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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

29th Caribbean Cardiology Conference 2014
July 23 - 26
Paradise Island, Bahamas

International Academy of Cardiology
Annual Scientific Sessions 2014

19th World Congress On Heart Disease
July 25-28

Boston, MA

ABC-NMA (Internal Medicine Section) Joint Symposium
"Cardiovascular Health Equity: Optimizing CVD Management IN THE ACA Era"
Aug 2
Honolulu, HI

NMA Annual Convention & Scientific Assembly
August 2-6
Honolulu, HI

High Blood Pressure Research 2014 Scientific Sessions>
September 9-12
San Francisco, CA

ABC Corporate Partners Meeting
Oct 17
Marriott Marquis Hotel

Washington, DC

ABC 5th Annual Saving Hearts for Generations Awards Dinner 
Celebrating Women
Oct 18
Marriott Marquis Hotel
Washington, DC

ABC Dr. Walter M. Booker, Sr. Memorial Symposium
Nov 15
Chicago, IL

American Heart Association Scientific Sessions
Nov 15-19
Chicago, IL

ABC-AHA Joint Session: Intervention in Women, the Elderly and Minorities
November 18
Chicago, IL

View more events here. 

In This Issue:

ABC Announcements

ABC Founder Honored at New York City Heart Ball

The American Heart Association (AHA) has honored ABC Founder Dr. Richard Allen Williams as a "Heart and Stroke Lifesaver" for going above and beyond the call of duty in support of the AHA's mission to build lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

On June 26, more than 700 people from the New York medical and business communities gathered at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers for the black-tie event to honor those making a difference and raise funds needed to support the AHA's lifesaving research, education, and community-based initiatives. This year's event helped to raise $2 million in support of those goals.

Throughout his long and distinguished career, Dr. Williams has been a visible proponent of improvements in healthcare delivery, the elimination of health disparities and the education of healthcare professionals and the public about the need to focus resources on the prevention and reduction of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.  A significant milestone for Dr. Williams was establishing the Association of Black Cardiologists in 1974, in collaboration with the AHA, to address the high rates of cardiovascular disease in the black community.  This active partnership has served as the storefront for ongoing research, education, advocacy and community outreach initiatives for the past 39 years.

NYC Heart Ball

NYC Heart Ball 2

View photos of the NYC Heart Ball at Guest of a Guest

ABC News

Getting the Message Out on Heart Failure

Dr. Boisey BarnesABC recently joined with the National Minority Quality Forum, the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, a patient advocate, and the Novartis Corporation to hold a Capitol Hill briefing on health policy investments needed to address the epidemic of heart failure.

Dr. Boisey O. Barnes (pictured at right), represented the ABC at this briefing. Dr. Barnes educated the attendees on the proper function of the heart and what happens when heart failure occurs. Attendees were urged to support adequate funding for important research on heart failure and cardiovascular disease. Further, it was stressed that Congress should invest in policy initiatives to address risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, physical inactivity and poor nutrition, and that efforts need to be made to reach vulnerable communities.

SOTHSpirit of the Heart Community Leaders Forum

ABC President Icilma V. Fergus, MD, FACC recently attended a Spirit of the Heart Community Leaders Forum at the New York Botanical Gardens featuring top local health professionals, clergy and civic leaders. The Rev. Michel Faulkner (featured in ABC's 7 Steps video; seen at right with Dr. Fergus) ended by making a personal "Call to Action." 

The Community Leaders Forum is part of the Spirit of the Heart Day national wellness tour, an education initiative promoting cardiovascular disease prevention throughout the U.S. and sponsored by The American College of Cardiology and the Association of Black Cardiologists.

Mt. Kilimanjaro  Climb Postponed
Kili Climb for Heart Failure Awareness
The Kili Climb for Heart Failure that was originally scheduled for 2014 has been moved to August 2015 as team climber Dr. Phillip B. Duncan has an injury requiring rehab. The extra time gives ABC more time to raise awareness about the initiative. The Mayor of Richmond, Virginia, Dwight C. Jones, has just endorsed the Kili Climb as part of his Healthy Richmond campaign. ABC will leverage this support to gain local sponsors to host a Spirit of the Heart event in Richmond next year.  Click here for more information about the climb and to donate to the initiative.

In Memoriam

Chief OfiliPlease join the Association of Black Cardiologists in extending heartfelt condolences to ABC's Past President Dr. Elizabeth Ofili on the passing of her beloved father, Chief Gregory Ebofuame Ofili (1931-2014): Ojogwu! Akpeli! A Traditional Chief, Consummate Educator, and a Legacy of Empowering Women and Families.


Featured ABC Patient Education Guide

The Understanding Venous Thromboembolism: Prevention and Treatment Guidelines for Patients workbook includes videos, print tools, and an audio version of the written text to aid in understanding the material. Please share!

