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Your President's Halftime Report

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Maryl R. Johnson, MD
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI, USA

It doesn't seem possible that I have reached the midpoint of my ISHLT presidency! During my first 6 months, I have continued to be impressed by the dedication of our members and the commitment of our leaders and staff to move the ISHLT forward. In late September, Amanda Rowe and I had a series of conference calls with the Council Chairs and Board Liaisons during which we learned of the challenges faced by them and tried to provide suggestions as to how important initiatives might be moved forward. Last weekend we further opened lines of communication when the ISHLT Board and Council chairs met at Normandy Farms Inn outside Philadelphia for a retreat and Board meeting. This was felt to be a grand success by all and hopefully will serve as a firm foundation for ISHLT leaders to work together more closely in the future. Not only were we able to get to know each other better, but in several brainstorming sessions we discussed how the Councils, Council leaders, and Board can communicate and collaborate better to strengthen the ISHLT and allow the ISHLT to accomplish its mission.

The ISHLT Board, Governance Committee, and Staff have been working hard to move forward the objectives defined as first year priorities in the 2016-2020 ISHLT Strategic Framework. As reported in the May and August issues of the LINKS, the Board selected 6 objectives, representing items from all of the agreed upon Strategic Imperatives, as priorities for this year. I am happy to report that progress is continuing to be made on nearly all of them, as indicated below:

Strategic Imperative


Enhance Membership Value

Offer access to ISHLT educational opportunities throughout the year

  • A Webinar section has been added to the Education tab on the ISHLT website where members will be able to view content "on demand" free of charge. The focus will be to provide content that has already been recorded at the Annual Meeting, but there is also a webinar being produced by the NHSAH Council that should be available in the near future. The 2016 MCS Core Academy is presently available and additional prerecorded offerings will be added in the future.

Enhance Membership Value

Upgrade ISHLT website to improve accessibility/connectivity/device independence

  • A web-site task force has been created, chaired by Michael Petty with members including David Baran, Alejandro Bertolotti, Mark Greer and Manreet Kanwar. This group has been tasked to work with ISHLT staff (and outside consultants as necessary) to plan the website upgrade with a goal of having the updated website available by the time of the 2018 Annual Meeting.

Enhance Membership Value

Use Webinar format to facilitate quarterly Council meetings during the year and enhance interdisciplinary Council discussions

  • A survey of the Council Chairs suggested that an online meeting platform outside the Annual Meeting was less of a priority than increasing member networking opportunities at the Annual Meeting, so the latter will be pursued first.
  • The Board Conference call in December will use an online platform so content can be projected by Amanda for Board members to view during our discussions. Depending on how beneficial this is, a similar platform may be made available for future Council leadership or Council member calls.

Engage Our Community Worldwide

Collaborate with 3 existing regional/national societies to increase outreach for education and research in heart & lung disease

  • On the July Board conference call, new policies for ISHLT participation in joint educational activities (In Kind Educational Grants and Endorsements) were passed by the Board. These policies and the application forms for applying for these types of activities, in addition to those for other approved educational activities, can be found in the Education tab on the ISHLT website.
  • It was decided that priority topics for educational collaborations would be 1) Mechanical Circulatory Support; 2) Heart and Lung Transplantation; and 3) Pulmonary Hypertension. Regions of the world prioritized for collaboration include 1) Latin America and the Brazilian Transplantation Society; 2) Asia Pacific and 3) Eastern Europe. I2C2 leadership is working with staff and local organizations to facilitate the submission of appropriate applications for Board approval to move forward with collaborative educational events in these areas.

Improve Science & Drive Innovation

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

  • Although deemed to be very important, this objective was postponed by the Board as it is really a tactic of a larger initiative that will consume considerable volunteer, financial, and staff resources. It will be reconsidered by the Board within the next year.

Ensure Organizational Vitality

Create a formal Governance Committee with 3-year terms of office and representation from Past Presidents and Past Board members

  • A Governance Committee has been formed, chaired by Duane Davis and including Paul Corris, Andy Fisher, Richard Kirk, Stuart Sweet, David Taylor and me.

Ensure Organizational Vitality

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

  • The Governance Committee is holding conference calls every two weeks to work toward developing job descriptions for all ISHLT organizational units and volunteer positions. The ambitious goal is to have these developed by the time of the 2017 Annual Meeting.

We had previously reported that we would reassess the remainder of the Strategic Framework and decide which objectives to move forward next. The Board carried out this task at our recent Board meeting and decided upon the following objectives as the next priority:

Strategic Imperative


Enhance Membership Value

Improved access to annual meeting content for those unable to attend

Enhance Membership Value

Provide better opportunities for Council member networking at the Annual meeting

Enhance Membership Value

Increase networking potential of the ISHLT Links

Engage our Community Worldwide

Be a resource to countries trying to establish their standards of care in this field by sharing practice guidelines

Improve Science & Drive Innovation

Provide timely feedback to the hospitals on their performance (using Registry data)

Ensure Organizational Vitality

Establish a Leadership Development Committee with 3-5 year terms of office and representation from Past Presidents. Responsibilities to include:

  1. Develop process for identifying potential future ISHLT leaders
  2. Develop process for mentoring and assessing the identified potential future ISHLT leaders and placing them into positions of responsibility
  3. Develop plan for expanding current pool of individuals eligible to serve and with the necessary skill set for serving effectively as an Officer of ISHLT

As with the objectives prioritized for the first year, ISHLT leaders will be working with Staff to define specific tactics to move these additional objectives forward. ISHLT Councils and Committees are also encouraged to keep the Strategic Framework prioritized objectives in mind as they develop project proposals to bring forward to the Board.

Yes - - your ISHLT is alive and well and moving forward every day! Please read the Program Chair's Report in this issue of the LINKS and visit the Annual Meeting website to learn more about the exciting 2017 Annual Meeting to be held in San Diego in April, 2017. You won't want to miss the educational content and networking opportunities it will provide, so make your plans to attend NOW! ■

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

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