"The worth of a human being lies in the ability to extend oneself, to go outside oneself, to exist in and for other people."
— Milan Kundera
By Ranjit Singh Rajpal, MD
On Saturday, I will have the privilege to welcome my fellow cardiologists and colleagues from across the country to convene in Madera for Cardiovascular Update 2013 — our Medical Society’s 33rd Annual Central Valley Cardiology Symposium — to engage and discuss the latest advancements in the field. I inaugurated the symposium in 1981, and have continued to serve as program director since its inception, out of recognition of is a tangible need for CME initiatives to serve the Central Valley medical community.
I have a profound sense of pride in the great progress and strides which have emerged from this endeavor. As a cardiologist practicing in a rural and immensely underserved community, I felt a deep urgency to create a forum for local physicians, nurses and allied health professionals to come together to exchange ideas and learn about the latest technological innovations and research in cardiovascular medicine.
Every year the symposium features renowned experts and authorities from leading medical institutions, who present cutting edge research on new mechanisms for the management of heart and vascular diseases. The symposium has evolved to orient around Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) and has adapted with the ebbs and flows of clinical epidemiology and advancements in public health and preventive medicine. This year, our panel of distinguished scholars will cover a wide spectrum of topics, including optimization of ICD implantation therapy, recognizing inherited disorders of arrhythmias, renal denervation therapy for resistant hypertension, treatment of hypertension in the elderly, management of mitral and aortic valve regurgitation and developments in the treatment of infective endocarditis.
As noted by the American College of Cardiology, heart disease is conspicuously known as the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States, taking the lives of approximately 1 million Americans every year. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is “the No. 1 killer of women, causing one in three women’s deaths annually, killing approximately one woman every minute.”
Many of our rural valley communities are particularly vulnerable to heart disease due to larger socio-economic forces. Though the valley is known to grow a third of the nation’s produce, many residents now live in food deserts — regions lacking access to affordable fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods vital for a healthy heart.
Our patients have a remarkable desire to take control of their own cardiovascular health. More and more Americans are taking proactive steps to control their cholesterol levels by reducing or eliminating animal products from their diets and shunning sedentary life-styles. Our patients want to take preventive steps to fight heart disease and reclaim the autonomy of their health. Our patients and their families need to have greater access to the knowledge and tools necessary for a healthful lifestyle. The ultimate goal of our pedagogical pursuits in our symposium should be to activate our scholarship and foster greater community partnerships to transform the cardiovascular health of the people of the Central Valley.
Fostering dialectical engagement with Valley communities has always been at the heart of the mission of FMMS, and so, we must continue to work together to incorporate this ethos into the future direction of this worthy cause. I invite you all to join me in this conversation.
Please join us for Cardiovascular Update 2013 on Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Madera Municipal Golf Course.
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Dr. Rajpal, a Madera cardiologist, is president of the Fresno-Madera Medical Society and can be contacted at rsrajpal at gmail.com.