aha case study
The Heart Rhythm Society

Convene Research Stakeholders: A Stake in the Ground

Here is an issue that is all too common. Your Board has approved a strategic plan that includes an ambitious goal, but one for which the organization has previously committed little to no resources. What’s first and how do you engage your constituencies to help cement your future leadership position?

Research Strategic Goal with Limited Infrastructure

The Heart Rhythm Society’s Strategic Research Goal: "The Society will be the preeminent organization for promoting research to end death and suffering from heart rhythm disorders."

In 2010 the Heart Rhythm Society hired the aha Group to help support their newly defined strategic goal around research. While there was new enthusiasm and a commitment towards research, there were limited existing resources in staff and budget, and no formal governance to oversee the initiatives. Lisa Olson joined as the HRS Research Staff Consultant to support efforts to set the stage for HRS to assume a research leadership role.

Set the Society Agenda

We often talk about “setting the research agenda” for a specialty or a disease, but equally important is for an organization to set its own agenda for advancing research. In the case of HRS, the organization had outstanding relationships with potential research partners, but had not engaged them in that manner. Following a year of deliberations about direction and desired areas of effort, HRS’ leadership approved an initiative to host a Research Forum.

The Forum’s purpose was to convene all the stakeholders in clinical electrophysiology (EP) and research to outline and define the future in arrhythmia research and establish an ongoing forum for dialogue and collaboration. The forum would serve to broaden the engagement of clinical EPs and scientists in clinical studies and to define better ways to support career scientists. 

Invited Stakeholders

  • Cardiovascular & EP Research & Basic Scientists
  • Clinical Electrophysiologists
  • Federal Government & Regulatory Agencies
  • Medical Industry
  • Cardiovascular/EP Professional Societies
  • Cardiovascular Patient Advocacy Organizations

Forum Lays Foundation for Progress

On December 14-15, 2010 HRS welcomed Francis Collins, MD, PhD, Director, National Institutes of Health as its keynote speaker. The forum title, “Dream It – Discover It – Develop It – Deliver It,” set the stage for visioning a research future, as well as establishing realistic goals and plans for progress. Proceedings of the Forum were published in HRS’ official journal and the Executive Summary was published online and pushed out to all HRS members. The forum deliberations were productive and significant in creating a vision and pathway and made specific recommendations in four key areas:

  • Establishing a Leadership Role 
  • Engaging Clinicians in Research
  • Advancing Research Careers
  • Supporting and Funding Researchers

Formalize the Infrastructure

To date, HRS has established a standing Research Committee in its governance structure and has hired professional development staff. The Research Committee is positioned to advance a research agenda for the field and significantly increase its support of career scientists. The aha Group is pleased to have supported these endeavors.

The aha Group can help you identify and convene the stakeholders who will help you propel your mission. Ask us how we can help support you.

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