November 2014
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Our Mission is to Promote the Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease, including Stroke, in Blacks and other Minorities and to Achieve Health Equity for all through the Elimination of Disparities
Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc.
Events Calendar

2014 Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) Grantees' Conference 
December 1–3
National Harbor, Maryland

Understanding Medicare 
CMS Training Webinar
(for counselors)
December 3
1 - 3 PM

Mentoring In Medicine Health & Science Expo: Empowerment and Education
December 13
New York, NY


CVIS 2015
July 11-16

South American CME Symposium Package in Ecuador and Peru
with Admiral Travel International 


In This Issue:

Message from the President

ABC President Icilma Fergus, MDAnother year is drawing to a close.  It is hard to believe that I am more than six months into my two-year term as President.  Overall, it has been a rich and rewarding experience to work on behalf of the membership and the organization.  Here is an update on the most recent ABC related events.

In October, our Board of Director unanimously appointed Cassandra McCullough our CEO.  Cassandra has done an outstanding job and we could not be more pleased. The Board was especially impressed with her proven leadership abilities while acting simultaneously as executive director and chief operating officer.

Our 5th Annual Saving Hearts for Generations Awards Dinner on October 18 was a great success.  ABC’s tribute to outstanding and accomplished women in medicine and health services was very well received and deserved.  A heartfelt thank you goes to the Chairperson Dr. Barbara Hutchinson and Honorary Chairperson Ms. Genita Johnson for another fantastic event.  The ABC received $306,950 in proceeds, a 14 percent increase over our 2013 event proceeds. Another highlight of the gala was the successful live auction and call for donations where more than $30,000 was raised. The American Heart Association is acknowledged for having 100 percent of its table guests make a contribution during the course of the evening.
I am pleased to highlight other successful ABC events such as those held during the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago (Nov 15-18):
  • Dr. Walter M. Booker, Sr. Memorial Symposium
  • Advances in Diversifying Clinical Trials – supported by Boston Scientific and Alnylam
  • General Membership Meeting
  • ABC-American Heart Association Joint Symposium
Thank you for your active participation in our Strategic Planning process.  Your voice is important in this comprehensive effort to form a clear and relevant plan for ABC’s future.  Please complete the Strategic Planning online survey by December 3, 2014.  The survey should only take a few minutes to complete.

On a daily basis, the ABC works in support of equitable patient care, community and provider education, advocacy and workforce diversity.  This cannot be done with out the support of dedicated committee chairpersons, members and staff.  Please note recent appointments and endorsements.
  • As President of the ABC, I will serve on the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) Population Health Policy and Health Promotion Committee.  This appointment is effective through year 2017.  This committee provides insight, information and practical guidance to the Board of Trustees, College members and staff on issues associated with the management and operation of the CV enterprise in all settings; to examine reimbursement and care delivery models at the practice level and the role of population health management to support members in these areas.
  • ABC is a full partner in the ACC/AHA/ABC/AHA Guideline for Management of Hypertension.  The ABC and American Society of Hypertension were invited recently to join in the development of this expert consensus document. We are pleased that Dr. Kenneth Jamerson will represent ABC.
  • ABC is among organizations endorsing the new ACC/AHA 2014 Lipid Performance Measures.  Reviewing the measures on behalf of ABC was Drs. Karol Watson, Marlene Williams, Jackson Wright and Laurence Watkins.
  • ABC has a number of very important committees which assist us in getting the work done. I salute the chairs of these committees and their members. Please consider volunteering on one of these committees. Information is available on the website and was also sent in the last newsletter.
As always, thank you for your continued support.  I look forward to seeing all of you at the ACC Annual Scientific Session & Expo on March 14-16, 2015, in San Diego!

Icilma Fergus, MD

Message from the CEO

ABC CEO Cassandra McCulloughGreetings ABC family and friends!  In this, my first CEO message, I would like to thank the ABC Board of Directors and membership for the honor of serving as your Chief Executive Officer.  I believe in ABC’s vital and fundamental mission to save lives and the overarching theme to achieve health equity for all through the elimination of disparities in cardiovascular disease.  My connection to ABC and the prevention and reduction of cardiovascular disease, in general, is professional and also personal.  In researching family history, including health, I learned that my paternal great grandparents and grandparents died prematurely from heart disease and stroke.  This cycle continued generationally with the death of my father, uncles, brother and nephew.  On a brighter note, heart disease is preventable and ABC has the ability to inspire and guide.

