165. Narratives in Cardiology: Diversity & Inclusion Via Allyship & Leadership with Dr. Bob Harrington – California Chapter

CardioNerds (Amit Goyal and Daniel Ambinder) join CardioNerds Ambassadors Dr. Pablo Sanchez (FIT, Stanford University) and Dr. Christine Shen (FIT, Scripps Clinic) for a discussion with Dr. Bob Harrington (Interventional Cardiologist, Professor of Medicine, and Chair of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University) about diversity and inclusion in the field of cardiology. This episode discusses Dr. Harrington’s broader approach to mentorship, sponsorship, and allyship; and particularly how (and why) he used his position as the president of the American Heart Association to advocate against all-male panels, or “manels.” Listen to the episode to learn the background and motivations behind his evidence-based efforts to make Cardiology a more inclusive field. Special message by California ACC State Chapter President, Dr. Jamal Rana.

The PA-ACC & CardioNerds Narratives in Cardiology is a multimedia educational series jointly developed by the Pennsylvania Chapter ACC, the ACC Fellows in Training Section, and the CardioNerds Platform with the goal to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in cardiology. In this series, we host inspiring faculty and fellows from various ACC chapters to discuss their areas of expertise and their individual narratives. Join us for these captivating conversations as we celebrate our differences and share our joy for practicing cardiovascular medicine. We thank our project mentors Dr. Katie Berlacher and Dr. Nosheen Reza.

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165. Narratives in Cardiology: Diversity & Inclusion Via Allyship & Leadership with Dr. Bob Harrington - California Chapter

Video version – Diversity and Inclusion

Quotables – Diversity and Inclusion

“If senior men don’t change the field, it’s not going to change. We have the senior positions. We have to change it.”

“You’re missing talent. You’re missing talent of the women who have decided not to go into Cardiology. I say to a lot of my male colleagues…don’t you care about the health of our specialty? Don’t you want the very best people going into it?”

“How great is that–to open up an artery in the middle of the night?… What could be better than that?…Why would you not want to be a cardiologist? Frankly, maybe the field is not so friendly to women…And that bothers me greatly because I love the specialty.”

To those who have been given much, much is expected. That’s what people like me should do.”

Dr. Bob Harrington

Show notes – Diversity and Inclusion

What are the gender disparities in the field of Cardiology?

  • 45.8% of residents and fellows in ACGME-accredited programs are women. 14.9% of cardiologists are women. 8% of interventional cardiologists are women [1]. 30.6% of male faculty were full professors, while 15.9% of female faculty are full professors [2].
  • Men are more likely to be influenced by positive attributes of a field, while women are more likely to be influenced by negative attributes [3].
  • 3% of percutaneous coronary interventions in the United States are performed by female operators [4].

What is mentorship, sponsorship, and allyship?

  • A mentor provides advice and helps someone develop a skill.
  • A sponsor is an advocate who helps someone secure career advancement opportunities.
  • An ally partners with people, utilizing their power and influence to champion the rights of others [5].
  • According to some studies, women report less sponsorship experiences than men. Additionally, in women it seems to translate less frequently into experiences that further their career (speaking engagements, serving on editorial boards, etc) [6].
  • “I’m a mentor to a few people, I’m a sponsor to many, and I’m an ally to all.” – Dr. Bob Harrington

Why is a diverse cardiovascular workforce so important?

  • Teams that are diverse pursue innovative and creative solutions.
  • Medicine requires meaningful connections and having a physician with a common background enhances the patient-doctor interaction by a spectrum of constructive effects.
  • Minority groups are less likely to be treated with effective cardiac medications [7].
  • There continue to be barriers in clinical trials to include diverse and underrepresented patients [8].
  • A diverse workforce of clinical scientists is crucial to promoting diversity in clinical trials, including understanding the problem, asking the right questions, and proposing solutions [9].


  1. AAMC 2019. Physician Specialty Data Report. Accessed November 18, 2021.
  2. Blumenthal DM, Olenski AR, Yeh RW, et al. Sex Differences in Faculty Rank Among Academic Cardiologists in the United States. Circulation. 2017;135(6):506-517. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.023520
  3. Yong CM, Abnousi F, Rzeszut AK, et al. Sex Differences in the Pursuit of Interventional Cardiology as a Subspecialty Among Cardiovascular Fellows-in-Training [published correction appears in JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2019 Apr 8;12(7):695]. JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2019;12(3):219-228. doi:10.1016/j.jcin.2018.09.036
  4. Wang TY, Grines C, Ortega R, et al. Women in interventional cardiology: Update in percutaneous coronary intervention practice patterns and outcomes of female operators from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry®. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2016;87(4):663-668. doi:10.1002/ccd.26118
  5. Sharma G, Narula N, Ansari-Ramandi MM, Mouyis K. The Importance of Mentorship and Sponsorship: Tips for Fellows-in-Training and Early Career Cardiologists. JACC Case Rep. 2019;1(2):232-234. Published 2019 Aug 21. doi:10.1016/j.jaccas.2019.06.007
  6. Patton EW, Griffith KA, Jones RD, Stewart A, Ubel PA, Jagsi R. Differences in Mentor-Mentee Sponsorship in Male vs Female Recipients of National Institutes of Health Grants. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(4):580-582. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.9391
  7. Tran HV, Waring ME, McManus DD, et al. Underuse of Effective Cardiac Medications Among Women, Middle-Aged Adults, and Racial/Ethnic Minorities With Coronary Artery Disease (from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005 to 2014). Am J Cardiol. 2017;120(8):1223-1229. doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2017.07.004
  8. Clark LT, Watkins L, Piña IL, et al. Increasing Diversity in Clinical Trials: Overcoming Critical Barriers [published correction appears in Curr Probl Cardiol. 2021 Mar;46(3):100647]. Curr Probl Cardiol. 2019;44(5):148-172. doi:10.1016/j.cpcardiol.2018.11.002
  9. Poppas A, Albert MA, Douglas PS, Capers Q 4th. Diversity and Inclusion: Central to ACC’s Mission, Vision, and Values. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020;76(12):1494-1497. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2020.08.019

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