Volunteer Spotlight: Stephen Back, MD
How did you learn about ACHA?
I was born in 1974 with single ventricle, transposition of the great arteries and coarctation of the aorta. I had four surgeries during my childhood, which included the Fontan procedure in 1985. I had done remarkably well until early in 2013 when my wife, Jacqui, had voiced her concerns that she had seen a decline in my health. I, unfortunately, like many husbands ignored her pleas to seek help. Then in August of 2013, I subsequently underwent emergency surgery to treat an abdominal hernia that had been caused by complications related to my failing Fontan. Since that time, I have undergone several treatments and numerous follow-up visits with my cardiologist Dr. Naser Ammash at Mayo Clinic. He had suggested ACHA to me to better understand the complexity of a surgically corrected congenital heart defect in adulthood. I am forever better for his suggestion, as I have found ACHA to be a wealth of information, and more importantly, an organization determined that every adult with a congenital heart defect obtain the specialized healthcare they need.
Tell us about your recent support of ACHA.
I had been a "quiet" member of ACHA for several years, when I received an email from Brooke Marley in early 2019. Under her guidance as Midwest Regional Development Leader, we have been able to slowly grow the Midwest region and had a successful Community Walk for 1 in 100 in Oklahoma City in October 2019, raising nearly $7,500. I have also been part of the Midwest Regional Volunteer Council, which meets on a regular basis to work in growing membership and spreading the wealth of information that ACHA possesses for the wellbeing of those adults with congenital heart disease. We are planning on having our second event, the Oklahoma City Walk for 1 in 100, in September of this year, which I have been asked to chair. I am hoping that we will be able to have our walk and we will be even more successful than in 2019.
How does it feel to support the ACHA community?
As a physician and a son of a physician, I have understood—for the most part—the complexities of my congenital heart defect. I believe ACHA enhances that knowledge and understanding on a more personal level. Thus, to support an organization whose sole purpose is to "advance the care and treatment available to our community" is an amazing feeling. I am proud to be a part of an organization whose desire is to help every person born with congenital heart disease to improve their own healthcare in every facet of their life. The commitment to provide excellent care for all CHD patients shows through their webinars, conferences, and the Heart to Heart Peer Support Program is impressive. However, as a member of the medical community, I am most proud of the work and influence they have had on creating criteria for ACHA ACHD Accreditation Program.
We are so thankful to Dr. Back for his efforts to support ACHA! To learn more about getting involved with ACHA through a Regional Development Leader, click here.