Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, education has remained at the forefront for Mahi Ashwath, MD, MBA, FACC, FASE, FSCMR, clinical associate professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, and president of the Iowa chapter of the American College of Cardiology (Iowa ACC), and Shubha Deep Roy, MD, chief cardiology fellow and co-chair of Iowa ACC Fellow-in-Training (FIT) Council. As a part of the Iowa ACC, they produced a 12-week educational lecture series for cardiology fellows across the world. Attendees included not only fellows from across the country, but also fellows from Canada, South America, Asia and Australia as well.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, educational activities for cardiology fellows across the country declined dramatically,” Roy said. “It was at this stage that Dr. Ashwath came up with a brilliant idea to have an educational lecture series for cardiology fellows not only in Iowa but across the country.”
Around 80 to 270 attendees participated in each of these virtual live sessions. The attendees who were not able to join live have been watching the recorded sessions which are posted on Iowa ACC’s website. Each video has tallied more than 1,000 views.
“While education and mentorship have always been my passion, this lecture series would not have been possible without the Forum of the ACC or the support of the University of Iowa faculty,” Ashwath said.
As part of the planning committee for the lectures, Ashwath and Roy worked with Nancy Adams, an administrative specialist for UI Health Care and Iowa ACC’s Executive Director, and Kurt Bjorkman, UI pediatric cardiology fellow and co-chair of the Iowa ACC FIT council, to design and schedule a total of 39 lectures, which focused on the blueprint of the cardiology boards. The committee invited 30 speakers from across Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan, and New York. Out of the 30 speakers, UI contributed 17 of those speakers and presented 24 lectures.
“It was really heartwarming to see faculty, not only from UI, but also from other major healthcare institutes in the country willing to teach in these lecture series,” Roy said. “It has been a great experience for me personally helping me build my leadership and communication skills. I would like to thank Dr. Ashwath and Iowa ACC for this opportunity.”
Ashwath spoke to us recently about those other opportunities the series provided, besides the preparation for the boards.
Ashwath, who is also the director of cardiac MRI at UIHC, says the lecture series would not have been possible without the forum of the ACC, the excellent lectures by the speakers, and Roy and Adams, who helped her organize and promote the series. Roy promoted the event on Twitter, which allowed him to reach trainees beyond our borders.
“The lecture series was extremely well received by fellows all over with many positive comments from not just the fellows, but also their program directors and (ACC) chapter governors,” Ashwath said. “When life gives you lemons, you try to make lemonade. Given the COVID limitations, we tried to see what is the best we can do, and it turned out much better than we expected. It has placed Iowa ACC and University of Iowa on the map among the cardiology fellows.”
After the huge success of this lecture series, the Iowa ACC, in collaboration with the Early Career Section of the national ACC, has now launched an “Interventional Cardiology Lecture Series and Board Review” virtual lecture series, with nationally renowned faculty, which is aimed towards interventional cardiology fellows, general cardiology fellows and early career interventional cardiologists, all over the world. More details on those upcoming events at https://www.iowaacc.org/ICBR/.