It is an enormous privilege for me to write this new year’s letter as President of United European Gastroenterology for the coming two years. I am deeply honored to serve the UEG and all its members and hope to further increase the success of UEG in different areas of the “umbrella” that we are for all our member societies.
According to our current strategic plan, UEG is a society that wants to improve prevention and care of digestive diseases in Europe. And the three pillars through which we want to achieve this goal are research, education and patient care. These three pillars form the UEG and are the basis of all our activities. And in my opinion, they should even become more interconnected in the coming years. Science is clearly the backbone of the UEG because science will help us improve digestive health. It is also the basis of our educational activities. One of the best examples being the annual Post-Graduate course during the UEG Week. With the current format, we serve regular attending participants with a complete and structured update of their knowledge. The number of participants has risen over the years and we had more than 3,000 attendees in 2017.
The 47 national societies that are also members of UEG combine and distribute the knowledge gathered inside the UEG to the individual countries. The National Societies Committee and Standards & Guidelines Task Force have developed an on-line portal where European guidelines are collected and offered for free to everyone interested. A repository on the UEG website makes them easy to find while still respecting the origin of each guideline. This will hopefully improve patient care.
For the coming two years, my goals are to continue the success of the UEG and the UEG Week. Through the Week we are able to get in contact with around 14.000 participants from all over the world and share research and education. Although we are ready for a gradual change to a more on-line meeting, the week is right now our most important and successful activity. UEG also has a new Research Board, which will explore how we can best support research. Regarding education, we are exploring the relation of our educational material with the “Blue Book” which forms the basis of the European Board exam (EBGH).
And finally, we will try to broaden our activities regarding clinical standards and hope will help in harmonizing patient care in Europe in the future. For all of the above, we can only do this with the trust and respect of all our member societies and this requires continuous attention of all of us. With lots of endeavour and your support, I am confident that we will progress in the years to come and continue to push boundaries as thought-leaders in the global digestive health arena. UEG is in an extremely strong position, and I look forward to developing the future vision with you during my presidency.
It is clear to me that UEG should serve as an umbrella organisation for the many national and specialty societies in the field of gastroenterology and hepatology across Europe. Together, we are now stronger, more prominent in shaping EU policy in Brussels to advocate for more research funding and are very well placed to support cross-societal activities and digestive health initiatives throughout the continent. With the help of our highly dedicated and professional team at the UEG office in Vienna, I am sure we will have another two successful years with challenges and achievements.
UEG President 2018-2019