By Michael W. Fried, MD, FAASLD, AASLD President
This month, I am delighted to highlight some very important and innovative AASLD programs that encourage member and patient engagement, extend our mission, and promise to be gratifying experiences for all who take the plunge.
Advocate for Our Patients and Our Issues: Liver Capitol Hill Day
Liver Capitol Hill Day will soon be here, so mark your calendars and plan to join your AASLD friends and colleagues in Washington, DC on April 2, 2019! It is truly remarkable to participate in our democratic traditions as we meet legislators and their staff to educate them and advocate for issues of major importance to our patients and our members. The AASLD Public Policy Committee, working with Lyle Dennis and Erika Miller, develops an agenda of talking points to discuss with influential members of the House and Senate. Teams of AASLD members, their patients and representatives from patient advocacy groups traverse the Capitol and House and Senate Office buildings to meet with their regional representatives and provide first-hand accounts about life with liver disease and promote legislative action. Examples of items we discussed last year included protections for living donors, increasing federal research funding and supporting initiatives for eradication of viral hepatitis. You CAN make an impact, so please carve out some time from your schedules to join us for this extremely rewarding event. NOTE: Registration closes on March 1. AASLD will pay all expenses for members and their accompanying patients to attend. See this link and/or email Greg Bologna for more details.
Fun fact: Over 250 million people (including myself at least three times) have visited the Disney attraction, “It‘s a Small World” since it opened in 1971. AASLD continues to bring the hepatology world closer together through our global outreach efforts. What started as a small task force under the leadership of Ray Kim and Anna Lok has matured into a fully subscribed standing committee with Ray as the inaugural Global Outreach and Engagement (GOE) Committee chair. The GOE has many tasks, including providing direction for our international educational strategies and activities, maintaining relationships with global strategic partners and facilitating participation in international partner programs at The Liver Meeting® and around the world.
One of the newest initiatives in our global outreach is the AASLD Connect Program, the primary goal of which is to deliver the best content from AASLD and our Practice Guidelines to areas of the world with otherwise limited access to our programs. We are very grateful for the many AASLD members who volunteer to travel the globe to promote our educational mission. Collaborating with local faculty who offer regional insight and expertise, AASLD members provide the highest quality educational content to diverse populations. The Connect programs aim to go beyond the initial connections made during the face-to-face meeting with additional planned interactions between faculty and attendees. Some of the upcoming Connect programs are:
- Turkish Association for the Study of the Liver – TASL-AASLD Connect, March 15-16, Istanbul, Turkey
- China Foundation for Hepatitis Prevention and Control: CFHPC-AASLD Connect, March 22-24, Beijing, China
- Gastro Foundation of Sub-Saharan Africa-AASLD Connect, August 16-20, Cape Town, South Africa
I also want to acknowledge the work of the Asia Pacific and Latin American Regional Advisory Councils, which were developed in 2018. Both councils comprise AASLD members who live within the Asia Pacific and Latin American regions. These members have been invited to serve as ambassadors of AASLD in their countries and to help AASLD in addressing the needs of scientists and healthcare professionals committed to preventing and curing liver disease around the world.
Finally, here are some of the other joint global programming we are supporting in 2019:
- Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver: APASL-AASLD Joint Research Workshop as well as the APASL-AASLD HCC Joint Symposium at APASL’s Annual Meeting, February 19-24, Manila, Philippines
- Latin American Association for the Study of the Liver: ALEH-AASLD Joint Symposium, ALEH Clinical Course, May 2-4, Lima, Peru
- IPTA-AASLD Joint Symposium, IPTA Annual Meeting, May 4-7, Vancouver, British Columbia
- Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver: AASLD Session, CASL Annual Meeting, May 24-26, Montreal, Quebec
- AMH-AASLD Joint Research Workshop as well as the AMH-AASLD Joint Symposium, AMH Annual Meeting, June 19-22, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
- SBH-AASLD-ALEH Joint Symposium at the Brazilian Congress of Hepatology, October 2-4, São Paulo, Brazil
- Taiwan Association for the Study of the Liver: TASL-AASLD Joint Symposium, December 14-15, Taipei, Taiwan
Yes, it’s a small world, after all!