Women in Research:
Breaking the glass ceiling
Catalina Vladut is a young Gastroenterology specialist affiliated to the Clinical Emergency Hospital ‘Agrippa Ionescu’, Bucharest, Romania. Her interest in research led her to enroll in her PhD in pancreatology. She is member of UEG’s Young Talent Group and their cross-representative on UEG’s Equality & Diversity Task Force. This is her unique perspective on the session ‘Career Chat: Women in Research’ at UEG Week 2019.Watch the Facebook live video of the Career Chat session.
- Federal Glass Ceiling Commission. Good for Business: Making Full Use of the Nation's Human Capital. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, March 1995.
- Harlan, Elizabeth (2008). George Sand. Yale University Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-300-13056-0.
- The glass-ceiling index, The Economist
Women in Research:
Ten ideas to get your research career on track
Catalina Vladut is a young Gastroenterology specialist affiliated to the Clinical Emergency Hospital ‘Agrippa Ionescu’, Bucharest, Romania. Her interest in research led her to enroll in her PhD in Pancreatology. She is member of UEG’s Young Talent Group and their cross-representative on UEG’s Equality & Diversity Task Force. Here are her tips for your research career, based on the session ‘Career Chat: Women in Research’ at UEG Week 2019.
Read also Catalinas’ perspective on the Career Chat session.
- Fellowships are an essential part of one’s medical education, especially when it comes to research. Even if some centers provide less clinical practice, if these are centers of excellence in research, the experience will boost your knowledge. This means making a big change in your life, but the benefit will be remarkable regardless how long you stay there. UEG helps young investigators with a Visiting Fellowship or a Research Fellowship.
- ‘Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough on what is important’ (Stephen Covey). Time management is essential when it comes to effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity. Set priorities and identify tasks that need immediate attention (urgent vs. important). Be flexible as there can be changes along the way.
- Identify and hold-on to your passion: basic or translational science, clinical practice, management, different topics in GI, etc. Try to make all these experiences so that in the end you know what your field of interest is.
- Choose a great mentor in an excellence center, according to your field of interest, but never forget that it is a two-way street. Therefore, you should become a good mentee and be willing to develop yourself.
- Emotional and practical support at home is essential. The partner is the key ingredient to a happy life, being able to share the burden and take on some tasks. Never forget the family support, especially grandparents who can be a great solution. However, family and work remain two separate entities in your life. Try not to intertwine them, yet do not neglect one of the two. Studies show that maintaining a good work-life balance increases productivity.
- Networking helps you expand your horizon and improve your medical knowledge. Participating in scientific meetings, workshops, or courses and interacting with worldwide experts can bring new perspectives and offer you the tools necessary to develop yourself and your home hospital.
- Healthy mind, healthy body. Be careful about burn-out: studies have shown that burn-out occurs 1.6 times more often in female physicians. Do not overwork yourself and try to find the time to relax. Find a passion or hobby and give it the amount of time it deserves.
- Self-confidence: be aware of your strength and do not underestimate your assets. Go forward to apply for grants and other opportunities.
- Face the ‘mommy gap bias’, meaning the challenge of reentering your medical career after staying at home with your children. Many medical programs were implemented to facilitate the career reentry, yet all you need is dedication and willpower. Moreover, studies show that while paternity leave is overlooked, it can have a great positive impact on the mothers’ health .
- Be aware of the sacrifice! The keyword was ‘sacrifice’ since both senior male and female GI’s that attended the Career Chat were able to admit that every choice has an impact on the personal or professional life. However, all these choices define us for who we become in time.
- Burtle A, Bezruchka. “Population Health and Paid Parental Leave: What the United States Can Learn from Two Decades of Research”. Healthcare (Basel). 2016 Jun; 4(2): 30. doi: 10.3390/healthcare4020030
UEG Education: learn, advance, excel
Exciting new UEG Education learning formats to look out for in 2020.
There are many different ways to learn, both in the classroom and online. Here, Natalie Wood, Lead Editor of UEG E-learning, introduces some exciting new UEG Education learning formats to look out for in the coming months and provides a rundown of what’s already on offer. A reminder of how UEG Education hopes to cater for all!