 Joint Session: Cardiovascular Health Equity 
Association of Black Cardiologists in collaboration with
National Medical Association (Internal Medicine Section) present:

Cardiovascular Health Equity:
Optimizing Awareness and Management in the ACA Era




Icilma Fergus, MD
President Association of Black Cardiologists, Associate Professor of Medicine, Director, Mt. Sinai Heart Center for Cardiovascular Disparities New York, NY

Robert Gillespie, MD
Chairman of the Board, Association of Black Cardiologists, Director of Nuclear  Cardiology, Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, San Diego, CA

Wallace Johnson, MD
Section Chair, Internal Medicine National Medical Association, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD            

Member News

Dr. Anekwe Onwuanyi Honored at 2013 Gage Awards

Anekwe Onwuanyi, MDSix hospitals and health systems were recently recognized at the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems’ (NAPH) Annual Conference, in Hollywood, Fla., for their exceptional and essential work to improve quality and population health.

The Grady Heart Failure Program at Grady Health System (Atlanta), headed by Medical Director Anekwe Onwuanyi, MD, won the 2013 Award for Improving Quality for transforming clinical care delivery. Grady conducted a retrospective analysis and found that from November 2009 to October 2010, 14.2 percent of patients were readmitted within 30 days. Of these patients, 70 percent were readmitted with worsening heart failure (HF), a prevalent issue and leading reason for hospitalization, particularly among the elderly. Grady established the HF Clinic, which serves as the centerpiece for improvement efforts for this patient population. Since the clinic’s inception, 78 percent more patients keep their post-discharge appointments, and there has been a 31 percent reduction in the 30-day readmission rate and a 37 percent reduction in ED visits.

The Gage Awards Program – named after NAPH founder and champion for vulnerable populations, Larry S. Gage – honors and shares the outstanding work of NAPH members.  The 2013 Award for Improving Quality recognizes activities that have improved the quality of care delivered, or reduced or eliminated harmful events to individual patients or groups of patients.

“Gage Award winners are leaders, not just among NAPH members, but among all hospitals,” said NAPH President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH. “These innovative programs are outstanding examples of the vital role our members play in their communities.”

Congratulations Dr. Onwuanyi!  Click here to find out how this impressive transformation was accomplished.

ABC Members Publish in Journal Of Cardiac Failure

Drs. Cuyjet and Okinboboye"Acute Heart Failure in the African American Patient," co-authored by ABC members Aloysius B. Cuyjet, MD and Ola Akinboboye, MD appears in the July issue of the Journal of Cardiac Failure

African Americans (AAs) are disproportionately affected by acute heart failure (AHF) compared with other racial/ethnic groups. Disparities in AHF risk factors among AAs are attributed to higher rates of hypertension and diabetes mellitus, lower socioeconomic status, higher dietary caloric and salt intake, and biologic/genetic differences. However, AAs are frequently underrepresented in AHF clinical trials, and race-related differences in risks and clinical outcomes are not well understood. The aim of this work was to review published data on AHF in the AA population, including management strategies that may differ based on race and common barriers to optimal care.  See the full text here.

Dr. FergusABC President Speaks at Symposium

ABC President Dr. Icilma Fergus spoke at Advances in Cardiometabolic Health 2014: A Primary Care Summit on June 20, in Boston, MA.  Dr. Fergus presented a lecture on approaches to reduce cardiovascular risk in minorities.  The Summit was sponsored by the Joslin Diabetes Center.

ABC Member Receives International Recognition in Vienna, Austria

Dr. Mahfouz El Shahawy, medical director of the Cardiovascular Health Assessment Center in Sarasota, FL and clinical professor of medicine at the Universities of Florida and South Florida, was recently honored by the University of Vienna, Austria.
On June 4, Dr. Shahawy was awarded the Golden Doctor Diploma for his achievements in the area of early cardiovascular disease prevention, including more than 100 discoveries, publications, and lectures. 

“I am very pleased to receive this honor and share it with you and would like to thank everyone who has contributed and supported our efforts in the area of early cardiovascular health assessment and disease prevention at the Cardiovascular Center of Sarasota,”  said Dr. Shahawy.
Dr. El Shahawy holding the Golden Doctor Diploma presented to him at
The University of Vienna, Austria by the President of the University (right).

Professional Development & Opportunities

  • Call to Action: ABC Members Needed to Apply for ACC Board and Committee Positions
    To help ensure ABC's goals of achieving health equity and eliminating disparities in cardiovascular disease treatment and outcomes, we urge you to consider applying for a committee or Board position at the American College of Cardiology (ACC). Increased representation of minorities at all levels is an important step in championing better health care for all, especially for cardiovascular diseases. Please log in to the ACC website to submit your application or nominate a colleague.

