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First 100 Days in Office

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Maryl Johnson, MD
2017 ISHLT President

Univeristy of Wisconsin
Madison, WI, USA

It will be difficult in this short space to provide you with even a condensed version of all that has been happening in the ISHLT during the first 100 days of my presidency, but I will give it a try! It has been a true privilege to get to know many ISHLT members better and to work closely with you in beginning to implement the priority goals outlined in our strategic plan. I have also had the opportunity to work closely with Jeff Teuteberg and the Symposium Planning Committee for the 2017 ISHLT Annual Scientific Sessions. I won't say too much about this here as I don't want to steal Jeff's thunder. However, thanks to submissions from Councils and society members there were nearly 150 symposium proposals to choose from, so you can count on an another excellent program in San Diego. The time to start planning your abstract submissions and your trip to San Diego so that you do not miss out on the education and networking opportunities is NOW.

Members of the Board and the Strategic Planning Task Force have worked closely with Amanda and other staff members since the Annual Meeting to move forward the Board selected priority objectives from the 2016-2020 strategic plan that I outlined for you in the May, 2016 issue of the Links. I am happy to report that progress is being made! I would in particular like to thank Chris Wigfield, the Education Committee and Amanda for "coming through" with "Policies for ISHLT Endorsement of Other Organizations Meetings" and "Policies for ISHLT In-Kind Educational Grants to Other Organizations". These policies were approved by the Board on our conference call on July 25 and will soon be posted on the ISHLT website for all interested parties to guide the best way to develop such educational activities. In addition, specific tactics to reach many of the priority objectives for year one were also discussed by your Board of Directors on the conference call. The following specific actions being taken:

Strategic Imperative


Enhance Membership Value

Develop an online interactive platform for board and council meetings and educational offerings

  • Two webinars are being planned before the end of 2016. The first will present content from the 2016 MCS Core Competency Academy and the second will be a newly created NHSAH webinar. Stay tuned for times and specific registration information.
  • These educational offerings will be free to members but non-members will be charged a fee.
  • Discussions will continue with Council leadership and Council members regarding the best way to enhance Council engagement and productivity.

Enhance Membership Value

Begin upgrade of website to improve accessibility/connectivity/device independence

  • The Board approved the creation of a task force to work with staff in beginning the website redesign project. This is a significant task and updates will be provided as progress is made.

Engage Our Community Worldwide

Collaborate with 3 existing regional/national societies to increase outreach for education in Heart/Lung Diseases

  • Priority topics were defined as Mechanical Circulatory Support, Heart and Lung Transplantation, and Pulmonary Hypertension.
  • Regions/societies to prioritize in the next year were defined as Latin America/Brazilian Transplantation Society, the Asia Pacific Region, and Eastern Europe.

Improve Science & Drive Innovation

Establish an ISHLT Research & Quality Innovation Task Force to explore partnerships with outside funding sources

  • Discussion of a feasibility study to define other sources for fundraising will occur at a Board meeting in 2017.
  • The Board approved funding for an additional Career Development Award to be awarded in 2017 and for the next 10 years.
  • The Board requested the Grants and Awards Committee to define a plan to make the benefits that grants have provided to previous awardees more visible to ISHLT members.

Ensure Organizational Vitality

Develop roles/responsibilities for all organizational units (Board/Committees/ Councils) and volunteer positions

  • The Governance Committee is working on defining the ISHLT projects and people that should be evaluated as well as the frequency of the evaluation. As a first step, job descriptions for Society leaders and Board members will be developed, as evaluation will be most productive if expectations are clearly spelled out in advance.

Work on these specific tactics and others is ongoing. I thank all ISHLT members in advance for their active participation in the process and welcome any feedback you might have regarding what is important to you as an ISHLT member that might fit into the framework of the Strategic Plan.

The work of the Councils is integral to the ongoing success of the ISHLT and indeed the quality of the symposia proposals submitted by the Councils for the 2017 Annual Meeting shows that the Councils are alive and well! However, another goal for this year is to try to better connect the Council leadership with the ISHLT Leadership and Board. We have asked the Board liaisons to more actively serve as the direct link between Council leadership and the Board but additional opportunities for interaction are coming. We are in the process of scheduling conference calls with the Council chairs, Board liaisons, Amanda and myself in September as a forum where ideas and challenges regarding Council activities can be addressed individually. In addition, Council Chairs will be joining the Board for a retreat and our Board meeting in the fall to further enhance the interaction of these important elements of the ISHLT.

I understand the confidence and expectations that have been placed in me as your 2016-2017 ISHLT President. However, a leader can only be as good as the people who are being led. In the words of Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (who unfortunately, like many others in leadership positions, has faced controversy recently!), "Leadership is about encouraging people. It's about stimulating them. It's about enabling them to achieve what they can achieve - and to do that with a purpose."

I am your leader (fortunately not involved in any controversies of which I am aware!), and clearly what we can accomplish together is so much greater than what we can accomplish as individuals. So please join me actively as we work together to further the ISHLT Mission of "...improving the care of patients with advanced heart or lung disease through transplantation, mechanical support, and innovative therapies via research, education, and advocacy". ■

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

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