UEG Learning bytes
UEG Education roadmap 2020 and strategy
How to identify possible scientific partners
Follow these tips on how to find potential research collaborators.
Finding new potential collaborators and the exchange with colleagues to promote your research is crucial for GI specialists.
Pedro Rodrigues, a new member of the Young Talent Group in 2020, shares the most useful tips on how to identify a possible scientific partner.
Tip 1: Do attend the most important meetings in your field of expertise.
Tip 2: Try to synergize with good people.
Tip 3: Identify partners that complement your research and interests.
Tip 4: Engage researchers from different areas in order to create your own multidisciplinary network.
Tip 5: Collaborate with researchers that do not come with problems, but with solutions.
Tip 6: Select partners from all over the world.
Tip 7: Don’t forget to move!!!
Tip 8: Be involved in relevant associations and groups, and ask for help whenever necessary.
Tip 9: Don´t be shy! Just do it.
Liver biopsy for evaluation of fibrosis in chronic liver disease: Yes or no?
Two experts present their viewpoints
Chronic liver disease affects many millions of people worldwide and is a major cause of premature death. Assessing liver fibrosis in patients with chronic liver disease can determine disease stage and progression, and also response to therapy, but whether this is best performed via a liver biopsy or noninvasive methods is a matter for debate.
Here, two European experts present their opposing viewpoints on how to assess fibrosis in the setting of chronic liver disease.
- Almpanis Z, Demonakou M and Tiniakos D. Evaluation of liver fibrosis: "Something old, something new…". Ann Gastroenterol 2016; 29: 445–453.
- Lackner C and Tiniakos D. Fibrosis and alcohol-related liver disease. J Hepatol 2019; 70:294–304.
- European Association for the Study of the Liver and Asociacion Latinoamericana para el Estudio del Higado. EASL-ALEH Clinical Practice Guidelines: Non-invasive tests for evaluation of liver disease severity and prognosis. J Hepatol 2015; 63: 237–264.
- Castera L, Friedrich-Rust M and Loomba R. Noninvasive assessment of liver disease in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Gastroenterology 2019; 156: 1264–281.
What not to do at UEG Week
Most common things you should avoid when attending UEG Week, to help you get the most out of your congress participation.
Attending international conferences is important to stay up to date in the world of digestive health. For junior specialists, a big congress like UEG Week can be overwhelming. Henriette Heinrich is Gastroenterology Consultant in the Stadtspital Triemli, Zuerich, Switzerland, and incoming chair of the Young Talent Group. She has summarised the most common things you should avoid when attending UEG Week, to help you get the most out of your congress participation.
1. Not attending!
2. Not planning ahead @UEG Week
3. Not paying a visit to the Young GI Lounge (Hall 8.0)
4. Not jumping into the UEG Talent Pool
5. Not attending the Young GI Network event "Let’s meet!"
6. Not checking out the Education Booth (Hall 8.0)
7. Staying offline
- The UEG Week Mobile App (see pitfall number two)
- Online content to watch or rewatch (again, see pitfall number two)
- The UEG Week live video chats, during which surgeons and gastroenterologists battle it out and we explore the compatibility of having a job and a family. YOUR ONLINE INPUT AND QUESTIONS ARE HIGHLY APPRECIATED!
- Missing the news updates about UEG Week on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
8. Missing out on seriously important events on research funding for scientists
- EU funded Cooperation Networks in GI: How to get involved?
- Fellowships and grants: How UEG can help your career
- EU funding opportunities and strategy in digestive health
9. Not bringing your team
Why students should attend UEG Week
3 medical students reveal how they experienced UEG Week.
Ivelina Georgieva, Giusi Sciume and Nikolay Manov study medicine in Italy and Bulgaria and attended UEG Week for the first time in 2018. In this video, they tell Radislav Nakov and Gianluca Ianiro why attending a big international congress can be helpful for undergraduate students’ careers as well and what they liked most about UEG Week.
What you always wanted to know from UEG Rising Stars...
Current and previous awardees answer our questions.
The Rising Stars Award provides a durable platform for young researchers to further improve and progress in their professional career. Current and previous UEG Rising Stars told us more about their experience receiving this award and how they benefited.
