I am pleased to kick off this month’s newsletter by sharing some exciting news! As I announced in our April issue of Heart Happenings, ACHA is on schedule for our next National Conference in 2020. This is our premier event, with top-notch educational sessions—given by the best in the congenital heart disease field—and ample social opportunities for CHD patients, families and loved ones, medical professionals, and researchers. We know so many of you are excited to learn where the event is taking place, and to start making plans, so today we are thrilled to share the location and some details:
We hope you will join us at the 9th Annual ACHA Conference in Minnesota from October 15-17, 2020!
Our conference hotel will be the Radisson Blu, and all activities will be under one roof at this Mall of America location in Bloomington, MN. One of the top tourist destinations in the country, the Mall of America offers Nickelodeon Universe (the nation's largest indoor theme park), an aquarium, restaurants to suit any taste, and so much more. We have will have much more to share in the coming months, and we hope you will celebrate Heart Month 2019 by registering for the event when it becomes available in February with a special Early Bird discount. Stay tuned—we will have much more information to share!
With the end of the year upon us, I also want to provide a heartfelt thank you for your support this year, which allowed us to achieve multiple outcomes—we are so proud to share some highlights below. We still have more to do, and your support now will help us impact even more lives next year. In the last 12 months, we:
- Launched the ACHA Research Program, and made the application available for projects to begin in July 2019.
- Introduced our new Community Development Coordinator (CDC) model by hiring and training staff in key markets: Houston, Los Angeles, Denver, Philadelphia, and Columbus, OH, reaching more than 16,000 people at local outreach events they attended. CDCs grew our membership by nearly 1,300 in the areas they serve.
- Accredited eight ACHD Comprehensive Care Centers, bringing the total to 24.
- Matched volunteer Heart to Heart Ambassadors with more than 200 community members. Along with lifelong care events, Ambassadors served more than 1,000 people.
- Presented four half-day Regional Conferences to more than 500 total attendees.
- Implemented a new in-district visits initiative, with 93 participants involved who spoke with their Members of Congress in their home offices about the importance of funding of CHD surveillance, research and awareness.
- Educated more than 7,000 people in archived webinars on a variety of defect-specific and other related CHD topics.
Wishing you and yours the happiest of holiday seasons and a wonderful new year,
Mark Roeder, President and CEO