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November 12, 2017
HFSA President’s Blog: Day 55

HFSA President
Christopher O’Connor,
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

HFSA has had a longstanding commitment to promoting clinical research through grants for physicians-in-training, early career faculty members, nurses, pharmacists, and other allied health care professionals.  The best of this work has been recognized through scientific awards at our annual meeting.

I am pleased to announce that, through our new 5-year strategic plan, we are taking this commitment to a new level, and hope to change the culture of research and the ecosystem of clinical practice and patient care.  High quality research is vital to improve care and advance knowledge, and will lead to better outcomes for our current patients and future generations.

We have embarked on a two-pronged approach to help bring this about: (1) the establishment of an HFSA Investigator Network; and (2) the development of a campaign to enhance investigator and patient involvement by increasing the awareness of heart failure research.

The vision of the HFSA Investigator Network is to improve the health of heart failure patients through high-value clinical research, and the mission of this Network is to:

  • Establish an integrative high quality, high value network of investigators committed to conducting clinical research to improve our understanding of the care of the heart failure patients we serve
  • Improve the conduct of clinical research in North America and research conducted by our international partners.
  • Contribute to the educational mission of the HFSA by enhancing the conduct of heart failure clinical research.
  • Develop a patient friendly platform that provides a resource for patients to actively engage and participate in clinical research studies.
  • Add value to the Heart Failure Society of America’s overall mission.

Susan Ammon,
With Susan Ammon, MSN, NP-C, FHFSA as Project Manager, we began by conducting a detailed email survey of our members and affiliated colleagues, asking about their current research activities and perceived barriers to high quality research. More than 500 have returned the survey and have expressed a deep interest in clinical research and the HFSA Investigator Network. Among the reported barriers are: insufficient budget for study requirements; lengthy legal review; lack of subjects that meet the inclusion criteria; and lack of availability of qualified study coordinators.
Our next step is to identify those who would like to be part of the Investigator Network, and build the aspects of the network that will improve the research process, such as central contracting and central regulatory and legal review. In addition, to increase awareness of heart failure research opportunities, we will highlight important heart failure clinical trials that are being conducted in North America on our website, and will provide patient-friendly summaries and analysis to facilitate discussion of participation and enrollment. And finally, since skilled coordinators are critical to conducting high quality research, we are initiating a training program to enhance the qualifications of study coordinators. We plan to hold the first mini course at the next annual scientific meeting.

While HFSA’s research focus is evolving and expanding, we will continue to have small grants available for pilot studies and for early career physicians, nurses, allied health professionals and pharmaceutical investigators to pursue new projects.

It is exciting to see the reinvigoration of HFSA’s commitment to research. I hope all of you will participate in these efforts in any way that you feel will be beneficial to your patients.

Christopher O’Connor, MD, MD, FACC, FESC, FHFSA
President HFSA
Vision: To Significantly Reduce the Burden of Heart Failure




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