Our Heart Failure Management conference grew out of the UNC Heart Failure Program, a multidisciplinary research and clinical program focused on the clinical problem of heart failure and the application of cardiac transplantation, that began at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1984. Our course has mirrored the strong collaboration between the UNC-CH Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy that have characterized this academic program.
Our first meeting, held in 1986 in Chapel Hill, NC, was a half-
The rich, multidisciplinary nature of the course continues to develop with faculty typically represented from electrophysiology, cardiac imaging and cardiothoracic surgery, joining with heart failure specialists from cardiology and pharmacy practice. We have worked hard to establish a meeting environment that promotes open discussion and intense interaction among faculty and meeting participants around the complex issues we face everyday caring for patients with heart failure. The spirit of both our faculty and meeting participants to this approach has really helped the meeting achieve this goal.
Our course has served as a focal point for clinical and research networking by health care professionals dedicated to treating patients with the syndrome of heart failure. Case studies and workshops supplement formal didactic sessions and panel discussions provide additional opportunity for an open forum devoted to the complexities of clinical care for heart failure. The conference has a strong clinical orientation toward the practical application of research advances in the care patients with heart failure. In addition to intense educational sessions, the meeting hosts clinical research related activity as investigators join together to share investigative plans and experience.
Our meeting has been conducted as a Continuing Medical Education conference throughout its existence and, until recently, in association with the CME group at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the School of Medicine. For most of this period, the Continuing Education groups from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and UNC School of Nursing have also been involved. Three years ago we formed a partnership with the Continuing Medical Education group in the College of Medicine of the University of Florida to co-sponsor the conference.
Our course is designed to address the major public health need created by the syndrome of heart failure. This condition represents a clinically demanding area with ongoing advances in therapeutics and strategies for managing patients with this life threatening illness. The knowledge base continues to expand rapidly and optimal management remains challenging. Practical issues like polypharmacy and selection of patients for advanced surgical and electrophysiological treatments remains complex. Biomarkers are emerging as an important new tool, but this aspect of heart failure has received little emphasis in educational activities. These clinical realities create the need for ongoing, rigorous educational activity to help combat the immense and growing public health burden of heart failure.