Since my appointment as CEO, one question I am asked repeatedly is, “what is your vision?”  We can all agree that the big picture vision for which ABC was founded remains as relevant today—and perhaps even more so—as it was when the organization was founded 40 years ago.  What is different is our need to continually adapt to changing conditions of the environment.  I will endeavor to capitalize on the passions, skills and abilities of the ABC leadership, Board of Directors, staff, members and partners  to advance ABC to the next level of growth, service and impact.  We have the right people and, refreshingly, the mindset of many is to sharpen our focus around 3-4 top priorities.  Therefore, the 60-second answer to the question of my vision is:

I will use my passion, skills and platform to spark creative energies to:
  • build on existing relationships and cultivate new alliances to advance ABC’s mission
  • increase capacity of our internal operations
  • enhance programs delivery and reach, including more optimal management of new and existing initiatives
  • capture new and expanded audiences, utilizing modern technologies and social media
  • diversify and increase our financial support, including in-kind resources
  • accelerate diversification of the cardiovascular workforce to ensure a steady flow of minority cardiologists (reactivating scholarship and 4th year fellowship programs; and embracing high school students as cardiovascular health advocates)
  • engage medical students, residents, fellows, patient advocates, as well as practicing and  retired cardiovascular specialists, in the workings of the organization
  • refresh our processes for strategic prioritization of programs and activities.
Thank you for your commitment to ABC and the ABC mission.  Together, we can achieve the highest level of value, service and capabilities for our organization.  My door is always open.  My phone is always on. Your suggestions, comments and involvement (in the areas of both mission and treasure) are always welcome.
Cassandra McCullough

Saving Hearts for Generations 2014 Awards Dinner

2014 Saving Hearts for Generations honorees
ABC Chairman of the Board Robert Gillespie, MD (center), and President Icilma Fergus, MD (left), with 2014 Saving Hearts for Generations honorees Edith Irby Jones MD, Roslyn Scott, MD, MSHA, Leah Brown, JD, Elizabeth Ofili, MD, MPH, and Cheryl Pegus, MD, MPH.
ABC Board member Michael Weamer with Genita Evangelista Johnson and ABC Founder Dr. Richard Allen Williams at the Awards Dinner.
Kathryn Harris, a student at Meharry Medical College and the recipient of the 2014 Dr. Richard Allen Williams & Genita Evangelista Johnson / Association of Black Cardiologists Scholarship, attended the gala.
Go here to view more photos from ABC's Fifth Annual Awards Dinner held October 18 in Washington, DC.

ABC Announcements

Association of Black Cardiologists Visits Boston Scientific and Attends Bridge Leadership Conference

Boston Scientific hosted the Association of Black Cardiologists at its Minneapolis campus October 22-23. During the two-day meeting, ABC met with members of the executive leadership team as well as heads of Close the Gap and other divisions, including clinical research, interventional cardiology, endoscopy, peripheral interventions and rhythm management.

With workforce diversification a core value and top priority for Boston Scientific, the ABC visit coincided with the BRIDGE Leadership Conference. BRIDGE, an exchange platform for Black professionals at Boston Scientific, is one of several employee resource groups designed to meet the varying needs of employee subgroups at Boston Scientific. Camille Chang Gilmore, VP of Human Resources and Chief Diversity officer, heads the company's strategy to develop a diverse talent pipeline. Members of ABC’s executive leadership team served on the panel to answer questions about the organization.

ABC extends a heartfelt thank you to Sam Conaway for his pivotal role in bringing the organizations together to explore synergies and collaboration in areas of alignment. Sam also serves as Chair of the ABC Corporate Advisory Council.
ABC leaders at Boston Scientific  Leadership Conference
Front row (L-R): ABC Immediate Past Board Chairman Phillip Duncan, MD; CEO Cassandra McCullough; President Icilma Fergus, MD; Chairman of the Board Robert Gillespie, MD; President Elect Barbara Hutchinson, MD;  Back row (L-R): ABC Secretary Boisey Barnes; MD; Kevin Ballinger, SVP & President, Interventional Cardiology; Camille Chang Gilmore, VP, HR & Global Chief Diversity Officer; Dominic  Allocco MD, Vice President Clinical Science; Paul Underwood, MD, Medical Director; Samuel Conaway, VP, Sales-Interventional Cardiology; ABC Vice President Henry Okafor, MD.
ABC Attends Black Tie & Sneakers Gala
ABC at Gala event
The Association of Black Cardiologists was the guest of AstraZeneca at the 20th Annual Black Tie & Sneakers Gala on October 7.  This event, sponsored by the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health in celebration of the legacy of Arthur Ashe and those who embody his commitment to making a positive difference in the world, took place at Pier Sixty/Chelsea Piers, NYC.  Ms. Cassandra McCullough, CEO, and Dr. Ola Akinboboye, immediate past president, represented the ABC.  
Pictured at right: Honoree Boris Kodjoe, Dr. Ola Akinboboye and Nicole Ari Parker (wife of Kodjoe)

Member News

ABC Life Member Wayne Batchelor is Co-Principal Investigator of Landmark Stent Trial Targeting Underrepresented Populations with Coronary Artery Disease

Dr. Wayne BachelorAs part of its commitment to innovation and improving patient outcomes, Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX) has initiated the PLATINUM Diversity trial to evaluate the clinical performance of the Promus PREMIER™ Everolimus-Eluting Platinum Chromium Coronary Stent System in underserved patient populations, including women and people of color. ABC Life Member Wayne Batchelor, MD, FACC, FSCAI, is the  co-principal investigator, and has enrolled the first patient in the PLATINUM Diversity trial at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, in Tallahassee, Florida. "The number of minority and female patients participating in clinical trials is often not representative of disease epidemiology," said Dr. Batchelor. "Since different populations may respond differently to various therapies, it is important that we generate data to help clinicians make evidence-based treatment decisions for all patients."   Go here for the full story.

