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ICCAC (Eye-Kak) what? I keep hearing about this group? Who are they, what do they do, and why do I care?

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Dawn M. Christensen, MS, FNP-BC, ACNP-BC
Innovative Program Solutions
Pine Grove, PA, USA

The International Consortium of Circulatory Assist Clinicians (ICCAC) is a partner organization of ISHLT and continues to be actively involved with ISHLT MCS Council initiatives. The ICCAC was founded in 2007 and was created to serve as a professional mentoring organization of mechanical circulatory assist device clinicians whose mission is to share information, educate and support individuals in this field to achieve optimal outcomes for patients requiring mechanical circulatory support, and to support efforts in the area of device clinical research and development. Members of the group include international VAD coordinators, Surgeons, Physicians, Engineers, Industry Members and anyone who is dedicated to the care of patients and advancement of all aspects the MCS field.

The group has grown in the past 10 years. We have many ongoing and several new programs available to MCS professionals. For anyone not familiar with the group, we thought that it would be a great time to introduce you to the activities and initiatives happening now and what to expect in the next year.

Mentorship Program - The ICCAC provides an active formal mentorship program for VAD coordinators. The goals of the program are to:

Mentors and Mentees are paired and Mentors commit to at least a year of participation in the program.

Meetings - The ICCAC provides meetings with specific content geared toward the VAD coordinator. Our annual meeting is held every year in conjunction with ISHLT. It will take place this year on Wednesday, April 5th from 7:30 to 10:00pm. We also sponsor VAD coordinator specific content with other international partner organizations throughout the year. For more information about the annual meeting or any other offering please visit our website at www.vadcoordinator.org.

ISHLT MCS Committee - ICCAC Collaborative Symposium - For the past several years the ICCAC and ISHLT MCS council have worked together to provide collaborative symposia at the ISHLT annual meeting. This year's joint symposium will be held at the ISHLT annual meeting on Wednesday, April 5th from 8:00-10:00am. These symposia represent collaborative content that is essential as the MCS field moves forward. The importance of integrated content to foster the team approach to VAD care continues to be at the forefront of these collaborative sessions.

Online Resources - The ICCAC has an interactive website providing online collaboration forums and resources as well as all of the information you need to know about what is happening with the group. Visit the website by going to www.vadcoordinator.org.

E-Newsletter and Best Practices Documents - The informatics committee is working hard to create "real life" documents based on the latest available research to help incorporate the latest best practices into your program. These are benefits of joining the group and are available to all members.

MCS EMS Field Guides and NCCP Collaboration - The ICCAC has taken over the ownership of the MCS field guides that are available for anyone to download and use on MyLVAD.com. This document is updated annually and is a color coding system for emergency VAD device care. The plans for development of the guides into a mobile app are underway. We hope to see this active sometime in the next year.

Pediatric Group - The pediatric group was created two years ago to provide a forum and resources for the quickly growing pediatric VAD coordinator population. Headed by current ICCAC President, Jodie Lantz, they are making a home with ICCAC and working hard to create an infrastructure for providing pediatric resources and support to the MCS community.

Research Committee - The ICCAC research committee is active and helping to coordinate multicenter research initiatives specific to VAD coordinator practice. The committee also offers an annual research grant to support research in the field. For more information on how to apply visit the ICCAC's website under the awards tab.

Exchange award - In an effort to bring the international community together, and help to understand the differences in programs and practice related to VAD care throughout the world, the ICCAC has developed a Coordinator exchange program. The program is available to members of the group and funds are provided for travel to support an exchange of coordinators from centers on different continents. The first exchange occurred this past year and will be presented at the ICCAC annual meeting in April.

Core Curriculum - The ongoing process of developing the core curriculum of knowledge that is essential to be able to function as a VAD coordinator continues to progress. This has been a long and difficult endeavor but continues to be one of the highest priorities of the group. Without a defined practice structure and a definition of a core set of essential knowledge, we will continue to have a very high turnover rate of VAD Coordinators. Only with a defined practice structure can we move forward within the field.

MPV Course - Last year the ICCAC piloted a course focused on development of critical thinking skills surrounding VAD troubleshooting and emergency intervention. We entitled it the MCS Proficiency Verification Course and the pilot run took place last June. The course targets nurses, surgeons, physicians, engineers, and anyone else who works with MCS supported patients. The format of the course is targeted MCS Interactive group scenarios (MIGS) designed around a problem based learning construct. The course is run similar to the ACLS megacode concept. Small groups are given a scenario and must work through the problems that are presented. Faculty members present the case and allow the group to progress through the scenario independently identifying and discussing critical concepts as they arise. We will be running 2 MPV courses this year; one in the US in June and one in Europe in September. For more information about how to participate check the ICCAC website.

I wanted to leave you with some final thoughts. The ICCAC has several committees and is always looking for people to participate. We all have very busy schedules, but those of us who continue to participate, have witnessed first-hand how important this group has become and how far we have developed the role of the VAD coordinator within the MCS community in the past 10 years. I would challenge you at the very least to check out the online resources available and participate in any way that you can to help bring issues that you face in your daily practice to the table. If we all work together to identify common themes, we work together to make barriers in daily practice as VAD coordinators and MCS Professionals a little easier to overcome. ■

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

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