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24 DECEMBER 2019

ALF Helps Bridge Basic Science and Liver Disease

The American Liver Foundation has long been involved in preparing the next generation of medical providers to recognize and treat liver disease. Why? Dr. Irwin M. Arias, for whom a symposium held last month in Boston is named, remarked on this year’s Symposium: “Perhaps the biggest problem in medicine today is the huge gap between the incredible and continuing advances in biologic and engineering science and their application to human disease…including the liver. Brilliant young biomedical scientists have little communication with physician scientists who, in turn, have less and less knowledge of advancing science.” Two ALF Divisions recently presented three distinct programs dedicated to bridging this gap.

Dr. Irwin M. Arias
Dr. Irwin M. Arias

At “Bridging Basic Science and Liver Disease: 29th Annual Irwin M. Arias Symposium,” nearly 200 enthusiastic young scientists interested in liver function and disease attended and heard twelve brilliant presentations by academic and industry scientists and engineers. It was a glimpse into the medicine of the future with emphasis on the liver. The event, on November 13th, was co-hosted by Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dr. Wolfram Goessling of Massachusetts General Hospital.

The Mid-Atlantic Division held its inaugural “First Year Gastroenterology Fellows: Course in Hepatology” on November 20th at Lankenau Medical Center, just outside Philadelphia. Ivory Allison, the Executive Director of ALF’s Mid-Atlantic Division, said the course presented, “Everything a first year fellow needs to know about Hepatology. We had for 40 fellows attend the program, which started with a networking dinner, followed by the program/course.” The course co-directors were Dr. Scott Fink, Chief of Hepatology at Lankenau Medical Center, Main Line Health and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, and Dr. Steven Solga, Transplant Hepatology Program Director and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.

Finally, the New England Division educated 20 attendees, comprised of physicians, registered nurses, nurse practitioners and licensed alcohol and drug counselors, about Liver Disease in Primary Care Practice. The Boston, MA program, held on December 9th, offered six presentations and Continuing Medical Education credits. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health cooperated in outreach.

Lindsay Ventura, Community Outreach and Education Manager of the New England Division, spoke for everyone at ALF. “In an effort to successfully meet the needs of our community, I seek to utilize a multi-pronged approach to our educational offering. We identify needs within our community and offer our community education programs to the general public and at-risk populations to fill those needs while further reinforcing our message by educating professionals involved in the care of our community and patient populations. The ALF is unique in our ability to utilize this comprehensive approach. We advocate for policy change, provide accessible educational materials, ensure proper patient support, educate the community as a whole, develop accessible in-person patient education, and improve patient outcomes by offering essential professional education. Through this multi-pronged approach, we are able to influence change, and that is a powerful thing.”

NealonTom Nealon
President & CEO
American Liver Foundation

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