Dr. Kim Williams Touts Vegan Diet to Patients

Dr. Kim WilliamsABC member Kim Williams, MD thought he followed a heart-healthy diet: He avoided red meat and fried foods. He ate his chicken breast without the skin. But in 2003, the Chicago cardiologist realized his level of LDL, the so-called "bad" cholesterol, was too high. Inspired by a patient's success with a plant-based diet, Williams began using "meat substitutes" for protein. Within six weeks, he says, his LDL level plummeted almost by half into the healthy range.

Now a firm believer in the vegan way of eating — no meat, fish, eggs or dairy — Williams is about to step into a prominent leadership role as president of the American College of Cardiology. When he wrote an essay on the benefits of a plant-based diet for cardiac patients, it kicked off yet another rancorous debate over how people should eat to best protect their hearts. Go here for the full story.

Professional Development & Opportunities

ABC Fellows, Residents and Medical Students Updates

Dr. Daniel Addison Receives Advanced Cardiac Imaging Fellowship
Dr. Daniel AddisonABC member Daniel Addison, MD is a recipient of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) 2-year T32 Advanced Cardiac Imaging Fellowship. Since 2000 the program has developed into multidisciplinary effort across all advanced noninvasive cardiovascular imaging such as CT, MR, and PET. The program brings together a group of investigators interested to develop and use these technologies to improve patient management and is lead by Dr. Udo Hoffmann (Director) and Dr. Tomas Neilan (Co-Director).

ABC/Meharry/Vanderbilt 1st Year Fellowship Award - Academic year 2015-2016. Applications due June 1, 2015.

Dr. Jay Brown Best Abstract Award Competition
An abstract summarizing any problem that relates to cardiovascular disease whether it is: Clinical, Basic or Population Science. Open to any physician/scientist presently in a residency or cardiology fellowship training program and active in the Association of Black Cardiologists.  Abstracts due January 15, 2015.

The Dr. Richard Allen Williams & Genita Evangelista Johnson/Association of Black Cardiologists Scholarship
The AMA Foundation and the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) have partnered to create a scholarship that will promote diversity in medicine, encourage commitment to eliminating health care disparities, and support future cardiologists, while helping to alleviate medical student debt.  The 2015 Minority Scholars Award application is now currently available to medical schools. All nominations are due by March 6, 2015 at 5pm CST. Recipients will be announced in June.

Health Equity & Health Care News

Medicare/Medicaid News


Medical News

Research News

Advocacy Updates

AHRQ Track Quality Improvement Status by State

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released “State Snapshots” to measure health care quality and access across the nation.   This information allows all health stakeholders the opportunity to track the provision of health care and quality indicators by State.  The data can be analyzed by type of care, treatment setting, clinical condition, insurance status, race and income. “State Snapshots” data are drawn from the 2013 National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report.  Click here for more information.

The National REACH Coalition Launches the Health Equity Leadership & Exchange Network

The National REACH Coalition (NRC), in collaboration with Morehouse School of Medicine and the National Collaborative for Health Equity, recently announced the launch of the Health Equity Leadership & Exchange Network (HELEN) – A Campaign to Advance Health Equity.  According to a news release, the HELEN initiative, funded by a grant from the Aetna Foundation, establishes a forum to bolster leadership development and the exchange of ideas and information among communities of color to advance racial and ethnic health equity in laws, policies, and programs. The HELEN project is the first component of a larger comprehensive engagement and leadership development program to achieve health equity and strengthen the evidence base for informing health laws, policies, and programs that affect the lives of racial and ethnic minority communities.    To learn more about the project, please visit

CMS Releases Open Payments Data

Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the first round of Open Payments data to help consumers understand the financial relationships between the health care industry, and physicians and teaching hospitals.

This data release is part of a program established under the Affordable Care Act.   The Open Payments program lists consulting fees, research grants, travel reimbursements, and other gifts the health care industry – such as medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies – provided to physicians and teaching hospitals during the last five months of 2013. The data contains 4.4 million payments valued at nearly $3.5 billion attributable to 546,000 individual physicians and almost 1,360 teaching hospitals. Future reports will be published annually and will include a full 12 months of payment data, beginning in June 2015.

CMS notes that about 40 percent of the records published now are de-identified due to errors with the data submission. This data will be fully identifiable in 2015 after the reporting entity submits corrected data, and physicians and teaching hospitals have a chance to review and dispute the information. In addition, data that were disputed and not resolved by the end of the September 11 initial review period have not been published but will be updated at a later date.

HHS Announces $212 Million in Grants to Prevent Chronic Disease

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced nearly $212 million in grant awards to all 50 states and the District of Columbia to support programs aimed at preventing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  Funded in part by the Affordable Care Act, the awards will strengthen state and local programs aimed at fighting these chronic diseases, which are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.  Go here for state-by-state lists of funding awards.

Any corrections and/or updates may be directed to: Member Services.

Copyright © 2014 Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc, All rights reserved.

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