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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. I wish someone had written a guide for beginners for my first Liver Meeting®, so I wrote one for you. After you read this, you’ll know where to begin and you’ll start to see The Liver Meeting® not only as 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 to have many things 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, take a look at the suggested schedule in Table 1. The best part of this schedule is there is nothing overlapping. 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 do Nothing

You will need to take a break once in a while, to network, meet up with friends or just relax and take in all you’re learning.

Build Your Network and Have Fun

It may be hard to believe at your first Liver Meeting®, but the world of hepatology is relatively small. Networking at this meeting is as critical to your career as learning about the latest research. 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 significant opportunities, and can also lead to strong, lasting friendships. Take time to nurture these new relationships.

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

  • Trainee Reception: Friday, October 20, 7– 9 pm, Marriott Marquis Rooms University of DC & Catholic University
  • Opening Reception: Saturday, October 21, 5–7:30 pm, Exhibit Hall D
  • AASLD Members’ Reception: Sunday, October 22, 7:30–11 pm, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Table 1. The Ultimate Resident/Fellow’s Schedule

Friday, October 20: Trainee Day

  • Clinical Research Workshop: The Art of Translation: From Bench to Bedside
    9 am-Noon
    Room 151    
  • Career Development Workshop
    Learn about options for hepatology training and career tracks. Obtain practical advice from experts about interviews and contract negotiation.
    3-5 pm
    Room 152    
  • Academic Debates
    This is not to be missed! Watch hepatology fellows debate controversial topics in a fun and stimulating session. Expert panelists will keep the debate teams on their toes, but this year the audience will decide the winners!
    5:15-7 pm
    Room 151
  • Trainee Reception
    Meet members of the AASLD Governing Board and other leaders and trainees at a reception just for you.
    7-9 pm
    Marriott Marquis Rooms: University of DC & Catholic University

Saturday, October 21

Sunday, October 22

Monday, October 23

Tuesday, October 24

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 or registration guide 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 on the fly.

  • The Liver Transplant Plenaries and Presidential Plenaries are oral presentations of the best abstracts submitted.
  • The various 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 do 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 and different topics are presented on different days, so plan in advance so you don’t miss a topic or poster that’s important to you. If you have a particular research interest, be sure to meet those with a shared interest and ask them about their project. Poster presenters will be at their posters for a 1.5-hour window during each poster session (specific times are listed in the program).
  • Prioritize sessions held in the main room -- 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.
  • For your first time, don’t try to go to a lot of the parallel sessions. Prioritize the larger format and more general sessions (see table above).
  • 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.
  • 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.