The Third Annual Women in Interventional Cardiology program, hosted by SCAI Women in Innovations (“WIN”) in Chicago in September, drew a record number of female interventional cardiologist attendees. They gathered for a top-quality educational event as well as networking opportunities that have become unique to the program.
“This was the first year we held the program as an entirely CME’d event,” said Program Director Kimberly A. Skelding, M.D., FSCAI. “We decided it was time to establish the program not only as an opportunity for women in interventional cardiology to get together and share experiences but also as an opportunity for women to be exposed to really top-level education and faculty.”
The program, which featured a keynote reception, abstract presentations, case reviews, and break-out workshops, brought together interventional cardiology healthcare providers from a variety of practice settings and from throughout the United States. Some even flew in from other countries, including Canada, Ireland, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
“We don’t have this type of opportunity in Canada,” said Mina Madan, M.D., FSCAI. “With so few women in the field of interventional cardiology, I felt it was important to make the effort to attend. I’m so glad I did. It is a really unique meeting that I hope will continue for years to come.”
The meeting was developed by Dr. Skelding and Patricia Best, M.D., FSCAI, who teamed up a few years ago when they both perceived a pressing need for a forum where women in interventional cardiology could meet, learn, and express concerns unique to women in the field.
“Women make up almost 50 percent of medical students in the U.S. and yet fewer than 10 percent of board-certified interventional cardiologists are women,” said Dr. Best. “There are very few women on the faculties, let alone in the audience at the large conferences. Women also don’t participate in professional societies as often as men. Our goal is to provide a supportive network for women, and to encourage them to become more professionally confident.”
Women in Interventional Cardiology has become the flagship professional development meeting for WIN, whose two-fold mission is to provide female interventional cardiologists with professional advancement opportunities and to utilize those opportunities to advance the state of science as it relates to women with heart disease.
“WIN’s dual mission can be confusing for some people, but it makes sense when you consider the impact of gender disparities in health care and the number of female interventionalists whose potential may not be fully tapped,” noted Roxana Mehran, M.D., FSCAI, chair of the WIN initiative.
“The link between women physicians and women patients is undeniable,” continued Dr. Mehran. “Clearly, female physicians are not interested only in gender disparities in cardiovascular care. There are also many male physicians out there who are very devoted to this cause. But if we can start addressing the major issues facing women with heart disease while also elevating and promoting the work of the many talented and successful female interventional cardiologists around the world, then WIN will make a major contribution to the specialty and the patients it serves.”
The Women in Interventional Cardiology program will be held again in Chicago, IL, from Sept. 20-22, 2012. To learn more about Women in Interventional Cardiology or Women in Innovations, visit the WIN website at www.scai-win.org or contact WIN Director Rebecca Ortega at firstname.lastname@example.org.