To my CHSS Colleagues,
As we had toward Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season, I am delighted to provide you with an update on the activities of the CHSS over the past several months, and share with you our plans for the future of our growing Society.
In July, the CHSS Executive Council held a first of its kind Strategic Planning Session with professional facilitation, and we set several short and long-term goals. In addition, we agreed upon a new and concise CHSS Mission Statement, which is to "Provide the most trusted leadership in the science and practice of congenital heart surgery."
An early recognition of this goal is manifested by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery's establishing a seat for the CHSS on the Board. While there has always been some form of congenital representation at the ABTS, it is now being formalized and the CHSS will be looked to for the recommendations for future congenital members. This has been a long-term goal of the CHSS and I offer sincere thanks to my predecessors for their continuing efforts to see this come to fruition. The CHSS is no longer perceived as a small and informal organization; we are now being recognized as the leading congenital heart surgeons' organization in the world.
The Strategic Planning Session for the CHSS set out four strong strategic goals as well as a path to establish strategies for achieving each goal. We are in the process of formulating one standing or special committee for each goal, and seeking volunteers from our membership. It is an exciting time of growth for the CHSS and we welcome the input and participation of our members. The Four Strategic Goals are:
- Patient Care: Support congenital heart surgery centers by advancing the highest quality patient care.
- Leading Authority: Establish the Congenital Heart Surgeons' Society as the leading authority and advocate for congenital heart surgery.
- Research: Promote, support and conduct research that advances the understanding and surgical care of congenital heart disease.
- Education: Enhance knowledge and skills for congenital heart surgeons and trainees, while also building the public's knowledge of the surgical treatment and outcomes of congenital heart disease.
At the end of October, the CHSS held its Annual Meeting, which saw record attendance - another milestone. Our 2-day meeting has become the most focused and academic heart surgery program in the world - and the continued growth of the meeting and the participation of our surgical residents and fellows is testament to the continued vibrancy of our subspecialty. I offer my sincere personal thanks to our Program Chair, Dr. Luca Vricella, for the outstanding work done by him and the CHSS Program Committee. I also want to thank each of our committees, and Executive Council members, for their efforts to move the different CHSS initiatives and programs forward. Thank you to all members who attended the Annual Business Meeting. If you could not make the meeting, the minutes can be viewed here and via the online membership portal.
An important session held at this year's Annual Meeting was one on Public Reporting - and the discussions surrounding the congenital section of the STS Database. As we all know, this has become a controversial and sometimes divisive discussion point, and our focus at the CHSS Annual Meeting was to review the status of the database, and to come to consensus on a future path. The STS itself has asked that the CHSS take the lead in making recommendations on how to proceed, and following our meeting and discussions with the members present, I sent a letter from the CHSS Executive Council to STS President Dr. Robert Higgins. That letter is available here in its entirety for your review.
This leadership from the CHSS is another sign that our society is now becoming the definitive voice for congenital heart surgery.
As always, the CHSS Data Center continues its important research activities, and the CHSS is proud to support the graduate education of our CHSS Data Center Fellow. The Kirklin-Ashburn Fund was established to help support CHSS activities, and as the fund continues to grow, we will increase support of not only the CHSS Data Center Fellow, but other research initiatives. The CHSS Data Center itself is funded largely through your institutional member dues, and the work of the Data Center is best appreciated by participation in one of the Spring or Fall Work Weekends. New CHSS Members are expected to attend a Work Weekend - and once you participate you will truly understand the tremendous depth of research and ongoing studies.
Finally, the CHSS continues its collaborations, notably with the European Congenital Heart Surgeons Association, with whom we will hold our next Joint Meeting in October of 2020 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, as well as the World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery, with whom we partner on subscriptions for our members for the World Journal, edited by past CHSS President Dr. Marshall Jacobs. Ours is a small specialty, but our members and colleagues around the globe share the same interests and passion for our profession. I am honored to serve as your CHSS President.
Wishing you and your families the warmest and most peaceful Thanksgiving and Holiday Season.
Joseph A. Dearani, MD