Welcome from the DDW Council Chair
Each year as spring approaches, my thoughts turn with anticipation to DDW. I relish the opportunity to learn about what’s new in gastroenterology and hepatology, hear researchers present their exciting work, listen to state-of-the-art reviews by experts in the field, socialize with many old friends (and make some new ones), and meet new colleagues and potential collaborators. I can’t wait for the meeting to take place.
This year will be no exception. San Diego is one of my favorite venues, with its temperate climate and wonderful, breezy convention center. And with the implementation of the DDW Council’s strategic plan last year, I look forward to an even more streamlined and coordinated program, with less duplication and more collaboration among the four sponsoring societies.
The changes implemented last year were well received, and this year we’ll make registration more efficient (now that we realize many attendees will arrive on Saturday morning). The new four-day format was appreciated by attendees, who want to maximize their time away from work and home. Having the AGA and ASGE annual courses back-to-back gives some attendees the option of attending both courses over a long weekend and then heading back home. Others can focus on the plenary sessions of these two societies, held respectively on Monday morning and Monday afternoon. SSAT anchors its program with its superb annual course, plenary session, and maintenance of certification (MOC) course, while AASLD has a wonderful review of the 2011 Liver Meeting and an outstanding plenary session.
Recognizing that attendees have to pick and choose, there is still an opportunity to hear the papers chosen by each of the four program committees as the cream of the crop during the Best of DDW session on Tuesday afternoon and view selected presentations through web-presented recordings during and after DDW. And don’t forget the ASGE Video Forum and Endoscopy from Around the World video session, always attendee favorites. A new addition as of last year is a MOC course for gastroenterologists, a great way to fulfill part of your requirements for board recertification.
It is the cutting edge science that most distinguishes DDW, and there will be no shortage of that this year. Fully 5,485 abstracts have been accepted, including 4,316 poster presentations and 1,168 oral presentations, with an additional 1,012 presentations by invited speakers. There will be 12 state-of-the-art lectures and 12 combined clinical symposia (with 40 overall presentations).
There’s more. My experience has been that attendees love to stroll through the exhibits to learn about new equipment, new drugs and new books. This year 240 exhibitors will be on hand, and the hall will be organized so that the exhibits are grouped by category, with some intervening spaces for refreshments and relaxation.
You’ll be able to plan your meeting in advance with the aid of the greatly improved planning tool MyDDW. You can download your schedule to your mobile device and later revise your schedule by adding and removing sessions. Moreover, you’ll be able to view the abstracts of all your sessions. Gone are the days when you needed to lug around enormous program books!
One of my favorite activities at DDW is to sneak out of the meeting (yes, even I do that) and walk around the city on a nice day in May. The convention center in San Diego is ideally located to do just that, with proximity to the USS Midway Museum; the New Children’s Museum; the Maritime Museum of San Diego (where you can even see a Russian submarine); Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres); the Seaport Village with its small shops and eateries; and the Gaslamp Quarter with its fine restaurants, theaters and concert halls. You can even take a Harbor Cruise or a ferry ride to historic Coronado Island. There is a lot to do in San Diego!
Now you see why I can’t wait for DDW! Cutting-edge science, great courses, the latest technology, meeting and making friends — it’s all there. You’ll learn a lot and have a great time. I look forward to seeing you at DDW 2012.