By Michael W. Fried, MD, FAASLD, AASLD President
It is my distinct honor to become the President of AASLD for 2019. I am very fortunate to follow in this role after Dr. Ronald Sokol who led AASLD through a remarkable year that saw continued growth and innovation across all the functions of our organization. Prior to becoming president, each of us serves for four years on the Governing Board, which is composed of extremely dedicated and talented individuals from whom I have learned a great deal and with whom I have developed lifelong friendships. Another defining strength of AASLD are the valuable contributions from our numerous committees and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) which play a critical role in program and policy development. Over the years, I have marveled at the countless moving parts in our organization that mesh together, with the assistance of extraordinary AASLD staff in the home office, to create the leading professional society in the field of hepatology.
Many members may not be fully aware that the Governing Board is guided by a Strategic Plan, a forward-thinking document that focuses us on the path to achieve our mission (To Prevent and Cure Liver Disease) and assure the preeminence of AASLD in the years ahead. In 2018, Governing Board Councilors Ray Chung and Jorge Bezerra (President-Elect), working with a select group of volunteers and staff, directed a complete overhaul of the Strategic Plan that will be implemented over the next five years. This was a monumental, iterative process encompassing many hours of meetings with consultants and various AASLD member constituencies, but the final product, exciting and transformative, was well worth the effort!
One of the first tasks of the Strategic Planning Committee was to define the values that are important to our members and serve as the foundation for anything we do within the organization. Thus, AASLD will always maintain Integrity, encourage Inclusiveness, lead Innovation, foster Collaboration, and Respect the opinions and diversity of all with whom we interact. These five principles could not be any more important or prescient in the world today, and I am extremely proud to be a member and the leader of an organization that can articulate and uphold these values.
The full Strategic Plan (which can be found at https://www.aasld.org/about-aasld/strategic-plan) encompasses six main areas:
- Foster member engagement to optimize professional accomplishments and contributions
- Lead the discovery of advances toward prevention and cure of liver disease
- Invest in promising opportunities that advance AASLD’s capabilities to achieve its mission
- Extend our hand for local, regional and global outreach for scientific dissemination
- Implement technology solutions that optimize accessibility/value of AASLD educational content
- Develop a strategy to engage our patients with the goal of informing the work of AASLD and improving health outcomes
Over the ensuing 12 months, I will provide you with further details and updates about each aspect of the Strategic Plan and how it is working to improve the professional lives of our members and translating into improved care and outcomes for our patients.
Once again, I am privileged to be assuming the leadership as AASLD President and, with the assistance of my exceptional partners on the Governing Board and the superb AASLD staff, to lead us in these new directions. I call upon all our members to get involved and contribute their energy and ideas to AASLD as we embark on implementing this strategic plan together, which I guarantee will be a rewarding experience for all of us.