Health Equity & Health Care News

  • HHS announces auto-enrollment plans for current Marketplace consumers for 2015 
  • HHS Issues Report on Health Care Coverage under the Affordable Care Act
    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued a report on the federal health care Marketplace. The report found that people who selected silver plans, the most popular plan type in the federal Marketplace, with tax credits paid an average premium of $69 per month. In the federal Marketplace, 69 percent of enrollees who selected Marketplace plans with tax credits had premiums of $100 a month or less, and 46 percent of $50 a month or less after tax credits ...
  • New Interactive Takes a Look at Income and Assets Among Medicare Beneficiaries, Now and in the Future
    A small share of the 52.4 million elderly individuals and people with disabilities on Medicare have relatively high incomes, but most are of modest means -- with half living on incomes of less than $23,500 last year. Although the majority of beneficiaries have some savings, the value of their assets varies dramatically, and is much lower for black and Hispanic than white beneficiaries, for widows than for widowers, and for younger Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities and seniors over age 85.

Medical News


Research News

Advocacy Updates

CMS Issues Proposed Rules on Physician and Hospital Outpatient Payment

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued proposed rules that would update payment policies and payment rates for services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) for 2015.

Of interest under the MPFS proposed rule, CMS projects that overall payments to cardiology would increase by one percent from 2014 to 2015.  Upon initial review, it appears there are no additional multiple procedure payment reductions for advanced imaging services.  However, CMS is interested in reviewing several high volume cardiology services including SPECT MPI, transthoracic echocardiography and stress echocardiography.  CMS also proposes to finalize separate payment for providers who manage Medicare patients with two or more chronic conditions.
Of note, CMS proposes a new process for establishing MPFS payment rates that would allow for greater public input prior to payment rates being set. Under the new process, payment changes would go through notice and comment rulemaking before being adopted beginning in 2016.

The proposed MPFS rule also continues the phase-in of the physician value-based payment modifier that would affect payments to physicians and physician groups, as well as other eligible professionals, based on the quality and cost of care they furnish to beneficiaries.

Under the proposed HOPPS rule, CMS proposes to implement 28 new comprehensive Ambulatory Payment Classification (APC) groups.  CMS also proposes revisions to policies regarding physician certification of hospital admission.  Specifically, CMS currently requires a physician certification, including an admission order and certain additional elements, for all inpatient admissions.  CMS has determined that for shorter stays and non-outlier stays, the admission order is a sufficient.  Therefore, CMS proposes that the admission order would continue to be required for all admissions, but the physician certification would only be required for outlier cases and long-stay cases of 20 days or more.

ABC will continue to analyze both proposed rules and will submit comments on issues of interest.   The proposed rules will be published in the July 11 edition of the Federal Register.  Comments are due September 2.

 FDA Review Shows Huge Gap in Participation of Women in CRT Clinical Trials

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently performed an analysis of data from multiple clinical trials conducted in support of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), a pacemaker therapy for patients with heart failure. Only 22% of the patients in the clinical trials were women.
This review marked the FDA’s first individual-patient data analysis involving medical devices from multiple companies. Later this year, FDA plans to finalize a guidance document that establishes a framework for how to analyze and communicate data on women in medical device clinical trials. FDA also intends to release a report to Congress, mandated under law, that contains recommendations for improving the completeness and quality of analyses of data on women and other under-represented populations, in summaries of product safety and effectiveness data and in labeling. Click here for more information.


AHRQ Patient Resources Highlight Benefits of Preventive Care

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has resources to help your patients stay healthy.  AHRQ’s “Stay Healthy” brochures inform consumers about the different preventive services that can help them stay healthy. The brochures describe recommended screening tests and steps for maintaining good health. The four Stay Healthy brochures available on the AHRQ website are: Men: Stay Healthy at Any Age; Men: Stay Healthy at 50+; Women: Stay Healthy at Any Age; and Women: Stay Healthy at 50+. Organizations can order up to 200 print copies of the brochures free of charge by contacting or calling 800-358-9295. Additional copies cost $15 per pack of 100 brochures, plus shipping.


FDA Issues Draft Guidance for Industry on Social Media and Internet Communications About Medical Products

FDA has proposed two draft guidances for industry with recommendations to help manufacturers and their representatives accurately communicate online about prescription drugs and medical devices.  These documents strive to ensure that the information provided by drug and device companies is accurate and will help patients to make well-informed decisions in consultation with their health care providers. Go here for more information.

CVIS 2015
July 11-16

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

Add pre-trip charter expedition in the Galapagos Islands and choice of two post-trip extensions. Guests may combine Machu Picchu with the Amazon for the ultimate South American journey!

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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