Your President's Final Report
Maryl Johnson, MD
2017 ISHLT Presdient
It seems like only yesterday that we were in Washington, D.C. at the 2016 Annual Meeting, and I was being handed the gavel to assume the role of ISHLT president. However, it has been a year (a very fast one for me!) and it is now time to reflect on the past year and update you, the ISHLT members, on our accomplishments. More importantly, I want to make you aware that the path that is being charted for the ISHLT is designed to allow (and in many ways require) ISHLT members to actively participate to enhance future success.
At last year's annual meeting, the ISHLT's Strategic Framework 2016-2020 was unveiled (see May 2016 ISHLT LINKS for details). This year's primary focus of the ISHLT leadership and staff has been to prioritize objectives to pursue and develop tactics for implementation. Some of this progress has been shared in previous issues of the LINKS (May and November, 2016), but to make it easier to comprehend the accomplishments, I will summarize below the Strategic Imperatives that have happened or remain in progress.
Strategic Imperative: Enhance Membership Value
- A webinar section has been added to the ISHLT website to provide content "on demand" free of charge to ISHLT members. The 2016 MCS Core Academy and a new NHSAH webinar are currently available with plans to add other pre-recorded core academies and material over time.
- An ISHLT website task force is actively working with staff toward upgrading the ISHLT website to improve accessibility/connectivity. Contract negotiations with a website developer are in progress.
- A WebEx account is available for Board meetings (used for our December 2016 conference call) and for Council use on request.
- The Plenary Sessions in San Diego will be streamed live at no charge to anyone who wants to view (details regarding how to access these sessions will be coming soon).
- Other annual meeting content will be video recorded and made available for viewing following the meeting.
- Council networking nights have been scheduled, coordinated with posters/wine and cheese (Please refer to the information sent in an email to members on February 22 or ask your Council leadership for details).
Strategic Imperative: Engage Our Community Worldwide
- A joint symposium at the meeting of the Brazilian Society for Organ Transplantation in October 2017 is being organized, led by the Heart Failure and Transplant Council.
- A proposal for ISHLT endorsement of the MCS meeting in Singapore in 2017 will be discussed by the Board in San Diego.
- The Board approved the translation of two recent ISHLT guidelines into Spanish (1. Selection of Lung Transplant Candidates and 2. Updated Listing Criteria for Heart Transplantation). The translations will be posted on the ISHLT website.
- The Board has allocated money for the translation of other guidelines or into other languages; adjudication of which documents/languages to pursue will be by the Standards and Guidelines Committee.
Strategic Imperative: Improve Science and Drive Innovation
- The Board discussed the possible establishment of an ISHLT Research and Quality Innovation Task Force to explore partnerships with outside funding. Although deemed important, work on this objective was postponed due to the staff, volunteer, and financial resources that it would require. The Board will revisit this at a later date.
- The Board requested the Grants and Awards Committee to define tactics to increase the transparency and visibility of current grant and award recipients. Broad proposals were brought to the Board in January, 2017 and the committee was asked to work with Amanda to provide more specific tactics to be considered at a future Board meeting.
Strategic Imperative: Ensure Organizational Vitality
- A Governance Committee has been formed and now serves as the nominating committee for the ISHLT.
- The Governance Committee is also working to define the roles/responsibilities for all organizational units of the ISHLT (Board/Committees/Councils/Leaders within these entities). The Committee has been having teleconferences every two weeks to achieve this objective. Although the work is progressing, the ambitious goal of having these completed by the time of the 2017 Annual Meeting will not be met.
Although working to move forward the objectives defined in the ISHLT Strategic Framework has been a major focus for the ISHLT, its leadership and staff this year, several other items of importance to ISHLT members are also in progress. Highlights of some of the other initiatives include:
- A rewrite of ISHLT bylaws occurred as the current bylaws are not in compliance with the Illinois law for non-profit organizations, to which ISHLT is subject. A copy of the bylaws and a summary of the changes included was sent to all members and the bylaws will be voted on at the ISHLT Annual Meeting to be held on Friday, April 7 at 9:30 am in Seaport A-E. Let your voice be heard and join us not only for the vote on the bylaws but other important society business and the election of our new Board members and officers.
- Upon recommendation of a task force, which included members of the Pulmonary Hypertension Council, a Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH) Council has been formed under the leadership of Bill Auger. The first council meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 5 at 6:15 pm in La Jolla AB. If you are interested in participating, please attend the meeting or contact Bill and inform him of your interest.
- In discussing the possibility of a CTEPH Council, it became apparent that the ISHLT did not have criteria for when a new Council should be formed or how Councils should be evaluated. A Board work group was established to bring back recommendations to the Board concerning these issues.
- With "Engage Our Community Worldwide" being one of the strategic imperatives in the ISHLT Strategic Framework, the Board decided that we needed to define how we can improve our efforts in this area. Over the next year a task force will be formed to evaluate how the ISHLT can improve international engagement, not only among our members but the worldwide community of providers interested in the care of patients with advanced heart and lung disease.
- The Board has tasked specific members to work with us to develop ways the ISHLT can celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the first heart transplant which occurred on December 3, 1967.
From the length of this summary, it is apparent that a lot has happened in the ISHLT over the past year. This work has been the result of the efforts of our members, Councils, Committees, Board (in particular the Executive Committee), and staff, all of whom I wish to sincerely thank for their efforts and contributions. Moving the ISHLT forward is best accomplished by contributions from all of its members, so if you have been involved, I thank you. If you haven't, I encourage you to talk to your Council leadership or a society leader to indicate your specific interests.
I want to express sincere gratitude to Jeff Teuteberg, his program committee, and the ISHLT staff for organizing an excellent meeting in San Diego and one you won't want to miss. Please see Jeff's program chair report in this edition of the LINKS for further details.
Finally, I want to thank the ISHLT for the opportunity to serve as your president over the past year. My passion for the ISHLT, its mission and the bright future that we have has only been enhanced by my more direct involvement. The society will be in excellent hands moving forward as Andy Fisher assumes the presidency in San Diego. I pledge to Andy and to you, all ISHLT members, that I will continue to support the ISHLT in the future in whatever way I can.
I will leave you with a quote that I read in a coffee house in Banff, Alberta, Canada last fall which I think states well what is required for the ISHLT to continue to move forward. That quote is, "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together." As the ISHLT community, we have the true opportunity to improve the care of patients with advanced heart and lung disease and our likelihood of success is enhanced by working together.
See you in San Diego! ■
Disclosure Statement: The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.