Former CHOC Residents Head Electrophysiology Conference, Feb. 20-21

It was 2003, and two newly graduated physicians had just set foot at CHOC Children’s Hospital for their pediatric residencies. Dr. Anthony McCanta and Dr. Vincent Thomas remember the first time they were each called “doctor,” and became responsible for treating sick children. The responsibility drew the two together, initiating a friendship that remains strong today.

“We went through the trenches together. It was nice to have someone there there that you could run something by and that you could trust. That is something we can still count on from each other today,” Dr. Thomas says.

Dr. Anthony McCanta

The two, Dr. McCanta, a pediatric cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology at CHOC, and Dr. Thomas, a pediatric cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Omaha, have joined forces again as co-course directors of the PACES Advancing the Field Conference, being held on Feb. 20-21, 2017 at Florida Hospital, in Orlando. Along with co-course director, Dr. Bhavya Trivedi, they’ve put together an exciting symposium to promote different diagnostic and treatment approaches for pediatric and adult congenital patients, and encourage collaboration among renowned experts in the field.

Dr. Vincent Thomas

The first half of the conference will focus on adult congenital electrophysiology, while the second half will focus on pediatrics. This includes discussions on innovative technology, such as leadless pacemakers – a minimally invasive device the size of a pen cap, which does not require the use of wire leads and is implanted directly in the heart. The new device is currently in research trials and has not been used on children yet.

Both physicians credit their mentor at CHOC, Dr. Melville Singer, a beloved and well-respected cardiologist who recently passed away, with the idea of continuously learning and exchanging ideas; which is perhaps the most important theme of the conference, explain Drs. McCanta and Thomas.

“Mel Singer was a great teacher and friend, who was instrumental in our interest of cardiology and what it entails,” Dr. Thomas says. “He was constantly trying to learn new things and that is really the whole idea behind this conference – to not just talk about what we already know; medicine is constantly changing and in order to provide the best care for our patients, we need to adapt to new challenges.”

The inaugural PACES conference in 2014 was well received due to the emphasis on open discussion, something Drs. McCanta and Thomas wanted to continue to see in their 2017 program.

“Most conferences have speakers just talking to you. We wanted a conference that focuses on discussion, including limiting the experts’ talks to 15 minutes or less to leave time for longer discussion. You learn so much from the audience; they have incredible insight,” Dr. McCanta says.

Plans are already underway for a 2019 conference. To contact Dr. McCanta, email To contact Dr. Thomas, email

Learn more about the PACES Advancing the Field Conference.  

Learn more about CHOC’s electrophysiology program.