ACC was the first ever research conference I have been to, and it was really cool. Granted, when I first arrived, I was really intimidated by everyone wearing formal suits and talking about intelligent heart topics. That feeling didn’t quite go away…but things began to feel more familiar and less scary as time went on.
On Friday afternoon, I presented my poster in a large 45-minute poster session in an expo hall. It was a research abstract on guideline adherence for asymptomatic patients with severe mitral regurgitation. Of course, I was nervous beforehand, but during the session, I found it fun and thought-provoking to engage with different researchers on this topic. It was also interesting to see what other research projects had been conducted in valvular heart disease. While I had conducted a retrospective study on MHIF patient charts, my neighbor had conducted a prospective study on the same patient population in Sweden!
In general, the expo halls were packed with activity. Besides the posters, there were many big name medical device company booths like Medtronic and Abbott. I thought it was funny that some of them tried to attract people to their booths with food; there was even a crepe cart at one pharmaceutical booth!
On Saturday, I spent a lot of time talking to different medical device companies about R&D opportunities (as I am a graduating senior looking for gap year opportunities before medical school). This was actually a really cool opportunity to network and talk to R&D managers, compared to a career fair I had gone to previously where everyone was there for the same reason.
Memories that stand out from ACC are hearing Dr. Pau Sorajja present ‘nightmare’ cath lab cases (which were pretty nightmarish) and hearing a thought-provoking late-breaking case that found that performing radial transcatheter procedures (which are becoming more popular now) produces more radiation for both operators and patients compared to the femoral approach.
Overall, I really enjoyed and appreciated my ACC experience. It gave me an inside look into the cardiologist life and what real ‘thought-provoking’ research is. It was also fun to reunite with some MHIF interns from the summer.
I am very grateful to Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation for providing me with the summer research opportunity, where I have learned so much about medicine but have appreciated the impact that research has on the broader scientific community. I first arrived to ACC a day before my presentation, and I had a wonderful time in Washington D.C. When I arrived to the Convention Center for my presentation, I was amazed to see the size of the conference room. There were so many physicians and researchers who worked in various fields, and I observed posters and presentations in various practice areas. I stood next to my poster for 45-60 minutes, and many researchers came by to ask questions regarding my data and information. Many individuals who worked in the pacemaker clinic and observed rhythm strips were interested in seeing the impact that our data had on their field. Some physicians who came internationally gave me some advice with regards to the preparation of my manuscript. My mentor, Dr. Sengupta, also came. It was a wonderful experience spending time with him during lunch. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I am very motivated to continue attending these types of conferences on an annual basis.
I had the opportunity to present my research, Surgical Risk and Therapy of Severe Symptomatic Degenerative Mitral Valve Regurgitation in the Contemporary Era, at a poster session at the American College of Cardiology in Washington D.C. this spring. Walking into the conference, I was in awe of how large of a gathering this was, and it was amazing that all of the masses of individuals surrounding me were leaders in the field of cardiology. When I finally navigated my way through the convention center and got to the poster area, I was struck by how many other people were presenting their research in cardiology. Looking out to see rows upon rows of posters, it literally looked as if there was a forest of poster boards. After setting up my poster, my poster session was about to begin. I was both nervous and excited to share my research with the cardiology world. The first person to come to my poster was a cardiologist from Birmingham, Alabama. He asked many questions primarily related to my research with respect to MitraClip therapy, and it was extremely validating to have an actual physician ask for my viewpoint on the topic. As the poster session progressed, it became clear to me how diverse the backgrounds of the cardiologists in attendance were, but also how they all shared the common goal to learn as much as they could about their chosen specialty. Throughout the session I talked to physicians from Japan, Brazil, France, and Arkansas to name a few. By the end of the poster session I had hit my rhythm and was really enjoying presenting my research and answering questions. It was hard to believe that after a summer of intensive research at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, applying to ACC, and tirelessly editing my poster, I had finally achieved the culminating goal of all of my efforts. After my poster presentation, I went about exploring ACC. It was so cool to be able to talk to the reps at Medtronic and Boston Scientific about the new advances they were making, attend talks about every facet of cardiology, and watch live cases with the input of an experienced panel. I am sure very few undergraduates have had this kind of exposure to the field of cardiology. I was also able to see Dr. Sorajja presenting his research, talk with some of the MHIF nurses, and spend time catching up with Dr. Goessl. Additionally, I was so happy to be able to see a few of my other MHIF interns that were also presenting posters at ACC, and support them as well. Attending the American College of Cardiology in Washington D.C. this spring was one of the greatest and most fulfilling academic and professional experiences I have ever had. I truly felt so honored and inspired to be rubbing shoulders with some of the most important figures in the field of cardiology from all over the world, and to be a small participant in such an important conference. I would like to give my deepest thanks to the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation for the opportunity to do research over the summer through the internship program, and to present my research at ACC. I would also like to thank Dr. Sorajja, Dr. Goessl, Sara Olson, Pamela Morley, and the rest of the valve team at MHIF for mentoring me throughout the internship program and making my dream of presenting at ACC a reality. Also, a huge thank you to Ross Garberich for all of his help with my poster and data analysis, as well as Eva Zewdie and Jolene Makowesky for all that they do. The MHIF internship program has changed my life in the best possible way, and I am so thankful for the opportunities that it has provided.