International Stroke Conference
January 24–26

Gurmeen Kaur, MBBS

This year at ISC 2018 in Los Angeles, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association put together a new program called the Fellows in Training program (FIT). In addition to introducing attendees to the International Stroke Conference and the AHA/ASA, the workshop was meant to provide stroke fellows with tools and training that will benefit them in their professional career, as well as opportunities to interact with thought leaders and potential mentors in the national and international stroke community.

Around 50 fellows from vascular neurology programs around the country were a part of the workshop, which began with an introduction and several talks on how to identify your mission statement, good ways to present your data, and introducing changes in healthcare by understanding business, quality improvement and leadership models and roles. Day 1 also included a talk on how to build a practice and various practice models and their limitations. This was an excellent way of introducing fellows and early career attendees to academic, hospital-owned and physician-owned practice models to help this young group select their first jobs. The final session of the day was a networking event for all the participating fellows and faculty.

Day 2 started with an early breakfast with Dr. Mitchell Elkind, who introduced the fellows to the mission and outreach of the AHA/ASA, educated the group about local and state level opportunities and introduced “InterSECT,” which is a new addition to the Stroke journal dedicated to early career participants. Through the rest of the day, several sessions were available depending on the participants’ interests. The keynote event and the late breaking abstract session were overwhelming with the results of DEFUSE 3, pushing the limits on endovascular therapy and new avenues on stroke treatment.

Another interesting part of this program was the Fellow and Early Career luncheon. Dr. James Grotta addressed the group and gave his ’11 commandments’ to success. The session specifically addressed burnout and how to develop an ideal work-life balance. Roundtable discussions followed this and were geared toward a wide variety of topics ranging from neurointervention and neurocritical care to stroke prevention and post-stroke rehabilitation.

Another highlight of the program was Dr. José Biller talking to the group about how to negotiate a contract. The FIT program is an excellent effort by AHA/ASA in promoting early career attendees and fellows. It not only addressed pressing issues around work-life balance, but also promoted networking among fellows at various stages of training across the country. I was lucky to be a part of this program and would strongly recommend it to all vascular neurology fellows!