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From the Ashes ... the Rise of the
Heart Failure Google Group

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HFTM Council Education Committee Representative
Director of Heart Failure and Transplant Research
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Newark, New Jersey, USA

A lot can happen in 2 years. It may seem hard to believe but in April 2010, as we gathered in Chicago for the ISHLT Annual Meeting, a previously little known Icelandic volcano erupted a half a world away and its cloud of ash essentially grounded Europe! Eyjafjallajökull closed many of Europe's major airline hub cities such as London, Paris, and Frankfurt. For so many of our colleagues, attending a meeting in the US was not possible. Through ingenuity and hard work, the ISHLT leadership managed to get a conference call system in place, allowing our European members to present and answer questions even though they couldn't be there in person.

At the same meeting, I was elected to the position of Chair of the Heart Failure and Transplant Medicine Council. In this role, I wanted to solve a problem in which I long struggled: finding a way to communicate with colleagues—both ones I knew personally and those I didn't know directly—about clinical dilemmas or other issues. We had no budget for fancy solutions so I found a free one and, with a little tinkering, the Heart Failure Google Group was born! We have now grown to 477 members and over time have hosted debates on many topics. The activity on the group ebbs and flows with the clinical needs of the members and it has been a really successful effort. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and we now have Google Groups for Nursing Science and Allied Health, Lung Transplantation, Pharmacy, and the Mechanical Circulatory Support Councils. (Instructions for joining these groups is available on each Council's website:

The HFTM Council members should be proud of their important role in the Society, having become one of the largest Councils and most vocal stakeholders. Going forward, the ISHLT will be announcing new and innovative methods of connecting members and eventually the Google Groups will be replaced by a unified system. Regardless of what the new system looks like, it will serve the same purpose: ISHLT will continue to be the glue that connects members worldwide for the advancement of patient care and research.

Disclosure Statement: The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.