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Program Chair's First Quarter Report

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Andreas Zuckermann, MD
2015 Scientific Program Chair
Medical University of Vienna
Vienna, Austria

What makes a good program chair? I asked myself this question a thousand times before the board officially appointed me. You never know if, or when, you may be selected for this job. Fortunately, I got the call from the incoming president way ahead of the meeting; January 2013. This is important, as you need to plan your private life as well as your normal working life at the university.

After receiving the 'baton' from Jason Christie in San Diego earlier this year I have learned a lot of things about my job; things I never thought I would have to deal with. Naming Jason is significant, as he is one of the people who has helped me tremendously over the last months. He taught me how to plan and think ahead. Our President is the next important person I must mention, as Hermann acts like a big brother, helping with tough decisions, and offering wisdom and creative ideas.

However, the biggest help to me are ISHLT's response to Wonder Women. Amanda, Susie and Lisa know so much about the meeting and are its heart and soul. links imageWithout them I would have struggled a thousand times more.

So the big questions now are: What is the best way to utilize all these great people helping me? And what really makes a good Program chair?

I guess the recipe consists of these ingredients: a huge amount of creativity, mix it with tons of persistence, then stir it deliberately and slowly to include more and more time before topping it off with diplomatic skills ....

Right off the bat, I had to choose a committee of experts who would help me put together the meeting content. I tried to convince Amanda to expand the committee roster to 500 people, but she surprisingly rejected this idea so I had to cut down and skeletonize the committee until the final number was reached. There are so many great people I could not include and I apologize for that.

links imageThe next important step was a sight inspection in Nice. We had to check out the congress center (Figure 1, above) and possible locations for the Gala. These were two great but very exhausting days as we rushed from place to place and tried to discuss every aspect of the meeting in the congress building. Figure 2 (left) shows the group working and discussing. However, we immediately recognized our big mistake in bringing the meeting to Nice; the city (as the name tells it) is so nice, we will have to organize a very enticing meeting with excellent content and speakers, otherwise all participants will do their own sessions on the promenade or the beach (Figure 3, below). Nevertheless, President Reichenspurner and I are optimistic that we will put together a great meeting for you!

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As it will be an international meeting, we will try to reach out to our members, especially the ones who are not able to attend the meetings in the USA. The globalization of the ISHLT and all that it stands for (the only organization that tackles end-stage heart and lung failure and pulmonary hypertension in a real interdisciplinary way) is the foundation on which the meeting will be built. Right now we are in the process of constructing the symposia and we will be sure to update you soon.

Looking forward to see you in Nice in 2015! ■

PS: Let us Read and let us Dance—two amusements that will never do any harm to the world. (Voltaire)

Disclosure Statement: the author has no conflicts of interest related to this article.

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