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Leadership Update: Our Vision of a Long, Healthy Life Unaffected by CHD

This is the leadership update from October's e-newsletter.

What do you see when you look into the future? At ACHA, we see a time when every person born with congenital heart defects lives a long, healthy life unaffected by congenital heart disease. This fall, ACHA’s Board and staff came together to review progress in achieving our strategic plan, our blueprint for progress towards a better, brighter future for congenital heart patients.

Education—for patients, families, and medical professionals—is a key component of our plan, and will be central in improving the lives of congenital heart patients. This fall, ACHA, in partnership with the American College of Cardiology, launched Provider Action for Treating Congenital Hearts (PATCH), a new program to provide congenital heart training and information to cardiologists throughout the country. The goal is to help cardiologists without special CHD training collaborate with adult congenital heart specialists to provide high-quality care for their patients. To learn more about PATCH, visit the PATCH website at www.patchheartprogram.org.  

Research will also be central to achieving this vision, and ACHA continues to both engage in and advocate for adult congenital heart research. ACHA’s Research Empowerment for Adult Congenital Hearts (REACH) project created new infrastructure to execute large, multicenter studies in adult congenital heart disease. Thanks to the overwhelming response to our recent survey on research priorities, we now have a better idea of our community’s research priorities, and we are working to create new avenues for research in all the areas important to those living with CHD.

But in addition to education and research, achieving ACHA’s vision will require that every congenital heart patient receive high-quality congenital heart care. Perhaps ACHA’s most ambitious strategic goal is to create an accreditation system for adult congenital heart programs. What does this mean? By the end of 2014, ACHA will have identified criteria that define a high-quality ACHD program so that ACHA will be prepared to offer an ACHA “seal of approval” to centers that meet our standard. Our hope is that not only will this guide patients and families when choosing their care, but will also serve as an incentive for all ACHD programs to provide higher quality care for our community.

What does ACHA need from you to help us achieve our vision? Your passion, your input, and your generous support. More than half of ACHA’s budget continues to come directly from donors like you, and growing our program will rely on growing this funding. Do you share ACHA’s vision of a brighter future for every person born with congenital heart disease? If so, help make this vision a reality through making a donation to ACHA today!

Thanks for your support,

Amy Verstappen
ACHA President/CEO

Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2012

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