By Anna S. Lok, MD, FAASLD, AASLD President
As everyone gears up to register for The Liver Meeting® 2017 to be held in Washington DC on October 20-24, some of you might notice that when you google “AASLD liver meeting 2017”, “AASLD 2017”, or “AASLD meeting 2017”, the top few sites do not have the typical AASLD look with our favorite green color. All of these sites claim they can help you reserve hotel rooms and space for small group meetings and, in some cases, even register for the meeting. They even list a few speakers’ names that are familiar but somehow you can’t find the scientific program, and if you scroll to the bottom, which many of us don’t, you see a disclaimer “We provide help to book the best hotels and accommodations near the conference venue to the participants, and are not directly associated with any conference.” We have issued a “Cease and Desist” and have contacted Google but are unable to remove these pirate sites likely because they have paid a premium price. PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOU REGISTER FOR THE MEETING AND RESERVE ACCOMMODATION THROUGH THE AASLD WEBSITE www.aasld.org.
For years, we eagerly awaited the arrival of the 3-inch meeting book with the detailed program and abstracts so we can browse, mark the sessions and talks we plan to attend and the posters we would like to view. As the meeting grows, it becomes impossible to have an all-inclusive meeting book that would not break our backs. Moreover, we are now in the era of search and click and, in many instances, have stuff that we might be interested in pushed in front of us; few of us still flip pages. During the last few years, we have continued to improve on our meeting app. Last year, a large majority of users rated the app as either “excellent” or “good,” and you all provided valuable feedback for continued improvements, which our new Communications and Technology Committee and AASLD staff have been working diligently to address for the 2017 app. We hope you’ll find this year’s app even more user friendly than last year’s, with easier navigation to electronic syllabi (reminder – we no longer offer printed syllabi for the majority of sessions including the Postgraduate Course) and more straightforward claiming of CME. With streamlined search capabilities, our goal is to make the meeting more enjoyable by helping you find the sessions, talks and posters you are most interested in more easily, and create your personalized itinerary for the meeting. We strongly suggest you download the app prior to leaving for the meeting so you can plan ahead.
For some like myself, navigating even the slickest app can be challenging. Thankfully, there will be a Tech Bar located in the Pavilion (in the West Salon of the Washington Convention Center) to demonstrate how to make the best use of the meeting app. As of the writing of this piece, demonstrations were already scheduled on both Friday and Saturday and staff will be on hand throughout the meeting to answer questions. The Tech Bar is designed for participants of all ages and that’s also the place to learn more about the latest apps and websites that would be valuable for hepatology providers and patients. It is also where you can learn all about social media and how it can benefit you professionally. I have certainly learned a lot this year as the voice of the @AASLDPresident on Twitter. Through becoming more active on social media, I’ve been able to discuss science, the work of AASLD and global hepatology issues with people around the world. This year, the Communications & Technology Committee will debut its AASLD Innovation Fund project – Social Media Essentials – at the Tech Bar and will continue rolling out helpful materials and trainings well into 2018. Helping our members make the best use of modern technology to facilitate our practice is one of our major goals, so make sure you stop by the Tech Bar for a presentation or to talk with AASLD staff about joining me on social media.
We have prepared a robust scientific program catering to the needs of our diverse membership and participants from all over the world. In our efforts to ensure that there is something for everyone and that the meeting keeps up with the needs of our attendees and the field, some of the changes you’ll see this year include a new NAFLD Debrief added to Tuesday programming, basic science Meet-the-Professor luncheons on Saturday and Early Morning Workshops moved from Tuesday to Saturday. Welcome and look forward to seeing you at The Liver Meeting®.