The Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists (SCA) is an international organization of health care professionals whose mission is excellence and leadership in providing cardiovascular and thoracic patient care through education and research. We are committed to upholding the highest standards of inclusivity and diversity in pursuing our mission of being an unbiased and credible source of information, expertise, and leadership. Our collective reverence for mutual respect, shared experience, and mentoring drive what we do, both professionally and personally, each and every day. In this article for the ASA Monitor, I will provide an update on our society and describe a few select highlights from the past 12 months.
Our board of directors meets quarterly with spring and fall meetings focused on operational matters, and winter and summer meetings focused on strategy and generative discussion. Recognizing the importance of giving our early-career members a voice in SCA's decision-making, we recently expanded our board to include two elected early-career directors: Dr. Jessica Brodt from Stanford and Dr. Stephanie Ibekwe from Baylor. Our board works hard and has recently undergone an extensive review of SCA's committee structure under the leadership of Dr. Kathy Glas, SCA President-Elect. New elements in our infrastructure – adding to our existing special interest groups (SIGs) for Women in Cardiothoracic Anesthesia, Regional Anesthesia for Cardiothoracic Enhanced Recovery, and Simulation (WICTA, RACER, and Sim, respectively) – are a SIG for Adult Congenital Heart Disease and committees for transplantation and extra corporeal membrane oxygenation. Our society is thriving, growing, and expanding our reach as our specialty itself grows and develops. At the time of writing, there are a little under 3,500 members of the society, of whom approximately 400 occupy a position on one of our committees. Our annual meeting this year was attended by 1,264 delegates from 23 countries, 1,100 of whom attended in person. I am thus immensely proud of our role in the international community and particularly pleased we are a signatory society in the new International Academy of Cardiac Anesthesia.
This year has seen the approval of a subspecialty certificate in Adult Cardiac Anesthesiology by the American Board of Medical Specialties. We are proud of this milestone development in patient safety, and I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to achieve this goal, especially Drs. Chris Troianos and Tom McLoughlin, without whose skilled advocacy this would not have been possible. We look forward to the new examination and certification process and are delighted to have had the opportunity to play a central role in such a significant step forward.
We will soon celebrate our 45th birthday (the first meeting of the SCA was held on November 16, 1979, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana), and to commemorate this occasion I have convened a presidential task force to collect, curate, display, and index the “history of the SCA.” At one time or another, Dr. Glenn Gravlee has held every leadership position in the SCA, and he has graciously agreed to lead this group in its work. Further details will be released in due course, but for now, anyone with information (especially photographs or other SCA memorabilia) to share should please contact Glenn through the society email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also proud to announce our newest educational platform – SCA University. “SCAU” is an online learning management system in which we will store and provide enduring educational materials to our members as an ongoing member benefit. There is already a rich collection of content, and I am grateful to Dr. Jennifer Hargrave, who leads our online educational committee, for her committee's tireless work to develop this programming for our members. I have no doubt this will become a valuable resource for cardiac anesthesiologists preparing for the new subspecialty examination.
On the subject of educational content, I would like to draw attention to our four (annual) in-person educational meetings. Each spring we hold our Echo meeting, where attendees review the state of the art in perioperative transesophageal echocardiography. Those preparing for the NBE examinations can supplement their learning at the Echo meeting by adding on a board review course offered later in the year. This is currently an online program, and it has been hugely popular in recent years. In 2023, our in-person Echo meeting will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 17-19. A few months later on May 5, 2023, we will again hold our popular Thoracic Anesthesia Symposium (TAS) and workshops, along with our newest meeting – Cardiovascular Outcomes Research in Perioperative Medicine (COR-PM), also on May 5 in Portland, Oregon. Immediately after TAS and COR-PM, we will hold our Annual Scientific Meeting (also in Portland) and are delighted to announce the return of our gala event in support of the SCA Endowment fund. Please save the dates now as this is a night you will not want to miss!
Lastly, I would like to remind all those who practice cardiothoracic anesthesia that we are here for you and your patients. We understand that most anesthesiologists who enjoy a cardiothoracic practice do so as part of a broader scope of practice, and we are keen to encourage those who are not currently SCA members to join. We work hard to listen to our members so we can provide the materials they need to help them maintain a high-quality practice and develop their own skill set. We enjoy tremendous engagement from our membership and are not just a society for those who practice exclusively in a cardiothoracic environment. Our website is rich in content, most of which is available to all. Scan the QR code in this article to be taken to our webpage (scahq.org) for all things SCA. I hope to meet you in person at one of our meetings next year.
Disclosure: Dr. Shaw is a consultant for Astellas Pharma, Edwards Lifesciences, Fast Biomedical, and Fresenius USA, Inc. He is also a member of Novartis' clinical trial steering committee.