DDW News

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Welcome to DDW 2019: A toast to 50 years

Grace H. Elta, MD, AGAF, FASGE
Grace H. Elta, MD, AGAF, FASGE

For the past 50 years, Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) has been the premier gastroenterology, hepatology and surgery meeting, featuring cutting-edge research and clinical breakthroughs. It’s truly an international meeting that connects communities and leads to patient care improvement around the globe.

This year, we get the chance to reflect on that progress and toast 50 years of excellence. That’s why I’m especially excited to welcome you to DDW 2019 in sunny San Diego, where we celebrate a half century of dialogue and enlightenment.

I hope you were able to join us at Friday evening’s 50th Anniversary Reception. The DDW Council put together a lively evening featuring music from GI Distress, a band of GI scientists-musicians who covered rock classics from the ’60s through today. It was a great time reconnecting and reminiscing with colleagues.

The educational portion begins today with a number of important sessions, including several postgraduate course presentations, which are always some of most sought-after at the meeting. The next three days are also filled with sessions you won’t want to miss, including Sunday’s DDW Diversity Session and Reception, which focuses on unconscious bias, and Tuesday’s Best of DDW, which showcases the best science from the meeting.

We’re always trying to make the meeting more engaging, interactive and informative. One thing we learned from last year’s post-meeting survey was that young GIs want more one-on-one interaction with experts. This year in the Trainee and Early Career Lounge, we’ve added some programming to do just that. Two experienced leaders will lead an informal, intimate Meet the Experts session in the lounge, driven by questions from small groups.

The Exhibit Hall features some exciting new developments: An additional Product Theater and a new Knowledge Hub, which will include short presentations from exhibitors. We are thankful for our sponsor partnerships and for their continued support of DDW.

I’m excited to share that we’ve reinstated Camp DDW this year. While you’re attending sessions, children 6 months to 12 years old can participate in age-appropriate activities, including arts and crafts projects and games. We believe it’s important to offer child care for our attendees and we recognize that more women are entering the field of GI.

As the largest GI meeting, DDW is once again jam-packed with information, and meeting planners have made navigating the meeting easier than ever. The 17 DDW Tracks allow you to tailor the meeting to your own interests. The DDW Mobile App is my favorite tool to build my personal itinerary. You can view all sessions, abstracts, speakers, posters and exhibit information in real time. Download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

DDW has rebranded its on-site newspaper and revamped its year-round blog as DDW News, news.ddw.org. The website provides the news and views you’ve come to expect, delivered with a fresh, new look and easier navigation that’s been optimized for mobile devices.

I’m so happy to have you all back in beautiful San Diego. The convention center is a perfect fit for the meeting and easy to walk, much like most of San Diego. Across from the conference is the lively Gaslamp Quarter, brimming with open air restaurants, bars and shopping, and surrounded by hotels. The city is known for its beautiful weather and active adventures. I hope you have the chance to explore.

Medicine is constantly changing, which makes attending meetings like DDW vitally important. We continue to make strides in treatments and find out more information on diseases daily. I hope you take this opportunity to network with world-renowned experts and your GI colleagues to come away from DDW 2019 feeling energized and informed. Here’s to 50 years!

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