Take the next step in your research career and apply to become a Rising Star!Watch video interviews with other UEG Rising Stars.
How did the Rising Star Award contribute to your career in the long run?
What meant winning the UEG Rising Star Award to you and how has your career developed since you received the award?
What is the right moment and career stage to apply for the Rising Star Award and what will increase candidates’ chances to receive it?
Do you have any tips for Rising Star Award applicants? What should they consider and what should they focus on?
Do you have any tips for researchers from countries that offer fewer scientific opportunities? How can they compete in the run for the Rising Star Award?
How did you experience receiving the Rising Star Award and presenting your research on the stage?
Has the Rising Star Award made an impact on your career so far?
What was your motivation to apply for the Rising Star Award and what are your expectations?
Women in endoscopy
Marianna Arvanitakis talks about the situation and obstacles for women in interventional endoscopy.
Marianna Arvanitakis is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Gastroenterology, Hôpital Erasme, Brussels and specialises in pancreatic disease, nutrition and endoscopy.In this video, YTG member Ivana Mikolasevic talks to her about the situation and obstacles for women in endoscopy, in particular interventional endoscopy.
From clinical fellow to clinical lecturer – how to secure a post
Neel Sharma of the University of Birmingham shares his tips.
Post undertaking a research fellowship, the decision to remain as a clinician academic is the first one to take. If motivated and passionate enough it is a no brainer. However entering the next stage of training from fellow to lecturer is no easy feat; limited funding and posts. That in itself is a true test of your commitment.
Dr Neel Sharma, GI Registrar and Clinical Lecturer at the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy and Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Birmingham shares his tips that may prove useful for those hoping to secure a post.
- Reach out to potential supervisors before submitting your application. It is advisable to show interest early on. Sending out an email and arranging an informal meeting helps to demonstrate your background thus far, your research progression during your fellowship and more importantly your understanding of the field. Supervisors are keen to know how well you recognise the current gaps in the evidence and how you may choose to solve them. Of course there is no one solution but the exchange of thinking is a fundamental element in academia. By meeting potential supervisors they can gauge how well you would fit their lab or research interests and if not which other supervisors may be better suited to you.
- The application form. The application process is fairly straight forward, highlighting your degrees thus far, prizes, publications and presentations. Where you will be able to set yourself apart is highlighting your long-term plan and what you can bring to the department in terms of your skillset. And here there is no right or wrong. Collaboration is key for any successful researcher. You must demonstrate an awareness of such and potential collaborations thus far is crucial. It is now overtly outdated to think that one centre can achieve academic success without reliance on other institutions. There is now no single expert. Have you taken steps to develop a network early on? Are you culturally aware? Ensuring diversity in your research network with a willingness to embrace expertise both East and West will set you apart from the rest.
- The interview. And last but by no means least the interview. Interviews are never plain sailing. You may have to face several. But your approach should be consistent each time. It is highly likely that you will be asked to analyse a research study. This will help to highlight to panel members your ability to condense a paper in to its main findings and of more importance its potential flaws. Gain an understanding of trial methodology and data analysis, most of which you will be familiar with post fellowship but there may be some methods or stats you may not be aware of. You will be asked about your research vision and so be concrete in your beliefs. Even if some panel members disagree stick to what you believe. And what you want to add to the field, even if widely different to the panel. Remember you are not here to solve all the research gaps but to add to the understanding of the discipline over your career. Demonstrate to the interviewers your motivation and even if criticised remember the criticisms are designed simply to ensure what you aim to contribute will be more rigorous and more translatable in the future.
Achalasia: Physician versus Surgeon
Two European experts give their opposing views on the best treatment option for achalasia
Oesophageal achalasia is a rare motility disorder, in which peristalsis is impaired or absent and the lower oesophageal sphincter fails to relax. Symptoms of achalasia include dysphagia, regurgitation of undigested food, coughing and choking, chest pain and chest infections.
We invited two European experts to give their opposing viewpoints—physician versus surgeon—on the best treatment option for achalasia.
