A Brief History of the Association of Professors of Cardiology

As cardiologists, we all agree on one enduring fact: cardiovascular divisions are, historically, among the most prominent programs in any hospital, highly active across the tripartite missions of clinical care, research, and education.  In the 1970’s, a movement was launched in the United States in which cardiology divisions around the country tried to break off to become free-standing departments. This institutional independence, while successful in other parts of the world, was met with substantial resistance, causing the movement to ultimately fizzle out. This is when a group of 7 cardiologists met together to create something that could give cardiologists the independence they desires…an Association of Professors of Cardiology, or as many often call it, APC. On October 1st, 1990 Dr. L. Gettes from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Dr. R. O’Rourke from the University of Texas Health Science Center, Dr. B. Zaret from Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. B. Sobel from Washington University School of Medicine, Dr. W. Parmley from the University of California at San Francisco, Dr. R. Roberts from Baylor College of Medicine, and Dr. G. Beller from University of Virginia School of Medicine officially established the APC. With goals that still stand today, APC works to promote the professional development of cardiologists, lead efforts to train cardiovascular specialists and promote research, and ultimately be the voice of academic cardiology. Through this initiative, APC began bringing cardiologists together to optimize their programs through collaboration and shared best practices.

 

Sometime later, two members, Dr. Joseph Hill from UT Southwestern Medical Center and Dr. Marvin Konstam from Tufts University, strategized to open the discussions yet further. With the help of Dr. Patrick O’Gara from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the then-president of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), APC petitioned to form a Council on Academic Cardiology within ACC. Today, leveraging the strengths of the Council and the closely aligned and much larger Academic Cardiology Section at ACC, APC is positioned to propel its message to affect an even bigger impact. With our twice annual meetings, ideas that emerge from these APC conversations can be transferred to the Academic Council where it can be vetted, revised and turned into action.

In 32 years, APC has tackled issues spanning scholarly, educational, and clinical platforms. From creating a listserv to keep the questions and answers from fellow cardiologists flowing, to hosting topical workshops, to creating a salary database, APC continues to grow as an association with the very same mission and goals as when established in 1990.  In a nation where the healthcare system has turned its focus largely onto business, APC vows to continue to foster a conversation among like-minded professionals regarding what ultimately matters: outstanding clinical care, academic research, and education.