This communique highlights key discussions and considerations from the ACvA Strategy Day 2021.

 

Context

The ACvA Strategy Day was held 6 May 2021 at the Boston Consulting Group Office, Sydney, and virtually. Attendees included members of the ACvA Board, Flagship Directors, Chairs of Specialist Working Groups, Board Sub-Committee members as well as Industry and Institutional leads, funders and partners.

The Board of the ACvA held a strategy session to:

  • Assess progress against milestones agreed in Strategy Day 2020
  • Hear from key members and stakeholder groups who provided their perspectives and priorities
  • Consider how the above matters can be taken into account in the ACvA’s vision, priorities and future directions

 

Session Summary

  • ACvA should think Big! We are an organisation that seeks to ensure that research is a solution that serves both health and the economy. The ACvA vision is to deliver transformative change in cardiovascular health. This means thinking big and working proactively to develop ambitious national, collaborative and multi-disciplinary research programs.

 

  • Align focus with CV disease burden. Discussion on the day suggested the ACvA should focus efforts on making a difference to the CV disease burden today (e.g., variation in outcomes) and develop themes aligned with high-burden disease areas (Atrial Fibrillation, Heart Failure, Coronary Artery Disease, Hypertension/Stroke). Through bringing the best teams together, the ACvA could facilitate the development of strategic and national research programs that provide research-based solutions for the healthcare system and reduce the current $10B burden of CV disease in Australia.

 

  • MRFF Mission for Cardiovascular Health. There is an opportunity for the ACvA to explore how to strategically leverage the existing $220M Mission funding with State Governments, Industry and private funds and multiply the investment and demonstrate Return on Investment by coordinating our ‘army’ of CV researchers to address and support the lofty goals of the MRFF and Mission.

 

  • ‘Snowballing’ ideas and fundraising. As well as facilitating the development and expansion of ideas to provide solutions at a national scale, the ACvA could strategically leverage its national footprint of networks and partners for seed funding and further co-investment to bring more money into the sector. This could also include funding for world-class infrastructure platforms to support and strengthen the sector.

 

  • The ACvA is all of you. Through 2021, the ACvA leadership and members will work together to establish priorities and increase the breadth and diversity of our membership to enhance our impact on prevention, treatment and recovery from cardiovascular disease.
  • Increase Communications. Effective communication is essential to achieving the vision of ACvA. The leadership and operations team need to continually listen to the ACvA members and refine our messaging to better communicate our vision and objectives and the opportunities it can bring. Improving communication to our members and stakeholders and enabling them to champion and communicate the vision and work will be a major focus for the ACvA through the rest of 2021 and beyond. Enhancing communication will include re-designing and further development of the ACvA website, improving delivery of our newsletter and strengthening our social media exposure and presence. Further work also needs to be done in disseminating our message through existing member institutions and prospective members. It was agreed that there is an opportunity for a more grassroots approach to promoting ACvA that can be led by key leaders at their host institutes. A slide deck introducing ACvA has been developed and can be circulated to all Board members, ACvA leaders and ambassadors. The ACvA team is also keen to get out on the road and meet as many of you as possible.

 

  • Basic science. Consideration of the basic sciences and how it feeds into the current Flagship structure and translational pipeline needs to be prioritised. Suggestions included the establishment of a separate Flagship or dedicated Committee for fundamental research. The operational team will consult with our broader membership and partners on how to better engage with basic scientists.

 

  • Flagships. It is now time for the Flagships to evolve and look for opportunities for cross-fertilisation and a bigger picture focus on the high burden areas of cardiovascular disease. It was suggested that this could be undertaken using a similar approach as taken with the Specialist Working Groups to introduce cross-cutting disease themes.
  • Consumer engagement. Members recommended the development of strategy for increasing consumer representation and engagement across the ACvA in line with the priority themes and working groups, with the proposal to develop clinical themes viewed as the appropriate pathway to operationalise this strategy.
  • Consolidation. It was agreed that there is a need for the ACvA to consolidate the range of initiatives that are currently being delivered or facilitated and agree on the key priorities. Further consultation with our members will be undertaken to ensure we have the right focus.