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Beginner’s Guide to The Liver Meeting®

By Oren Fix, MD, MSc, FAASLD

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed the first time you attend The Liver Meeting®. The meeting program is packed with overlapping sessions and the convention center is packed with thousands of people. If you don’t know where to begin, you’re feeling anxious or lost, or you just want some great advice, you’ve come to the right place. After you read this, you’ll understand why The Liver Meeting® is not only the premiere place to learn about the latest advances in liver disease, but also the place to learn some of the basics, network with your peers and meet new people.

Plan Your Schedule in Advance

There is no single Liver Meeting® for everyone. The meeting is designed with a lot happening at once because attendees have varying interests. There will inevitably be simultaneous sessions that you want to attend and you’ll have to make choices. But if you can’t decide or don’t want to, look at the suggested schedule in Table 1. Consider this your starting point. If you don’t want to make any more choices, go with this schedule and I promise you won’t go wrong. For more tips, see Table 2.

Don’t Miss Trainee Day

This is a day of events programmed just for you (see Table 1). You’re going to want to go to these sessions.

Build time in your schedule to network and have fun

For many people, The Liver Meeting® is as much about creating connections and developing your network as it is about getting updates on hepatology research and clinical advances. As you make your way through the convention center crowd it may be hard to believe that the world of hepatology is actually relatively small. Networking at this meeting is critical to your career and should be nurtured. Make an effort to meet new people, including your peers and AASLD leaders. These are people you will see again and again at future meetings, on the interview trail and throughout your career. The connections you make at this meeting can open doors and lead to important opportunities, and can also lead to strong, lasting friendships. Take time to nurture these new relationships. You’re also going to want to take a break once in a while, meet up with friends or just relax and take it all in.

The following events are great opportunities for networking at The Liver Meeting®:

  • Trainee Reception: Friday, November 9, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Marriott Marquis Salon 10-15
  • Opening Reception: Saturday, November 10, 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm, Moscone Hall B
  • AASLD Members’ Reception: Sunday, November 11, 7:30 pm -11:00 pm, San Francisco City Hall

Table 1. The Ultimate Beginner’s Schedule for The Liver Meeting® 2018

Make sure you review the program so you know where each session is located.

Friday, November 9: Trainee Day

  • Clinical Research Workshop: Researching and Applying Precision Medicine in Hepatology
    9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Career Development Workshop
    2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Academic Debates
    4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
  • Trainee Reception
    Meet members of the AASLD Governing Board and other leaders and trainees at a reception just for you.
    7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Saturday, November 10

Sunday, November 11

  • Transplant Plenary I
    8:00 am – 9:30 am
  • Thomas E. Starzl Transplant Surgery State-of-the-Art Lecture: Liver Transplant for Hepatobiliary Neoplasia – Current Challenges and Opportunities
    Speaker: Julie Heimbach, MD, FAASLD
    9:30 am – 10:00 am
  • Transplant Plenary II
    10:30 am – 12:00 pm
  • General Hepatology Update
    2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Presidential Address
    3:45 pm – 4:00 pm
  • President’s Choice Lecture: Genomics, Microbiomics and Personalized Hepatology
    Speaker: Tom Hemming Karlsen, MD, PhD
    4:00 pm – 4:30 pm
  • AASLD Members' Reception
    San Francisco City Hall
    7:30 pm – 11:00 pm

Monday, November 12

  • Presidential Plenary (Clinical)
    8:00 am – 9:30 am
  • Award Presentations: (Distinguished Service, Achievement, and Clinician Educator/Mentor Awards)
    9:30 am – 10:00 am
  • Hyman J. Zimmerman Hepatotoxicity State-of-the-Art Lecture: DILI in Chronic Liver Disease – The Next Major Hurdle
    Speaker: Naga P. Chalasani, MD, FAASLD
    10:00 am – 10:30 am
  • Advances for Practitioners
    10:30 am – 12:30 pm
  • Emerging Trends Symposium: The Palliative Care Toolkit: Practical. Strategies for Integrating Palliative Care into the Management of Patients with Cirrhosis
    2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Diversity Workshop
    4:15 pm – 6:15 pm

