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01 APRIL 2019

ALF Launches Academic Debates in Chicago and New York

In an interesting juxtaposition, this month two of the American Liver Foundation’s Divisions held Academic Debates less than a week apart—the Great Lakes Division held their 16th annual debate and the Greater New York Division held their firstRobert S. Brown, MD, MPH (New-York Presbyterian Hospital), a member of the Greater New York Division Medical Advisory Committee moderated both.

Debate questions are ethical in nature; there is no right or wrong answer.  They are designed to stimulate higher thinking about significant issues in liver diseases.  The debaters are judged on their presentations, the ability to think on their feet, and the research they have done to substantiate their argument.

On March 7th, three teams of two fellows and a mentor each joined an audience of 250 to debate three issues.  Northwestern University and University of Chicago teams considered whether patients with acute alcoholic hepatitis should be considered for liver transplantation.  The University of Iowa and Cook County Hospital teams took positions on whether patients with immune tolerant Hepatitis B should be treated.  Finally, the University of Illinois and Loyola University teams debated whether Transcatheter Arterial Chemoembolization (TACE) or Transarterial Radio-embolization (TARE) is preferable in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Six days later, Dr. Brown led a second set of debates, with two teams participating and 60 guests in attendance–physicians, nurses, and fellows from the participating schools, as well as physicians from the Division MAC.  Mount Sinai Hospital and NYU Langone Medical Center teams argued the question of whether patients with acute alcoholic hepatitis should be considered for liver transplantation.  Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital teams debated whether the HCV elimination goal is achievable by 2030.

“I had the pleasure of moderating the debates for the Great Lakes Region and the First Annual New York debates this week,” said Dr. Brown.  “It was inspiring to see the quality of the fellows’ presentations and the work their mentors put in to prepare them in both venues and the degree of audience participation and engagement reflected it.  The Great Lakes has set a high bar both in terms of fundraising and attendance, but New York is likely to catch up fast!  A great job by all—the staff, the audience, and the participants—and [it was] an honor to be a part of it.”

Tom Nealon
President & CEO
American Liver Foundation

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