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Q&A with Dr. Patrick O’Gara, president of ACC

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | March 20, 2015
Dr. Patrick O'Gara
From the March 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session and expo is fast-approaching. This year marks the 64th anniversary of the event. In advance of ACC’s big show, HealthCare Business News caught up with the president of the organization, Dr. Patrick O’Gara, to find out what inspired his career in medicine, and how he got involved with the ACC and his year as president.

The American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session and expo is fast-approaching. This year marks the 64th anniversary of the event. In advance of ACC’s big show, HealthCare Business News caught up with the president of the organization, Dr. Patrick O’Gara, to find out what inspired his career in medicine, and how he got involved with the ACC and his year as president.

HCBN: How did you get involved in medicine?
PO:
I grew up in a large family in the Midwest— I had an interest in science and math and became exposed to role models among some of my friends’ parents. The father of a close friend was a cardiologist in Chicago and he would take us on hospital rounds on Saturdays. I realized a career in medicine would offer a way to combine my interests in science and biology with those of wanting to make a difference in a humanitarian sense. These influences started me on a pathway that took me to Northwestern for medical school and then to Mass. General Hospital for internal medicine training. There, I had the benefit of extraordinary mentors and became attracted to the field of cardiovascular medicine before completing my internship.

HCBN: How did you get involved with the ACC?
PO:
My involvement with ACC dates back about 25 years. I was asked to become a member of a committee looking at extramural educational programs. This was a nice fit for my interests in both education and clinical cardiology. Former ACC President Adolph M. Hutter, Jr., M.D., was on the MGH faculty and encouraged me to get involved. My initial interactions with College members were very rewarding. It seemed like a natural fit and one assignment led to another and allowed me to move on to participating as a faculty member in several educational programs, co-directing board review courses for certification and re-certification, and becoming editor of ACC-SAP. I was fortunate enough to be elected onto the board of trustees in 2005 and later made an active decision to pursue a leadership role.

HCBN: What are the biggest challenges facing ACC members today?
PO:
Members face enormous pressures in their individual practices, places of work, research endeavors, and academic/teaching pursuits. We are operating in a hyper-regulated environment that reduces the amount of time we can spend with our patients.

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