I am happy to report that we, as the largest hypertension society in the United States, are continuing to grow and prosper in the wake of many challenges that face medical organizations. The American Society of Hypertension (ASH) has expanded its horizons on many fronts, identifying, developing, and implementing initiatives to meet member needs and interests. These strategies include but are not limited to (1) educational activities for hypertension primary care providers, as well as hypertension specialists; (2) acquiring a taxonomy billing code for hypertension specialists from the American Medical Assocation’s National Uniform Claims Committee (NUCC); (3) the establishment of medical practices as ASH–designated hypertension centers; (4) the formation and establishment of an ASH foundation; and (5) formally partnering with the American College of Cardiology for select hypertension educational and community initiatives.
The education committee, now one of the most active Society committees, chaired by Dr Alan H. Gradman, has assembled a broad range of educational activities, including an international arm, with Dr C. Venkata Ram serving as the ASH ambassador to Southeast Asia. The ASH comprehensive hypertension course is being developed for presentation to primary care physicians, other hypertension health care providers (nurse practitioners, physician assistants, PharmDs), as well as international physicians in India and the Philippines. A version of this course—delivered to 1200 pharmaceutical sales participants thus far—is being continued. In addition, the education committee will be developing a HyperSAP (self-assessment program) for hypertension specialists and revising the ASH clinical hypertension review course.
The ASH foundation has been formally organized with the 501c3 structure of the Society. ASH is in the process of inviting external business professionals to serve as foundation trustees-at-large to establish the foundation that will raise funds for ASH initiatives including our diverse range of programs from educational programs to our hypertension community outreach program.
ASH has internally approved and is launching a program for ASH to formally recognize medical practices, academic and nonacademic, that have demonstrated expertise in treating patients with complex hypertension and its comorbidities. The program—focused on enhancing hypertension patient care—is designed to evaluate each medical practice by a professional set of criteria and a follow-up site visit.
ASH has signed a formal agreement with the American College of Cardiology to join forces in educational and community efforts in the area of hypertension. The Societies will have joint symposia at our meetings, share Web site links and other educational materials in areas dealing with hypertension, and expand community programs. These efforts will further expand ASH’s reach into academia and the community.
Our gratitude must go to Dr William B. White and the 2011 ASH scientific program committee for putting together one of the finest annual programs in some time. I must say that our meeting this year, in terms of program content relating to hypertension and translational research, appears to meet and exceed the achievements of past meetings. This is all to the credit of Dr White and his program committee chairs and participants. This is the second year that the Society has had to use multiple hotels to house the large number of anticipated 2011 registrants. As Charlie Sheen would say, “winning.”
I am very optimistic for the coming year since we are expanding our funding sources, moving beyond traditional means of support. This expansion is in large part due to the efforts of our hypertension community outreach program. We want to thank the efforts of the Outreach Committee, chaired by Dr Keith C. Ferdinand for its work in expanding this important ASH effort in collaboration with the National Lipid Association, the Association of Black Cardiologists, and the American Kidney Fund.
Lastly, our Web site has been TOTALLY redone and restructured to make it more user-friendly and provide easier access for things commonly searched for on the site.