among senior members in our specialty of the unique nature of our field and the personal challenges that we confront in our profession on a regular basis. This mentoring program, which will be led by Dr. Laura Berenstain and colleagues, will no doubt be a great experience for all participants—both mentors and mentees.
In terms of organizational structure within CCAS, we are delighted to now have a much needed Committee on Safety and Quality, chaired by Dr. Morgan Brown. The purpose of this recently launched committee is to identify and address important issues related to improving the safety and quality of pediatric cardiac/congenital cardiac anesthesia care. The Committee on Safety and Quality joins six other CCAS standing committees (Education, Membership, Communication, Research, Database, and Nominations) that continue to actively promote our goals and support the mission and vision of the Society.
During the last several months, we have continued to collaborate with other professional organizations with whom we share like-minded goals. These efforts have included networking and participation in activities of the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CHiP Network, and other groups. We continue to strive to strengthen these partnerships by ongoing interactions.
We are looking forward to a terrific first-ever virtual CCAS Annual Meeting in March of 2021. Unlike prior meetings, the program will take place in a completely virtual format over the course of two days (March 20-21, 2021). We hope that this will facilitate learning and limit computer fatigue. The meeting promises to be an outstanding didactic offering organized by Dr. Susan Nicolson and members of the Program Committee. The program has been carefully carved out to incorporate current topics, relevant clinical issues, pro and con debates, cutting-edge research in our specialty, and innovations in congenital cardiac care. In addition to virtual lectures, the meeting will highlight the best abstracts and will include patient-based learning discussions and roundtables. We plan to have plenty of time for questions and discussion. I encourage everyone to set aside those days now and make sure to register so that you can actively participate, and we can interact once again.
At the Annual Meeting, we will introduce our new Board of Directors. We have the honor of presenting the inaugural CCAS Lifetime Achievement Award to a pioneer in our field. We will also announce the recipient of our first CCAS Dolly D. Hansen Research Award. This award represents just one of the initiatives supported by the Dolly D. Hansen Educational Fund in acknowledgement of her directives. The award, designed as a seed fund to provide initial support for a research project, directly reflects the contributions of institutions and individuals (such as yourself) to the fund during the past several years. We fully recognize that times might be financially challenging and potentially filled with uncertainty, but our hope is that we can continue to count on you to expand the scope and success of these important efforts, which are completely dependent on donor giving.
Finally, on a personal note, this will be my last contribution to the newsletter as president. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your president and to continue to do so for a few more months. From the time that CCAS was organized, I had no doubt that our Society would thrive. Almost 16 years later, we seem to be flourishing at a very rapid pace and are regarded as the world-leading Society in pediatric and congenital cardiac anesthesia. I would like to thank the Board of Directors, colleagues, friends, and members for your unwavering support of our Society. Nothing would be possible without Ruggles—in particular, Stewart and Kim. I offer my sincere appreciation and respect to them. I have the deepest regard for our Society and my hope is that we will all continue to work together to make CCAS even stronger each day and into the future.
Best wishes for a safe and healthy 2021!