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The Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery (WCPCCS) will be held in Washington DC, USA, from Saturday, 26 August, 2023 to Friday, 1 September, 2023, inclusive. The Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery will be the largest and most comprehensive scientific meeting dedicated to paediatric and congenital cardiac care ever held. At the time of the writing of this manuscript, The Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery has 5,037 registered attendees (and rising) from 117 countries, a truly diverse and international faculty of over 925 individuals from 89 countries, over 2,000 individual abstracts and poster presenters from 101 countries, and a Best Abstract Competition featuring 153 oral abstracts from 34 countries. For information about the Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, please visit the following website: [www.WCPCCS2023.org]. The purpose of this manuscript is to review the activities related to global health and advocacy that will occur at the Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery.
Acknowledging the need for urgent change, we wanted to take the opportunity to bring a common voice to the global community and issue the Washington DC WCPCCS Call to Action on Addressing the Global Burden of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Diseases. A copy of this Washington DC WCPCCS Call to Action is provided in the Appendix of this manuscript. This Washington DC WCPCCS Call to Action is an initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the global burden, promoting the development of sustainable care systems, and improving access to high quality and equitable healthcare for children with heart disease as well as adults with congenital heart disease worldwide.
Publicly available health information is increasingly important for patients and their families. While the average US citizen reads at an 8th-grade level, electronic educational materials for patients and families are often advanced. We assessed the quality and readability of publicly available resources regarding hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS).
We queried four search engines for “hypoplastic left heart syndrome”, “HLHS”, and “hypoplastic left ventricle”. The top 30 websites from searches on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and Dogpile were combined into a single list. Duplicates, commercial websites, physician-oriented resources, disability websites, and broken links were removed. Websites were graded for accountability, content, interactivity, and structure using a two-reviewer system. Nonparametric analysis of variance was performed.
Fifty-two websites were analysed. Inter-rater agreement was high (Kappa = 0.874). Website types included 35 hospital/healthcare organisation (67.3%), 12 open access (23.1%), 4 governmental agency (7.7%), and 1 professional medical society (1.9%). Median total score was 19 of 39 (interquartile range = 15.8–25.3): accountability 5.5 of 17 (interquartile range = 2.0–9.3), content 8 of 12 (interquartile range = 6.4–10.0), interactivity 2 of 6 (interquartile range = 2.0–3.0), and structure 3 of 4 (interquartile range = 2.8–4.0). Accountability was low with 32.7% (n = 17) of sites disclosing authorship and 26.9% (n = 14) citing sources. Forty-two percent (n = 22) of websites were available in Spanish. Total score varied by website type (p = 0.03), with open access sites scoring highest (median = 26.5; interquartile range = 20.5–28.6) and hospital/healthcare organisation websites scoring lowest (median = 17.5; interquartile range = 13.5–21.5). Score differences were driven by differences in accountability (p = 0.001) – content scores were similar between groups (p = 0.25). Overall readability was low, with median Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level of 11th grade (interquartile range = 10th–12th grade).
Our evaluation of popular websites about HLHS identifies multiple opportunities for improvement, including increasing accountability by disclosing authorship and citing sources, enhancing readability by providing material that is understandable to readers with the full spectrum of educational background, and providing information in languages besides English, all of which would enhance health equity.
Diversification of the medical and cardiothoracic surgical workforce represents an ongoing need. A congenital cardiac surgery shadowing programme for undergraduate students was implemented at the University of Florida Congenital Heart Center.
Students shadowing in the Congenital Heart Center from 17 December 2020 through 20 July 2021 were sent a survey through Qualtrics to evaluate the impact of their shadowing experience. The main objectives of the survey were to determine the personal relationship(s) of the students to physicians prior to shadowing, how the presence or absence of physicians in the family of a given student related to the exposure of the student to a medical setting prior to shadowing, and the interest of the students in medicine and cardiothoracic surgery prior to and after the shadowing experience. Survey responses included “Yes/No” questions, scaled responses using a Likert scale, selection lists, and free text responses. When applicable, t-tests were utilised to assess differences between student groups.
Of the 37 students who shadowed during the study period, 26 (70%) responded. Most students were female (58%, n = 15), and the mean age was 20.9 ± 2.4 years. Students spent a mean duration of 95 ± 138 hours shadowing providers as part of the shadowing programme. Likert scale ratings of interest in the professions of medicine, surgery, and cardiothoracic surgery all increased after the shadowing experience (p < 0.01). Students with a family member in medicine had more clinical exposure prior to the shadowing programme (p < 0.01).
A surgical shadowing programme at a Congenital Heart Center may have an important formative impact on the views of undergraduate students regarding potential careers in surgery and medicine. Additionally, students without family members in medicine tend to have less prior exposure to medicine and could likely benefit more from this type of shadowing programme.
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