Dr. Craig Delaughter has been serving on the Society's Membership Committee since the final year of his EP fellowship training.
How long have you been a member of the Heart Rhythm Society?
Just over four years.
My Society is...
A dedicated advocate for my patients and my profession.
The Heart Rhythm Society is my “partner in practice.” As an electrophysiologist, I have to wear many hats. I spend a lot of time educating my community, my patients, their family members, nurses and physicians about heart rhythm disorders. I care for patients both in the hospital and in my outpatient clinic and I perform various procedures to treat heart rhythm disorders. Even so, there are several important roles that I cannot completely fill myself. The Society has a variety of tools, including brochures, a website and pocket guides, that make the education I provide more effective. It works to increase national awareness for sudden cardiac arrest and arrhythmia issues and campaigns on behalf of my patients and my practice with policymakers and legislators to increase access to the services electrophysiologists provide. Having the Society as my “partner in practice” means I can focus on the care of my patients and remain confident that these other important issues are not being neglected.
Why did you choose the field of electrophysiology?
As an internal medicine resident, I watched my mentor, Dr. Mike Wilson, save a young woman from a leg amputation by performing a complicated peripheral vascular intervention. It was a striking example of the life sustaining power of interventional cardiology. I was convinced that no other career would suffice! However, as a cardiology fellow at the Texas Heart Institute (THI), I became bored with the lack of mental challenge found in most interventional cardiology cases. Fortunately, Dr. Ali Massumi, the THI director of electrophysiology, opened my eyes to a career that is every bit as “interventional” and far more mentally engaging. When I see my patients that have survived sudden cardiac arrest by virtue of their implanted defibrillator or who have been cured of a lifelong arrhythmia with ablation, I feel a satisfaction that is beyond words.
How has membership in the Society been of value to you and your practice?
Membership in the Heart Rhythm Society provides me with an opportunity to serve the greater electrophysiology community in a way that complements the work I do for my patients and referring physicians. I believe that each of us has a responsibility to donate a portion of his time to bettering our profession. Being an active Society volunteer allows me to do that in a highly impactful manner. Even though I’m only recently out of training, I am asked to work on meaningful projects with established national thought leaders to shape the future of electrophysiology.
Working with likeminded EPs of various ages and career interests helps me build personal and professional relationships that I expect to last a lifetime.
I believe that my practice (and many others) will benefit as the Society improves patient awareness of and access to electrophysiology services. We are all acutely aware of the scrutiny that highly specialized physicians like electrophysiologists are increasingly under. There may not be a more important time to be involved with the Society than right now.
Please list a few of your most recent accomplishments.
- I finished my electrophysiology training in June of 2008 and have joined an all EP private practice in Houston, Texas.
- I was an assistant editor of the Society's recent Management of Atrial Fibrillation pocket guide. This has generated a fair amount of interest among my patients and referrals!
- I have served on the Heart Rhythm Society Membership Committee since 2007 and my involvement often focuses on serving the needs of trainees and young EPs.
- I'm working with several other members to spearhead the Society's emerging EP initiative. The Society has identified a need for educational tools to help young EPs transition to their new careers, whether it be an academic position or private practice. Young doctors spend years obtaining their medical training, but are never taught how to manage many of the critical issues they face “on the job.” We hope to equip them for successful employment contract negotiation, more effective interactions with their referring physicians and hospital administrators and more complete understanding of the subtleties of billing, coding and reimbursement. While at first these issues may seem outside the scope of The Society's purview, I believe it is early evidence of a revitalized organization striving to better meet the needs of one of their core constituencies, private practice EPs.
More About Craig Delaughter, MD, PhD, FHRS
I come from a family of modest means that holds hard work, honesty and helping others as its core values. I have been very fortunate in life to have met individuals who are willing to help me reach my goals and whose friendship I value tremendously. I attended the University of Houston as a National Merit Scholar, and completed Baylor College of Medicine’s MD/PhD program through the Medical Scientist Training Program. The lab bench lacked the human interaction I needed for career satisfaction and I ultimately found EP. Today I focus on how early career EPs like myself can better serve their patients and communities, especially with respect to identifying and treating patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. The ICD is now 30 years old, but perhaps only 40 percent of patients needing primary prevention ICDs have received them. That leaves a great deal of work to be done!