President’s Message – January 2016

Dear Members of the Western Society of Pediatric Cardiology,

It has been my privilege to serve as the 18th President of the reconstituted Western Society of Pediatric Cardiology this past year. And I am very excited to use our newly updated Website to fill you in on some of the work being done on behalf of the Society. My term kicked off with an WSOPC Business Meeting at the 26th Annual Conference in Vail, which we used as a brainstorming session to identify collective goals:

  1. Re-define the Mission for the WSOPC in the current era
  2. Develop a robust Leadership structure
  3. Develop a strategy for improving Communication and Collaboration across the Society
  4. Increase support for Trainee and Junior Cardiologists within the Society
  5. Develop opportunities for Advocacy both for patients and within the field via collective communication
  6. Strengthen the Financial Viability of the Society

I’m happy to say that over the past six months we have made substantial progress in many of these areas. In the paragraphs below I’ve summarized some of the progress made to date.

The Mission of the WSOPC.  At the Business meeting in Vail we discussed the history of the Society and the need for a revitalized mission statement that defines the role, opportunities and responsibilities of the WSOPC in the current era. At the upcoming 27th Annual Conference in May, 2016 we will discuss and vote on the adoption of a revised WSOPC Mission Statement.

Robust leadership structure.  We agreed that a restructuring of the WSOPC leadership would maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the Society, and ensure steady progress in working toward its mission. Please explore the “Officers” page of this website to see current officers as well as opportunities to serve now and in the future.

Communication and Collaboration.  A number of outstanding ideas were raised with a goal of facilitating communication and collaboration across the Society. Some of these included:

  1. Designation of WSOPC Delegates to act as liaisons between WSOPC leadership and individual programs/practices across the Society. The Delegates will facilitate communication, help conference organizers identify gifted speakers, and relay feedback and issues from individual programs to WSOPC leadership. Please see the “Officers” page for a list of current delegates, and contact me if you are interested in becoming a WSOPC delegate.
  2. An up-to-date, interactive WSOPC website with on-going administrative support. Dr. Bill Evans generously provided Jennifer Kelley, Director of Development for the Children’s Heart Center Nevada, to provide on-going administrative and technical website support. Dr. Stafford Grady from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital generously volunteered his time and worked together with Ms. Kelley to re-design and provide content to the site. I could not be more grateful for their work.
  3. Development and maintenance of an accurate contact list for WSOPC membership. Over the past six months the WSOPC Delegates have helped to update our membership roster. Liz Pena is managing further additions/corrections. Please contact Liz (EPena@chla.usc.edu) with updates regarding your contact information.
  4. Publication of a WSOPC Newsletter including information about WSOPC activities, events, opportunities for collaboration, job postings and fellowship positions (leadership opportunity available).

Support for Trainees and Junior Cardiologists.  We discussed ideas to more effectively support trainees and integrate new members into the Society. These included information to be shared on the Website, Newsletter and by the Fellowship Liaison.  There was also strong support for formal incorporation of trainee-focused sessions in the Annual Conference, and for providing financial support for trainees to attend the Annual Conferences. Over the past year, we have designated a Fellowship Delegate, compiled a complete list of current trainees, and the organizers have developed an outstanding fellows curriculum at the upcoming conference in May 2016. Finally, the fellowship directors in attendance at the Annual Conference in May 2016 will meet to discuss further initiatives.

Opportunities for Advocacy.  We discussed a number of exciting ideas and ultimately agreed that we would develop this important aspect of the Society as a Phase II effort. In the meantime we have included a “Volunteers” page on the website where opportunities may be posted and contact information shared.

Financial Viability.  We discussed a number of ideas for financial models to support the work of the WSOPC without placing a larger burden on WSOPC members. Further discussion will be undertaken at the WSOPC Business Meeting in May 2016.

I am very excited about the groundwork laid during the discussions in 2015 and the work that followed. The level of engagement and support of the WSOPC by those present at the meetings in Vail was inspiring, and the help I have received from volunteers and delegates over the past year has been wonderful. Both predict a very strong future for the Society. We will continue these discussions at the WSOPC Business Meeting at the 27th Annual Conference in Utah.

Finally, I want to recognize the time and effort that many of you have invested in the Western Society of Pediatric Cardiology over the years. Whether that has been in formal leadership positions or as members-at-large, I realize that many of you have made significant contributions to the Society and feel very proud of its history and the impact it has made to individual careers and practices over the past 55 years. I’m honored to have a role in helping to ensure that the Society remains vibrant and relevant in the current era. And grateful for the help of any and all of you who join me in volunteering your time, efforts and ideas on behalf of the Society.

I hope I will see all of you at the 27th Annual Conference of the Western Society of Pediatric Cardiology, May 13-15th, at Canyons Resort at Park City in Utah.  The planning committee at Primary Children’s Medical Center has really done an outstanding job.  I know we are in for another wonderful conference.              

Best wishes,

Laurie Armsby, MD
President, Western Society of Pediatric Cardiology
WSOPCpres@gmail.com