A Physician's Viewpoint—Paul FockensAlthough the title of this blog quickly attracted your attention, it is actually not a choice between physician and surgeon but a choice between peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) and laparoscopic Heller myotomy (LHM). From a patient's point of view, the natural orifice approach will be preferred as it diminishes complications and reduces recovery time. But are both treatments equal in their efficacy and safety profile? There are many studies that suggest the efficacy of both POEM and LHM is excellent, but POEM has not been around very long so less evidence is available. Two large randomized controlled trials presented in abstract form and awaiting full publication both demonstrate the high efficacy of POEM, which seems equal to LHM and superior to a set of two pneumatic dilations. But how about safety? POEM is significantly less invasive, and thereby safer, than LHM; complications are very rare and usually mild. Therefore, with comparable efficacy and improved safety when compared with LHM, POEM seems to have a bright future. Is there any disadvantage to POEM? Yes, there is one issue and that is reflux. POEM can currently not be combined with an endoscopic antireflux procedure, so a significant percentage of patients will have to use proton pump inhibitors after POEM. It is up to the patient, after care has been taken to inform them about all available treatment options, to come to a shared decision with their doctor. Without a doubt in my mind, I believe POEM will frequently be the patient's favourite choice! References
- Ponds FA, et al. Peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) versus pneumatic dilatation in therapy-naive patients with achalasia: results of a randomized controlled trial [abstract 637]. Gastroenterology 2017; 152 (suppl 1): S139.
- Werner YB, et al. Endoscopic versus surgical myotomy in patients with primary idiopathic achalasia [abstract LB08]. United European Gastroenterology Journal 2018; 6: 1590.
A Surgeon's Viewpoint—Giovanni ZaninottoSurgical treatment of oesophageal achalasia divides the muscle fibresof the distal oesophagus and cardia, leaving the underlying mucosa intact. Consequently, resistance of the lower oesophageal sphincter to the flow of the bolus is diminished. Heller myotomy, named for the German surgeon who performed it first (in 1913), has been completed laparoscopically (LHM) since 1990, with a partial wrap of the fundus added to prevent iatrogenic gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). LHM has gained vast popularity because of its efficacy in reducing dysphagia (89% and 85% of patients are asymptomatic at 5 and 10 years, respectively) while maintaining a very good safety profile (mortality <0.1%, morbidity <7%). Postoperative reflux is observed in 10–20% of patients when a partial fundoplication is added to LHM. Three randomized controltrials and three meta-analyses have compared the efficacy of LHM with that of pneumatic dilation, revealing that pneumatic dilation can achieve the same efficacy as LHM only after multiple, sequential dilations. Moreover, LHM is more effective than pneumatic dilation for treatment of type III spastic achalasia. There are no randomized control trials published in full that compare LHM with POEM, though two meta-analyses show that POEM achieves slightly (but significantly) better symptomatic control than LHM, especially for type III achalasia. However, the duration of the patient follow-up was shorter for POEM, and POEM presented a higher risk of postoperative reflux (20–40%). I believe five small abdominal scars are preferable to an increased risk of GORD, and that LHM remains the 'single-shot' better option for achalasia patients. References
- Boeckxstaens G, Zaninotto G and Richter JE. Achalasia. Lancet 2013; 383: 83–93.
- Zaninotto G, et al. The 2018 ISDE achalasia guidelines. Dis Esoph 2018; 9: 1–31.
Dealing with nutrition, diet, microbiota and IBS
Nutrition expert Heidi Staudacher speaks about advances in IBS research.
Heidi Staudacher is a research dietician at the University of Queensland in Australia.With Rune Stensvold from the UEG E-learning Team, she speaks about advances in IBS research and how it can be used to help IBS patients. Have also a look at Heidi Staudacher's presentation "The low FODMAP diet: Selecting the right candidate" at UEG Week Vienna 2018
UEG Image Hub
A new source of GI images online, freely available to download.
As an editor I’m clearly a big fan of words, but I’m also a big fan of images and the way they can add value and visual interest. As part of our work, the UEG E-learning Team is always thinking about how best to illustrate our content, be it on online courses (and their summary infographics), “Mistakes in…” articles or our latest news blogs. Although we necessarily do use third-party figures or photos, as often as possible we work with our art editor and authors to develop original images, such as the few shared here in this blog.
Apply for a UEG Activity Grant to produce an online course
Developing an online course is not as complicated as you may think.
