AHA, CRF Announce Partnership for 2022 Fall Meeting Sessions

The two groups have created an “educational alliance” that gives both organizations hosting duties at each other’s fall meetings.

AHA, CRF Announce Partnership for 2022 Fall Meeting Sessions

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF), publisher of TCTMD, have announced an “educational alliance” that will see both organizations offering joint educational programming at each of their scientific meetings this fall. 

According to a joint press release issued today, AHA faculty will present “Best Practices” programming focused on clinical guidelines and vascular care at the TCT 2022 meeting in Boston, MA, September 16-19. CRF, in turn, will host several TCT sessions at the AHA’s Scientific Sessions 2022 in Chicago, IL, November 5-7, centered on health technology and innovation. Both organizations will jointly host a late-breaking clinical science session at AHA, selecting abstracts for that particular event in tandem.

“The AHA is always looking for ways to amplify the educational experience for the people that come to our meeting, and we are also looking for new partners to help us improve the messaging to clinicians so that care, ultimately, for our patients is better,” AHA Chief Science and Medical Officer Mariell Jessup, MD, told TCTMD. “I think the conversations that we have had with the leaders of TCT were exciting and we said: let's collaborate this year and see if we can build on each other's strengths and make an even better program than what we were planning.”

CRF CEO Juan Granada, MD, told TCTMD that his hope is for the joint meeting sessions to be just the starting point for future collaborations. “We have started to discuss potential programs that will come out of this relationship, and we thought that the best way to start is essentially creating a series of educational programs at both meetings,” he said.

What form any future directions might take is yet to be discussed. According to Granada, the first strategic meeting between the two organizations will take place later this month. “This is where we are going to start creating a road map of the priorities, challenges, and opportunities,” he explained. “I will say that there is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm, that high-level people from both organizations are involved, and that we are very excited about extending this collaboration beyond education, as well.”

“I think there's lots of models that we could talk about, as we go forward,” Jessup said. “But we're walking before we're running. We're going to learn a lot from our collaboration this year, and we’ll see the kind of feedback we get from people and observe ourselves how well the meetings go and what we can do from there.”  

Pandemic Priorities

In today’s press release, AHA CEO Nancy Brown noted that “harnessing the strengths” of both organizations is all the more timely, given the continuing demands of the COVID-19 pandemic “and its still-to-be-uncovered impacts throughout the body and especially the heart.”

Granada and Jessup, too, both referenced COVID-19’s footprint in interviews with TCTMD. 

“I think that after this pandemic, there will be a need for consolidation and strategic partnerships, and I'm saying this because the opportunities for funding, research, and education, are going to decrease and the same thing is absolutely true for availability of faculty to attend meetings, or for people to attend multiple meetings,” Granada said. “Also, the amount of research and the availability of funds to actually pay for this research will be limited, as well. So there's no question that partnerships and strategic alliances are actually needed. And the beautiful thing is that the AHA and CRF do not compete; actually—we do different things that complement each other well.

“One of the many, many things we've learned as a result of the pandemic is that this is time for new ideas and new beginnings and new collaborations,” he continued. “Our mission is a world of longer, healthier lives, and it's going to take all of our collective efforts to make that happen.”

Also quoted in the press release, Martin Leon, MD, founder and chairman emeritus of CRF, highlighted the shared emphasis on training the next generation of physicians and allied health professionals.
“This affiliation with the American Heart Association will allow us to cultivate innovative ideas to elevate the quality of education and training available,” said Leon. “Collaboration is key to addressing the field’s biggest challenges so that patients everywhere have access to the care they need.”

The TCT meeting has, in the past, been focused almost exclusively on interventional procedures, while the AHA Scientific Sessions have typically attracted a broader cardiology audience and noninterventional clinical trials. In recent years, particularly when both meetings have fallen within weeks of one another, interventional cardiologists may have gravitated to TCT, where many of the large US interventional clinical trials have been showcased. Noninvasive cardiologists, by contrast, have more regularly headed to the AHA meeting, which has featured few major interventional trials in the last decade, a conspicuous exception being the 2019 ISCHEMIA trial.

Open Questions

TCTMD, which originated as a companion website to the TCT meeting in the early days, has since 2015 expanded to cover the spectrum of topics of interest to practicing cardiologists of every stripe. This breadth of content will continue.

Whether this alliance between CRF and AHA leads to a shift in program content at either meeting, or schedule changes that would see a larger gap between the two fall conferences, remains to be seen.
The AHA already has partnerships with multiple professional society groups, including organizations involved in the Million Hearts initiative. CRF has previously partnered with the Association of Black Cardiologists on its “New Beat” educational initiative and, back in 2008, entered into a multiyear partnership with the American College of Cardiology to jointly host what was then known as the ACC i2 interventional cardiology summit at the society’s annual meeting. 

According to Granada, there is no financial component to the partnership announced today.

Shelley Wood is Managing Editor of TCTMD and the Editorial Director at CRF. She did her undergraduate degree at McGill…

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