The Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) team is gearing up for a very exciting 2019 meeting; it’s our 50th anniversary! But what would a celebration of DDW’s legacy be without you, the attendees? Continuing to highlight DDW attendees and their memorable experiences from over the years, our next DDW reflection comes from Dr. Linda Nguyen.
Q: Can you describe your first experience attending DDW?
A: I remember my first DDW as a GI fellow in 2003; I had no idea what I was doing. I went to as many sessions as possible, starting at 8 a.m. and staying till the end each day. I tried to cover all topics from nurse administered propofol to viral hepatitis. Everything was so interesting! It’s so much better now that I have a focus, but there’s still so much to see.
Q: How have you seen DDW change/evolve over the years?
A: It’s been great to see more diversity among the speakers and presenters at DDW. Also, incorporation of social media has transformed the meeting such that it’s become more engaging and allows attendees to learn about concurrent sessions they may not have been able to attend. Social media gives attendees a “voice” without having to be an invited speaker.
Q: What has attending DDW done for your career?
A: Being able to present my research and connect with leaders in the field has helped shape and propel my career. I’ve met many future collaborators and sponsors during my attendance, and going from an attendee to a part of the faculty has been both an honor and an incredibly humbling experience. I always make sure that I introduce my fellows and junior faculty to leaders in the field, just as my mentors and sponsors did for me when I was first starting.
Q: What would you tell someone who is on the fence about attending DDW?
A: I’ve attended every DDW since 2003 except for 2 (the year of my best friend’s wedding and the first DDW
after my eldest child was born). DDW is a time to share research, learn from colleagues, connect with old friends and develop collaborative relationships with industry.
Q: What has been your most inspirational DDW moment?
A: It’s difficult to choose one inspirational moment from over the years. However, the most fun moments of the past several years has been meeting Twitter friends in real life.
Q: How do you envision DDW another 50 years from now?
A: I hope the DDW will evolve to welcome our international colleagues in a way that allows them to present their innovative research in their native language while attendees have portable translators (ear buds) that allow us to enjoy their presentations in our own native languages.