Dr. Mark Schoenfeld has been a member of the Heart Rhythm Society for twenty-three years, since completing his EP fellowship with Dr. Warren J. Harthorne.
How long have you been a member of the Heart Rhythm Society?
Over twenty three years, after completing a pacemaker fellowship with Warren Harthorne, Heart Rhythm Society/NASPE’s first president, and my cardiac electrophysiology fellowship with Jeremy Ruskin.
My Society is…
The preeminent world organization dedicated to education, research, and advocacy on behalf of all patients with cardiac arrhythmias. It is also my “home away from home,” that repository of professionals and friends that I look forward to being with and interacting with on a frequent and regular basis, whether in person, at committee meetings, at our Annual Sessions, via conference calls, or through electronic communication. I have been active in many organizations, but I can sincerely say that I especially value the relationships that the Society has nurtured over the years.
Why did you choose the field of electrophysiology?
I have long been enticed by the prospect of “defeating death,” perhaps inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s film “Seventh Seal”, and yet tempered by Woody Allen’s observation that “Death is nature’s way of telling us to slow down...” I was fortunate enough to become involved in the field in its formative years, allowing me to contribute importantly to the descriptive aspects/phenomenology of cardiac electrophysiology and pacing and to continue my contributions thereafter. I have been also extremely blessed to have had wonderful mentors throughout, especially Warren Harthorne, Jeremy Ruskin, Sy Furman, David Cannom and innumerable others — the importance of finding such mentors, and wherever possible serving as one, is a life lesson that I have instilled in my children.
Very importantly, the field of electrophysiology is one that has allowed me to engage in everything I could want to in a life profession — to treat patients; to teach; to engage in clinical research, write and publish my observations; to develop guidelines and policies affecting our field; to interact with industrial colleagues, government officials, and colleagues both in our country and abroad — all in an effort to promote the health of our patients. Admittedly, I do have a great deal of energy and yet have been able to “do it all." It strikes me that the field of electrophysiology is uniquely suited to accomplishing these goals.
How has membership in the Society been of value to you and your practice?
The Society has served as one of the most important aspects of my professional and extra-professional life for more than two decades. It has allowed my academic and professional career to flourish by providing an environment that encouraged young investigators to pursue clinical research and engage in public policy initiatives that would promote health care in general and arrhythmia management in particular. It began as a much smaller organization and yet retained that “family feel” to it, even as it grew to the Society we cherish today, allowing the development and maintenance of very close friendships with some of the finest and most brilliant individuals in our field. By encouraging involvement and volunteerism, it enabled me to become active in every facet of the organization—indeed, I have served as either chair or member of virtually every single committee and/or task force established by the Society. In so doing, it gave me a sense of a “bigger purpose,” beyond that of serving my local patients, namely promoting an entire field and thereby potentially impacting upon patients on a more global scale.
Please list a few of your most recent accomplishments.
As mentioned, I have served as chair or member of virtually all of the Society’s committees, serving in the “leadership track,” and culminating in my tenure as President of Heart Rhythm Society/NASPE during its transitional year in 2002-3 when the Strategic Plan envisioned a new “brand” for the organization. During my presidential year, I worked to facilitate the transition from “NASPE” to “Heart Rhythm Society” and sought increasing involvement on the part of the membership — a widespread democratization of the Society. The term “Past President” is in some ways a misnomer — once a volunteer, always a volunteer, and I have continued to serve on many Society committees, notably the Regulatory Affairs Committee, and have taken part in developing the 2008 AHA/ACC/HRS guidelines for pacemakers and antiarrhythmia device implantation and the 2008 HRS/EHRA guidelines for monitoring CIEDs. Presently I am on the writing committee to develop guidelines in the management of CIEDs in patients nearing end of life, and have some articles coming out in JACC and PACE, while writing as well for some books expected to come out within the coming year. Perhaps the most fun of late is the opportunity, in my role as Yale faculty, to teach the second year medical students about antiarrhythmic therapy in their pharmacology and cardiovascular pathophysiology modules — my daughter Amy is a member of the second year class. And, of course, my wife and three daughters remain my most important accomplishments!!!
More About Mark H. Schoenfeld, MD, FHRS, CCDS
Mark H. Schoenfeld is Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine and a Fellow of Saybrook College, Yale University. He is the Director of the Cardiac Electrophysiology and Pacemaker Laboratory at the Hospital of Saint Raphael. Dr. Schoenfeld graduated from Yale College and received his MD from Harvard Medical School. He was an intern and resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was also a Fellow in Cardiology, Cardiac Electrophysiology, and Cardiac Pacing.
Dr. Schoenfeld is a Past President of the Heart Rhythm Society, and has chaired many HRS/NASPE committees in the past, including the Scientific Sessions Program Committee, Executive Committee, Awards Committee, Governance Committee, CME Committee, Nominations Committee, Bylaws Committee, Committee on Development of Position Statements, International Advisory Committee, Database Committee, and the Advisory Council. He has been a member as well of multiple Society committees, including Strategic Planning; Development; Budget and Finance; Health Policy; Reimbursement and Regulatory Affairs; HRS/ EHRA Expert Consensus Panel on Cardiac Device Monitoring; Writing Committee for Management of CIEDs in Patients Nearing End of Life, and Sudden Cardiac Arrest 360 Task Force. He reviews for 11 different medical journals and has served on the editorial boards of 4 of these. His clinical research interests are in the areas of cardiac electrophysiology and pacing, with a primary interest in devices and cardiac resynchronization therapy, and has published and lectured extensively in these areas. He has served as Governor of the Connecticut Chapter of the American College of Cardiology. He has served on multiple committees of the ACC, including: ACC Coding and Nomenclature (CPT) Committee; ACC Clinical Electrophysiology/Pacemaker Committee; ACC/AHA/HRS Writing Committee to Update Guidelines for Implantation of Cardiac Pacemakers and Antiarrhythmia Devices; ACC/AHA/NASPE Committee for Clinical Data Standards in Electrophysiology; ACC Pacemaker Technical Advisory Panel; ACC Expert Consensus Panel on ethical coding and billing practices for cardiovascular medicine specialists.
Dr. Schoenfeld has had a longstanding interest in health care policy and has worked actively on both the local and statewide level in the areas of peer review and interactions with 3rd party payers. On the national level, he has worked with various federal agencies including the FDA with regard to drug/device approval and research protocols and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with regard to reimbursement and coverage policies.