Known for her expertise in the cath lab, for her leadership in directing research activities and for educating hundreds of cardiology fellows, Professor Marie-Claude Morice is a true pioneer of interventional cardiology.
What inspired you to specialise in interventional cardiology?
I tried various specialties in my initial training and had even got to the stage of re-considering medicine as a career, then I started to study cardiology and I knew immediately that I had found my niche. The precision and ‘cleanness’ of cardiology really appealed to me and I was fortunate to have an inspiring and supportive mentor in Paul Valère. After further training on the cardiology ward and in the intensive care unit, I then discovered my ‘home’ in the cath lab – I enjoyed the complexities, reacting to emergencies, the people and the environment. Interventional cardiology was emerging as a new area of cardiology and to re-train, I spent time with Jean Marco in Toulouse and with Jacques Crépeau in Montreal. Since then, my path was set and I have never looked back.
What are your main career achievements to date?
I am grateful to be recognised internationally by my peers for many achievements, but I am particularly proud of my involvement in the RAVEL trial.1 I was completely unknown at that time, and presenting and publishing results of the first randomised trial of a drug-eluting stent was a turning point in my research career. Another unforgettable event was when I received the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics Geoffrey O. Hartzler Master Clinical Operator Award in 2014 – I was the first women to receive this award and it meant a great deal to have my family there for the presentation, bringing my two worlds together. I also consider being active in the organisation and management of EuroPCR for so many years as a major achievement
What projects are you involved with at the moment?
I was lucky that when I retired from treating patients, the European Cardiovascular Research Centre (CERC), a contract research organisation, was being established and I am currently its CEO. Although I am no longer involved directly in patient care, I believe I am continuing my mission by conducting robust trials and rigorous research to help get new treatments to patients more quickly. I am also proud to support Women as One, an organisation that aims to provide unique professional opportunities to help women physicians succeed in medicine. Many societies have their own initiatives that aim to catalyse change, but Women as One is truly translational in its activities.
What advice would you give to young cardiologists?
Over the years, I have trained many fellows and I have tried to lead by example, showing them how to convey themselves positively through their publications and presentations and through their behaviour, for example, interacting well with patients. I also try to emphasise that failure does happen, even for experienced operators, and that they should always have a plan B and sometimes a plan C. While confidence and believing in yourself are important, there is also a need for humility.
Join Prof. Morice and other eminent female cardiologists as they provide insights into becoming future leaders at a #SheforShe Special Session on Monday.