Tough but doable
8 Tips for passing the European Specialty Examination in Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Anthea Pisani is a gastroenterology trainee in Mater Dei Hospital in Malta. She passed the European Specialty Examination in Gastroenterology and Hepatology in April 2018 and gave a talk about “Tough but doable: A personal view on the exam” in the Young GI Lounge at the subsequent UEG Week in Vienna. Her presentation was very much appreciated, so we asked Anthea to share her top tips for passing the exam in the GI Hive.
So, you have decided to sit for the European Specialty Examination in Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Perhaps this was a voluntary decision on your behalf in order to broaden your horizons, or it may be a mandatory aspect of your training. It may be your first attempt or maybe a re-attempt and you might be at the beginning of your training or at the end of it. Either way, good luck with your preparations. Here are some points to help guide you towards becoming a European board certified Gastroenterologist.
From bench to the UEG floor
A personal experience from an young gastroenterologist from Egypt and how UEG helped him to achieve his goals.
Mohammed Khorshid, a young gastroenterologist, tells us his personal success story of being invited to give an oral presentation at UEG Week.
UEG Classroom Courses
These educational events are perfect opportunities to increase your GI knowledge.
Radislav Nakov, member of the YTG and the Education Committee explains what’s happening at UEG’s classroom courses and who should attend them.These educational events are perfect opportunities to increase your GI knowledge but also to expand your professional network. Find out more about the courses and how to apply.
Work-life balance: 10 tips from the UEG Week 2018 experience
A list of Dos and Dont's that came out of the Career Chat.
Carolina Ciacci is a full Professor of Gastroenterology at University of Salerno (Italy), a member of the UEG Equality & Diversity Taskforce and a mother of two adult children. At UEG Week 2018, she participated in the session “Career Chat: Women as educators” and in the Facebook live chat “How to improve work-life balance for doctors?”. Based on these discussions and her own personal experience she shares her ten tips for work life balance in this edition of the GI Hive.
Here is a list of Do's and Dont's that came out of the Career Chat:
- Make a careful analysis of your potential and find out how to empower yourself, both at work and within the family.
- Set up your priorities, short and long-term goals. Get the skills you need to succeed. Look around, find a spot for you in your working setting, fill up the empty space with expertise and knowledge. Live up to your potential!
- Choose your family partner carefully. This will help to share your family duties with him/her. Make a written list of each of your tasks. Try to set a routine for chores but know that you both need to be flexible.
- Ask for help! Outsourcing is not a shame. It is hard to be on the same day on call, a mother, and a good housekeeper. Hire all the help you can afford, even if you have to pay a fee.
- Make a careful plan of your expenses, since outsourcing is expensive. In some periods of your life, it is more important to spend less on entertaining and more on babysitting or housekeeping.
- Be efficient! Consider reducing commuting by living close to the workplace, or the kindergarten/ school. Find a gym next to your working place and go whenever you can. Check on your smartphone the time you spend on social media. You will be surprised how much time you waste scrolling the screen of your phone (yet it is sane to do that for some time!)
- Keep healthy! Eat well, train your body, and get a good night´s sleep. Don’t forget to look after your mind. Have a little quiet time alone. Enjoy small moments of harmony. It is vital to be fit for the daily challenges of your life.
- Learn to say “no”! Saying “no” is difficult; however, you need to protect yourself from unnecessary and unfair demands that will add nothing to your personal growth and career. Be firm and protect your space.
- Failure is not an option (Gene Kranz, Apollo 13). Accept the possibility that sometimes in your life your career might slow down temporarily because of family engagements. Use your time at home cleverly; you might find a way to write a review or improve your knowledge in a particular field.
- Do not mix up family and work. When you are at work, focus on what you are doing. Do not make unnecessary phone calls or waste time discussing your family life with your colleagues. Remember also that your colleagues may have supported you when you were on parental leave, so be helpful and available for them, too. On the other hand, if you are at home with your family limit checking your emails, or answering phone calls as much as possible. Multitasking will not work if you are striving for excellence in both fields.
- World Economic Forum. The Global Gender Gap Report 2017
UEG Research Fellowship
UEG YTG Member Gianluca Ianiro talks about this revolutional UEG grant for researchers.