AASLD recently reached out to Dr. Douglas Simonetto, a previous Emerging Liver Scholar (Class of 2012) and asked him to share his thoughts about the program, AASLD trainee member benefits, and AASLD in general. Here is that interview.
AASLD: How do programs like the AASLD Emerging Liver Scholars Resident Program help residents decide to specialize in hepatology?
Dr. Simonetto: Choosing a field to go into during residency can be very difficult and stressful. Residents usually have a short and limited exposure to multiple specialties over the course of 18 months and are then faced with an important decision to make. The AASLD Emerging Liver Scholars Resident Program gives the residents a “look inside” the field of hepatology that they would not otherwise experience until their fellowship years. The opportunity of attending The Liver Meeting® under the close guidance of a mentor is really unique. During the five days of the meeting the residents not only get exposed to the latest scientific research in the field but they also are able to interact with world leaders in hepatology.
AASLD: What types of benefits can trainee members take advantage of to further their knowledge and career in hepatology?
Dr. Simonetto: AASLD membership provides full access to its top journals in the field and Practice Guidelines that all of us refer to in our clinical practice. It also gives members the opportunity to participate in Special Interest Groups based on your clinical or research interests. This is another way of interacting with world experts and identifying career or research mentors outside our own institutions. Finally, members get online access to LiverLearning®, where trainees will find exceptional lectures recorded from all AASLD meetings.
AASLD: What one thing has AASLD been able to do for you to further your career in the field?
Dr. Simonetto: It is hard to name only one thing. I have been fortunate to get exposed to AASLD early in my training through the Emerging Liver Scholars Resident Program. I think the early exposure to the field not only helped consolidate my interest in hepatology but it also gave me the tools I will need as I transition into practice. Thanks to AASLD I have been able to establish collaborations at different institutions throughout the world still during my residency/fellowship training. These are exceptional opportunities that have and will continue to help advance my career in academic hepatology.
NOTE: Dr. Simonetto was recently awarded the AASLD Foundation Advanced/Transplant Hepatology Fellowship which provides funding support for GI fellows pursuing an additional, full-year of training focused on patient-care in advanced/transplant hepatology.