New horizons for the Association of Black Cardiologists

Cardiology Review® Online, November 2007, Volume 24, Issue 11

The Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc (ABC) has partnered with the Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) to address disparities in cardiovascular care. As a component of the New Cardiovascular Horizons sessions sponsored by the CIS, the ABC held a stimulating and informative program addressing disparities in cardiovascular and diabetes health care on September 7, 2007 in New Orleans, La.

The program kicked off with Keith C. Ferdinand, MD giving a brief description of the present status of health care in the New Orleans area. In a lecture titled "Hurricane Katrina and Healthcare, HOPE After the ‘Unnatural Disaster'", Dr Ferdinand noted that although much of New Orleans is thriving and appears on the road to full recovery, the health care infrastructure remains severely damaged with limited inpatient hospital beds within the city and scarce, but sorely needed, psychiatric facilities. Another moderator for the program, Donna Mendes, MD a leading peripheral vascular surgeon, addressed disparities in chronic limb ischemia and the need for increased limb salvage and decreased limb amputations, the rates of which are highest among black Americans.

Clyde Yancy, MD gave a provocative update on "Chronic Heart Failure in African Americans 2007-08 and Beyond." Additional reflections on medical therapy for closing the gap in heart failure were offered by Malcolm Taylor, MD. Hypertension is seen earlier in blacks, with poor rates of control and disproportionately high rates of target organ damage. Shawna Nesbit, MD, MS addressed hypertension in her discussion of the "silent killer."

Additional components on dyslipidemia and diabetes in African Americans were offered by Ryan Neal, MD. Coronary interventions are one of the mainstays of patients with acute coronary syndromes and high-grade coronary lesions. Christopher Leggett, MD addressed disparities specifically related to coronary interventions and provided relevant and practical suggestions on how all patients can equally afford the benefits of technology. Closing the symposium were comments from Claude Minor, Jr, MD on the Louisiana experience with limb salvage in the end-stage renal disease patient.

Overall this exciting program met the needs of both organizations, providing a forum to communicate to clinicians and researchers new directions in addressing the ongoing disparities in cardiovascular health and delivery of medical and interventional therapies.