Clinical and Industry News

SCAI’s First Foreign-Born and First Pediatric Cardiologist President Plans to Diversify Membership

Ziyad M. Hijazi, MD, MPH, FSCAI, FACC, FAAP, has been installed as the 31st President of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI). A pioneer in the nonsurgical repair of congenital heart defects, Dr. Hijazi is an interventional cardiologist who specializes in treating congenital heart disease in both children and adults. Dr. Hijazi is Director of the Rush Center for Congenital and Structural Heart Disease and Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Raised in Jordan, Dr. Hijazi is SCAI’s first foreign-born president. He is also the first pediatric cardiologist to head the Society. Both factors influence the goals Dr. Hijazi has set for his presidency. One of his top priorities is to enlist every pediatric and congenital interventional cardiologist as an SCAI member. Dr. Hijazi also plans to expand the Society’s international membership, noting the advantages of broadening collaboration and partnerships worldwide. “The more diverse the membership, the stronger the Society,” says Dr. Hijazi, noting that SCAI is already an international organization devoted to all interventional cardiologists regardless of their subspecialties. “Diversifying our membership even further is good for the profession and good for patients.” In addition, Dr. Hijazi plans to expand SCAI’s focus on structural heart disease, or heart problems such as mitral valve regurgitation that are acquired rather than being present from birth. The Society will launch a new committee focused specifically on the needs of physicians who use interventional cardiology procedures to treat structural heart disease. The Society will also develop structural heart disease guidelines, training recommendations, educational programs, and criteria for device approval. “I want the field to flourish under SCAI,” says Dr. Hijazi. Dr. Hijazi began his training by completing a medical degree and internship in Jordan, then earned a masters of public health at the Yale University School of Medicine. He remained at Yale for a residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric cardiology. Since then, Dr. Hijazi has had a distinguished career as both an academic and a practitioner. He spent eight years teaching at Tufts University School of Medicine before shifting in 1999 to the University of Chicago, where he served as chief of pediatric cardiology. He assumed his current position at Rush University Medical Center in 2007. A renowned clinical investigator, Dr. Hijazi has written more than 200 articles, 25 book chapters, and three books. His work focuses on developing techniques and devices to address congenital heart problems without open-heart surgery. As a result of his research, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first device for closing atrial septal defects in children in 2001. In addition to his work on nonsurgical repair of defects, Dr. Hijazi was also the first to show how physicians can use intracardiac echocardiography to guide transcatheter closure of atrial septal defects and patent foramen ovale. Dr. Hijazi has been active in SCAI since the early 1990s, when friends persuaded him to attend SCAI’s Annual Scientific Sessions. “It was hard to find anything about pediatric cardiology or congenital heart problems in the annual meetings and journals of bigger organizations,” he explains. “Because SCAI is more focused, you’re listened to and your special needs are met.” SCAI, he notes, devotes two days of its annual meeting and a special section of its journal Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions to pediatric and congenital issues. Dr. Hijazi is course director of the annual Pediatric Interventional Cardiac Symposium (PICS), cosponsored by SCAI. The four-day conference offers demonstrations, live operations, and the latest research breakthroughs to more than 700 interventional cardiologists from around the world. Dr. Hijazi has also served as a member of SCAI’s Board of Trustees and is an editorial board member for the Society’s public education website www.seconds-count.org. More information about the SCAI is available at www.scai.org.
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