WOMEN AND HEART SYMPOSIUM
An all-women panel took the main arena stage for what has become one of the most popular parts of CRT: discussing the challenges and successes of women in interventional cardiology.
Sheila Sahni, MD, shared about the role of media in her career. She helped start the hashtag #RadialFirst on Twitter to share evidence concerning radial access. In 2019, she agreed to take part in a television show called Chasing the Cure with former Today show host Ann Curry. It depicted cases and invited viewers participate in “crowdsourcing” diagnoses. Sahni said she scrutinized every one of her lines and made sure her image upheld and reflected the high standards of the interventional cardiology profession, and she emphasized that any clinician considering being a regular media presence should keep in mind the image they project.
Roxana Mehran, MD, spoke of the importance of publishing research. To more effectively do that, she said it is important for interventional cardiologists to get master’s degrees in subjects such as biostatistics, in addition to their medical degrees.
“The future is very, very strong for women,” Mehran said, adding that any woman who becomes an interventional cardiologist shows that she is serious and resilient. “The way to now separate yourself from the rest of the pack, from the guys, is to do really great research.”
Alin Gragossian, DO, MPH, an emergency medicine resident at UPMC Pinnacle Health System in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, gave the keynote speech, “A Change of Heart.” She said that during her residency at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, she developed a cough and eventually became progressively more tired and was not sleeping well. Her symptoms got so bad that she went to the emergency room and, while there, she went into cardiogenic shock and developed heart failure, with an ejection fraction that had dropped to 5%. She got a heart transplant and is thriving today, ready to start a fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital.
This experience prompted Gragossian to become an advocate for organ donation. She also started a blog, A Change of Heart (https://www.achangeofhe.art), that quickly drew a large following.
“Young, healthy patients look good until they don’t,” Gragossian said. “Always remember that everything you do matters.”