Tuesday, November 13

  • Late-breaking Abstract Session II
    8:00 am – 9:00 am
  • Presidential Plenary (Translational Science and Genomics)
    9:00 am – 10:30 am
  • Leon Schiff State-of-the-Art Lecture: NASH – The Race for a Cure
    Speaker: Arun J. Sanyal, MD, FAASLD
    10:30 am – 11:00 am
  • Hepatitis Debrief
    Speaker: Jordan J. Feld, MD, MPH, FAASLD
    11:30 am – 12:00 pm
  • NAFLD Debrief
    Speaker: Mary E. Rinella, MD, FAASLD
    12:00 pm – 12:30 pm
  • Clinical Hepatology Debrief
    Speaker: K. Rajender Reddy, MD, FAASLD
    12:30 pm – 1:00 pm

Table 2. Tips for Your First Time at The Liver Meeting®

Start with the default schedule in the table above. You won’t go wrong if you attend most of these sessions.

If you have more time, review the program before the meeting and highlight your can’t-miss sessions. Create an itinerary for yourself before the meeting but don’t be afraid to deviate from it as you go.

  • The Transplant Plenaries and Presidential Plenaries are oral presentations of the best abstracts submitted.
  • The State-of-the-Art lectures are usually thought-provoking talks by speakers at the top of their field.
  • Parallel sessions feature 10-minute research presentations that run concurrently and are grouped by scientific topic. You can usually count on the parallel sessions running on time, so if you want to hear specific abstract presentations, feel free to come and go as you please. There is no obligation to stay for an entire parallel session just to hear one abstract of interest.
  • Poster sessions are organized by topic with different topics presented on different days, so plan in advance so you don’t miss a topic or poster that’s important to you. Poster presenters will be at their posters for a 1.5-hour window during each poster session (specific times are listed in the program).
  • Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are a great way to get more involved in AASLD and customize your AASLD experience to your interests. SIG programs are scheduled throughout The Liver Meeting® and feature 2-hour session on topics of interest to each SIG (see Table 3). You don’t need to be a member of a SIG to attend its program but consider signing up for a SIG so you can receive emails about their activities and eventually get involved in SIG leadership. You can sign up for as many SIGs as you want through your AASLD online membership profile.
  • Prioritize sessions held in the general session room, Moscone Hall D – there’s a reason those sessions have been scheduled in the biggest room.
  • Popular topics are usually assigned larger rooms but can still quickly become full. Get there early if there’s a talk you absolutely don’t want to miss.
  • Prioritize the larger format and more general sessions for your first meeting (see Table 1). Don’t try to go to a lot of the parallel sessions.
  • If you have a particular research interest, attend those abstract sessions early and introduce yourself to the moderators, or seek out related posters and introduce yourself to the presenters. People love to talk about their interests so don’t be too intimidated to engage the researchers about their projects.
  • Most sessions are taped and will be available on LiverLearning® -- AASLD's online learning portal -- after the meeting. If you miss something, or you just want to review what you’ve heard, you will most likely be able to find it later. All abstracts are available in the meeting app and the ePosters will also be available on LiverLearning® after the meeting.

Table 3. Special Interest Group (SIG) Programming

Friday, November 9

  • Cholestatic and Autoimmune Diseases SIG
    8:00 am - 10:00 am
  • Hepatitis C SIG
    8:00 am - 10:00 am
  • Pediatric Liver Disorders SIG
    8:00 am - 10:00 am
  • Portal Hypertension SIG
    10:30 am - 12:30 pm
  • Hepatotoxicity SIG
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease SIG
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • Acute on Chronic Liver Failure SIG
    4:15 pm - 6:15 pm
  • Liver Cell Biology in Hepatic Diseases SIG
    4:15 pm - 6:15 pm

Saturday, November 10

  • Liver Transplantation and Surgery SIG
    8:00 am - 3:30 pm

Sunday, November 11

  • Hepatitis B SIG
    8:00 am - 10:00 am
  • Alcoholic Liver Disease SIG and Public Health / Healthcare Delivery SIG (Joint Program)
    10:30 am - 12:30 pm
  • Hepatobiliary Neoplasia SIG
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • Hepatology Associates SIG
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Monday, November 12

  • Clinical Practice SIG
    4:15 pm - 6:15 pm