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The Smithsonian, The Reflecting Pool and The ISHLT

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Pam Combs, PhD, RN
Seton Medical Center
Austin, TX, USA

As we near our upcoming ISHLT Conference in Washington, D.C., excitement grows among all attendees regarding the upcoming events and learning opportunities. Now, let's consider the conference as a metaphor for the Smithsonian Institute. Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian Institute is the world's largest museum and research complex, comprising 19 museums and galleries and nine research facilities [1]. Interestingly, the Institute's vision is "shaping the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world," which is strikingly similar to the vision of ISHLT. Our goal is also to discover new knowledge with research and share resources in an International fashion [1].

Commonly known simply as the "Smithsonian," this world-renowned museum and research complex features a bountiful of stimulating origins of man and offers an abundance of opportunities showing us from whence we've come and where we're headed; for example, the Latino Center, Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, and the Collection of Photographs of Women Pilots just to name a few. In attending ISHLT, we will discover a dazzling array of interests to intrigue the imagination, similar to a trip to the Smithsonian. We will be able to simultaneously trace the history of MCS and transplant and get a glimpse of the future. Strolling through the ISHLT conference center, we may note that the "Mini Oral Abstract Sessions" are taking place while the "Great Debates in MCS" are being presented down the hall. As "Heparin Monitoring" is being presented in one room, the "Future of Lung Preservation Techniques" is being discussed in another, mirroring the great Smithsonian's ongoing discovery of new knowledge. In the same way that the Smithsonian shapes the future, ISHLT offers an "Academy Master Class in Heart Failure" and "Cardiac Transplant Medicine" to teach those eager to be a part of the future of MCS and transplant. Keep in mind as we discover, trace, stroll, network and learn with the freedom of scientific inquiry from the 36th ISHLT meeting, there are great monuments and a younger version of city akin to Greece, Rome, London and Paris combined providing us a backdrop for liberty and justice for all.

In conclusion, take advantage of this opportunity to explore the many offerings of the ISHLT Conference as you would a Smithsonian museum - and take the time to explore the Smithsonians themselves! ■

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


  1. Smithsonian. (2016, March 30). Retrieved from https://www.si.edu/.

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