Commitment. Engagement. Support.
All have played vital roles in the success of AASLD and its members in the past year, says AASLD CEO Matthew D’Uva, FASAE, CAE. As he reflects on his inaugural year as the association’s chief executive, D’Uva is proud of the way the community came together in the face of a new global health crisis, maintained its dedication to the prevention and cure of liver diseases, and reaffirmed the value of diverse perspectives. He looks to the future with optimism and pride.
D’Uva came to the organization in January 2020 and was still getting acclimated to his new role when the first wave of COVID-19 hit the United States. As basic and clinical understanding of this new disease evolved, he witnessed the best of AASLD — as scientists, as physicians, and as humanitarians.
Members authored clinical insight papers, hosted webinars, worked with global sister societies, and reviewed articles related to COVID-19. Many also participated in relief efforts.
“There were probably 80 people who contributed to AASLD’s ability to be there for members when we knew very little about the disease and how it would affect the liver,” D’Uva said. “Scientists, researchers, clinicians, nurse practitioners — the entire community from diverse backgrounds — came together in a profound way.”
Amid what many have referred to as the “new normal” of life during the pandemic, the urgency of AASLD’s core mission persisted.
“Work is continuing amid the pandemic,” D’Uva said. “While the important COVID-related work was proceeding, AASLD and members continued work on significant projects like NASH, NAFLD, hepatitis elimination, hosting a successful virtual liver meeting and publishing new guidelines.”
AASLD remains committed to supporting members and providing opportunities for their voices to be heard. The Inclusion and Diversity Committee and the Women’s Initiative Committee are just two of AASLD’s initiatives to ensure diverse viewpoints are represented within the organization.
“What I’ve learned is that AASLD offers an amazing amount of resources for our members,” D’Uva said. And when the pandemic put large in-person gatherings on hold, AASLD made the pivot to delivering resources in a virtual meeting space with The Liver Meeting Digital Experience® (TLMdX) last November; regular webinars, with more scheduled for this spring, summer, and beyond; and a growing digital library through LiverLearning.
“Whether it’s patient resources or practice, we commit to keep these resources relevant and updated so clinicians have guidance on how to treat patients,” the CEO said.
A family of journals covers the full spectrum of hepatology, in print and digital formats, including AASLD’s flagship journals, Hepatology and Liver Transplantation, and open access journals Clinical Liver Disease (CLD) and Hepatology Communications. AASLD’s support extends to clinicians, clinical researchers, basic scientists, and the patients they ultimately serve.
“True engagement with patients is making our organization better,” D’Uva said. By learning firsthand about the patient experience at all stages of liver health and liver disease, hepatologists gain a better understanding of health disparities and how to confront them.
“AASLD is not afraid to engage and advocate for our members, for our patients, and for our community everywhere we can,” D’Uva said. “We’re trying everything we can to represent hepatology so it’s part of important conversations.” That includes dialogue and collaboration with sister societies, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and American Board of Surgery (ABS), as well as making the case to federal agencies and legislators for increased funding and resources for disease elimination.
“We have worked alongside members to advance the field of hepatology and make the science and care stronger through resources for members and the broader community,” D’Uva said. “We look forward to your continued membership in the year ahead. Your commitment to renew in 2021 and donations to the foundation make a difference in the work we’re doing together to prevent and cure liver disease.”