In this interview, we speak with Dr. Anne Curtis, President of the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society (CardiacEPS), made up of basic and clinical scientists, physicians, engineers, and allied professionals interested in cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmias.
When and why was the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society formed?
It’s been around for quite a number of years. The society was originally intended as a forum for basic and translational scientists interested in electrophysiology to gather on a regular basis. Early on, the CardiacEPS annual meeting was held at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Annual Scientific Sessions. It was a full-day program with a specific theme each year. The meeting included our Young Investigator Awards Competition as well as a poster competition that encouraged younger people who were working in the field to present their best work and be rewarded for it. It became a very popular aspect of the AHA meeting for both basic scientists and clinicians interested in cardiac electrophysiology research.
Approximately how many members are there, and from how many countries?
We currently have 165 members from 17 countries.
How did you become involved with the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society?
As a clinical researcher, I have been asked over the years to help judge some of the CardiacEPS poster contributions. In the past few years, the leadership of the society has alternated between someone who is more clinically oriented and someone who is a basic scientist. It’s the best way of keeping both basic science and clinical science at the forefront of the organization, ensuring we don’t lean too heavily one way or the other. I currently serve as president; Glenn Fishman, MD from NYU, who served as president before me, is a basic scientist in electrophysiology. The current vice president is Mario Delmar, MD, PhD, and he is primarily a basic researcher as well.
What are some of the benefits of Cardiac Electrophysiology Society membership?
The main benefit is to be a part of a community of people who are interested in this field. In the last couple of years, we’ve moved our meeting to occur during the Heart Rhythm Society’s (HRS) Annual Scientific Sessions in May. There was a natural evolution that came about when the HRS began to expand the amount of basic science presented at their meeting, because very early on it was much more clinically oriented. As they increased their basic science sessions, more and more people who were interested in basic electrophysiology research started going to that meeting. It became kind of obvious that we were missing an opportunity if we didn’t join forces with the HRS. As a past president of the HRS, I had the connections there to try and foster closer communications between the two groups. Therefore, we moved the CardiacEPS meeting from the AHA’s Scientific Sessions to the Heart Rhythm conference full time this past year, and I think it has worked out very well.
There are several other advantages of CardiacEPS membership. In addition to our sessions at Heart Rhythm, we host a members-only luncheon (at no extra charge), which is a great opportunity for people to network during the meeting. The Heart Rhythm conference has thousands of attendees, so holding our two sessions plus the luncheon in a more intimate venue contained within the meeting helps members network and hopefully foster research collaborations. Members can also participate in the CES Young Investigator Awards Competition — it’s a way of promoting research among our members and the community at large. We also hold our annual Gordon K. Moe Lecture, an endowed lectureship that is held in honor of one of the founding fathers in electrophysiology; Peng-Sheng Chen, MD from the Indiana University School of Medicine was our featured speaker this year.
Tell us about how the scientific program for each annual meeting is chosen.
The CardiacEPS Officers — myself, the vice president, and secretary/treasurer (Charles Antzelevitch, PhD) — discuss the upcoming scientific program of the CardiacEPS. We look at what has been presented over the last several years, identify an area that either has not been covered recently or for which there are some new and exciting developments, and then put together a comprehensive program. Our most recent focus was on cardiac arrhythmias and neural control, including sympathetic activation as well as different treatments and observations based on basic science research. It was a very well-rounded program that covered the gamut, from basic science to the more clinically oriented, including treatments based on neuromodulation from clinical trials conducted in the past few years.
How can others join? What are the membership dues?
Interested parties can apply for membership on our website. The annual membership fee is $60.
Is the society growing? What other reasons would you encourage people to join?
Yes, we’d love to add more people! Members receive a 10% discounted rate for the HeartRhythm journal, and there is also a discounted fee for attending the Heart Rhythm conference. For those who are not HRS members — and a lot of times people such as PhDs in this field are not — then this is an advantage to joining as well.
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