Looking Back, Looking Forward

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    As I devolve into Presidential dust, I have a few thoughts on my year, the ACG Annual Scientific Meeting, and the future.

     

    As I discussed in my Presidential address in Honolulu last week, the past year was highlighted by several balls out of right, left, and center field.  The baseball image may be a propos given the Cubs’ rapid demise in the NLCS.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, the last time the ACG Annual Meeting was in Hawaii, the White Sox won the pennant.

     

    One of the two main issues dominating the College’s agenda for the year has been the revolt against ABIM’s onerous, costly, and duplicative MOC requisites that are currently being re-negotiated.  In my Presidential address, I outlined the College’s key responses as well as some guiding principles, including: the need  for 1) a simpler, less intrusive, and less expensive process to maintain our competencies; 2) to end the high stakes, every 10 year exam; and 3) to eliminate closed book assessments as they do not represent the current realities of medicine.

     

    The second issue is our continued fights against proposed reductions in colonoscopy reimbursement under Medicare and in favor of the SCREEN Act (S.1079/ H.R.2035).   Along these lines, Dr. Irving Pike in his Emily Couric Memorial Lecture provided evidence that with the use of GIQuIC , adenoma detection rates have continued to improve, implicating that increasing numbers of lives will be saved by preventing colon cancer.

     

    Having nominated the named lecturers at our Annual Meeting, I was proud to listen to extraordinary discussions by William Chey and David Johnson on the impact of food and sleep respectively on GI health and disease.  Brennan Speigel’s lecture on future trends was spectacular.  I look forward to great things from him and from his Co-Editor-in-Chief Brian Lacy as they take on the stewardship of the Red Journal.

     

    Ikuo Hirano’s David Y. Graham Lecture on eosinophilic esophagitis was another tour de force.  Irving Pike’s Emily Couric Memorial Lecture brought everyone up to speed on GIQuiC which, now, at more than 2 million colonoscopies registered, has the power to demonstrate quality improvement by virtue of increasing adenoma detection rates.  What an outstanding cast of named lecutres!

     

    Looking forward, I have extreme confidence in Ken DeVault’s presidential year.  Having worked with Ken and the executive committee (Carol Burke, Irving Pike, Susie Kane and Mark Pochapin), I know that the transition will go smoothly.  Brad Stillman and the executive staff will make certain to maintain forward momentum for the College.  I very much look forward to improvements in the ACG Website and the Universe, in particular.  The latter will benefit from a revised focus towards certification and maintenance of “competencies.”

     

    Finally, I believe it’s important for our membership that I reiterate ACG’s strategic plan and the vision of the College: “to be the preeminent professional organization that champions the evolving needs of clinicians in the delivery of high quality, evidence-based, and compassionate health care to gastroenterology patients,” and our mission: “to advance world-class care for patients with gastrointestinal disorders through excellence, innovation and advocacy in the areas of:  scientific investigation, education, prevention and treatment.”  Simply stated, ACG exists “to advance gastroenterology and improve patient care.

     

    It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as ACG president over the past year.  The College is in great shape and will continue to shape the future of our field.

     

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