Chiefs of Cardiology Q&A

APC was founded with the goal to connect fellow Chiefs of Cardiology together, fostering mentorship. Here, questions are asked by new chiefs and answered by experienced chief's to give insight and perspective.

 How do you manage time differently as a chief prior to becoming chief, specifically managing the massive increase of email requests? (Vincent L. Sorrell, MD, FACP (honorary), FACC, FASE, FSCCT, FSCMR, Anthony N. DeMaria Professor of Medicine, Acting Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine)

"If you are operating at a high level, you need to acknowledge the fact that you are going to miss an email. Personally, I used to spend my evenings and weekends getting all caught up but recently stopped doing this because it is incredibly unhealthy to work all the time. We all know there is a lot of burnout in this field, and I as anyone, am susceptible to it, especially during the pandemic. In turn, prioritizing your own health over human health is incredibly important.

When I took this job initially, I started in the September/October timeframe. This means I very soon after attended the American Heart Association sessions that November. When I was there, I went to one of the big clinical trial sessions, showing up a half an hour early with a sandwich to get a good seat. As I walked into this enormous hall, I randomly picked a section to sit in and made a beeline straight to that place. As I was getting settled, I noticed someone sitting in the very same row. As it turns out, two seats over from me, was Dr. Eugene Brown Wells. As we know, Dr. Brown is the grandfather of cardiology, and he was also my chair of medicine at the Brigham, residing as the chief of cardiology before that. Dr. Brown is a brilliant man, and a leader for decades and decades in cardiology. Then, out of luck, he was sitting right there in front of me, early, eating a sandwich too. I took this opportunity to say hello and luckily talked to him for the next 25 minutes. He ended up mentoring me on being the chief of cardiology. That time was amazing and completely priceless. To this day, one thing he told me that really stuck was 'eight hours in a day is not enough. 24 hours in a day is not enough. You can’t do it all, so you just have to put it down at some point, then pick up where you left off the next day.' He was right. 24 hours in a day is not enough, you just can’t keep it up. "

- Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD, is director of the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Cardiology in the U-Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson

"I personally create administrative days. On Mondays and Fridays, I block out time to handle these issues.  Then, on top of that, I try to push things down. For example, if one of my electrophysiologists reaches out to me, I almost always ask if they mind reviewing that matter with the section chief. With that, I try to be proactive in making sure that our leadership team knows where they speak from by having monthly meetings with section chiefs and our admin team. When you come from a standpoint of mentoring, talking about the headaches, hassles and positives, that gives everyone the ability to see what problems they need to handle."

- James Chen-tson Fang, M.D., Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Director of the Cardiovascular Service Line at University of Utah Health Care