The mission statement of the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists (SCA) was updated recently as part of our regular assessment of current state and future goals, and adapted for changes that inevitably occur in technology, medical knowledge, and societal norms. Our new mission statement reflects our look forward. SCA is an international organization of physicians that promotes excellence in patient care through education and research in perioperative care for patients undergoing cardiothoracic and vascular procedures. As part of our 45th year, we looked at our past, present, and future with a critical lens to ensure a successful next 45 years and beyond. I want to start out by recognizing the impactful presidency of Andrew D. Shaw, MB, FCCM, FFICM, FRCA. He is now serving as the immediate past president. His contributions to the society have been numerous over the past 20-plus years. Some highlights of his many contributions include supporting and fostering initiatives to further expand our international efforts, support of our critically important DEI work, and growth of SCA's roles in research in perioperative medicine, in particular fluid resuscitation.
We convened two task force groups to study our history and build our future. The History Task Force collected archival work from our founding fathers and information from pivotal leaders in the world of cardiac anesthesiology. That information has been collated and presented on our website to allow future cardiac anesthesiologists to understand where we started as a specialty and where we are today (asamonitor.pub/48A95XL). Thanks to Glenn Gravlee, MD, and the members of the task force for their extraordinary efforts. In reviewing the timeline, it is clear that new technology will continue to disrupt and improve our care, that education needs will change, and that research is critical to enhancing patient outcomes. The task force is now a Council, and Dr. Gravlee will continue in yet another leadership role, guiding ongoing archival work for the society.
The second task force is focusing on a comprehensive review of our education programs and will provide their final report at our winter board meeting in February. Education in 2023 looks different than during our early meetings. Hybrid meetings, online education, and changing content needs are a few areas of current and future-looking work being done by our Scientific Program Committee and Online Education Committee. Gina Linganna, MD, led the creation of the ARC board review program by our Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology program directors. All online content, including the board review course material, is available as a member benefit at our online learning management system, SCA University (asamonitor.pub/46hZ7sA). Annemarie Thompson, MD, is leading the task force review of current and future education needs to ensure years of successful learning by our members, in the format that best meets your needs.
“The society has been dedicated to research since the first grant in 1983. That grant led the way for many years of SCA funding for advancing care of the cardiovascular and thoracic patient.”
Advanced monitoring is critical to our specialty, and the advent of TEE revolutionized our ability to inform patient care. SCA Echo has been training colleagues to perform advanced echocardiographic imaging and diagnoses since 1998, when Drs. Savage and Aronson launched the highly successful Comprehensive Review and Update of Perioperative Echo. The Perioperative TEE exam was being created, and the National Board of Echocardiography was formed as a joint venture between SCA and the American Society of Echocardiography. I vividly remember the early TEE certification exams, taking place in large ballrooms with analog images playing on a large T.V. monitors. Fast forward, and today we are utilizing 3D, strain, and structural imaging techniques. Join your colleagues at SCA Echo on February 15-18 in Atlanta, Georgia. We now offer POCUS and TEE workshops at our annual meeting as well. We will be ready for the next disruptive technologies, with research, education, and leadership by our members.
The society has been dedicated to research since the first grant in 1983. That grant led the way for many years of SCA funding for advancing care of the cardiovascular and thoracic patient. Today, we offer funding for early- and mid-career projects, Participant User File (PUF) awards, and the multi-year Multi-Institutional Collaborative Clinical/Translational Research grant (MICoR), DEI awards, and Kaplan leadership grant, with almost $5 million total awarded since 1983. The MICoR and PUF grants are evidence of our successful reaction to the changing needs of research in the 21st century.
ACGME-approved Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology fellowship training programs started in 2008, and there are now 74 approved fellowship programs and 261 adult cardiothoracic anesthesia fellowship positions available through the annual match. Successful completion of fellowship is required for advanced perioperative TEE certification by the National Board of Echocardiography, and many fellows attend the SCA Echo meeting to enhance their knowledge before taking the board exam. In addition to the National Board of Echocardiography advanced certification in perioperative medicine, the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) is starting a new board certification for all aspects of adult cardiothoracic anesthesiology. The first adult cardiothoracic anesthesiology board certification exam will take place in December 2023, offered by the ABA. Numerous SCA members are part of the ABA test creation and Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesia (MOCA) creation teams.
Since 2014 we have collaborated with the European Association of Cardiothoracic Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care (EACTAIC), including shared board appointments to further increase collaboration between our societies. By the time of publication, many of our society members will have returned from a successful meeting in Budapest immediately prior to the ASA annual meeting. I look forward to our continued engagement with the International Congress of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa, which is occurring at press time for this article. The SCA International Council is working with our international partners on expanding collaborations, including a global workforce study. We are also working to develop membership status specific to our international colleagues.
One of the most impactful moments for me in our history was the creation of our extremely successful special interest group (SIG), Women In Cardiothoracic Anesthesia, or WICTA. Due to the vision and leadership of Daryl Oakes, MD, the group became the largest and most engaged SIG in our society. She has recently been succeeded by Bola Faloye, MD, FASA, FASE. We look forward to her leadership. Annual mentorship, webinars, and development opportunities for women (and men) have created significant engagement of our colleagues. Our DEI engagement has led to involvement of junior trainees with an aim toward reflecting the diversity of our patients and further enhancing cardiac care. Our DEI travel grants welcomed 10 residents last year to our annual meeting, and we were fortunate to have Dr. Clyde Yancy share his work regarding health equity as our keynote speaker. As the third female president of the society, one of my goals is to continue sponsoring and developing all minority groups through the committee volunteer process that increases volunteer participation options. We currently have over 600 member volunteers managing the research, education, and service of SCA.
The 46th Annual Meeting and Workshops and the Thoracic Anesthesia Symposium (TAS) will occur in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, as part of our inaugural collaboration with the American Association for Thoracic Surgery as joint meetings. We will be featuring multidisciplinary, high-fidelity simulation sessions at the meeting as well as workshops and content for all physicians who care for cardiovascular and thoracic surgical patients, including structural and interventional cardiology topics. I hope to see you in Toronto on April 27-30 for the scientific sessions. TAS will occur April 26, and the Cardiovascular Outcomes Research in Perioperative Medicine conference will be integrated into the annual meeting sessions. I value member feedback on how we can improve SCA involvement for all who participate in the care of cardiothoracic patients. We know most cardiac anesthesiologists provide care to a broad range of patients, and we want you to know we are creating content applicable to all types of practice environments.
The SCA is continually looking forward to offering our members ever stronger education, research, and clinical care advances for cardiovascular and thoracic surgical and interventional patients around the world. The SCA has expansive volunteer opportunities available to our members, and we are committed to DEI with regard to participation in these activities.