Dear EASL-members, dear friends of EASL!
These are very exciting times for the field of hepatology and the European Association for the Study of the Liver in particular. EASL was founded almost 50 years ago as a society to promote and exchange science in the field of liver diseases. Until today this remains the most important task to EASL. We are happy to witness the exciting data presented at the International Liver Congress™ (ILC) and to be published in our Journal, the Journal of Hepatology, which can today be regarded as one of the two premier Journals in the field of liver disease. EASL is trying to promote research not only through presentations at the ILC but also through an ever increasing number of fellowships to young investigators including the Sheila Sherlock Fellowships, the Short Term Fellowships, and the Physician Scientist Fellowship, which allows clinicians to take some time off clinical duties and devote to research. And now for the first time EASL is funding research projects itself through the EASL database project, which will be starting in 2013.
Equally important are the EASL educational activities. This is highlighted by the enormous interest that our educational activities create at the ILC. But also our Special Conferences, our Monothematic Conferences, and our Schools of Hepatology are experiencing record breaking attendance year by year. EASL is especially proud to successfully have expanded our educational activities into new and up to date technologies: by developing the smart phone application iLiver and, most recently, by launching the most advanced online educational resource on the market, the “Liver Tree™”. Launched at the ILC 2013 in Amsterdam, it has created an enormous echo from the start.
And in times of increasing competition for young doctors in many fields of medicine, EASL is dedicated to help attract the brightest brains into the field of Hepatology by creating the Young Investigators forum, through launching the Mentorship program this year, and through the introduction of the newly developed young investigators Masterclass. EASL tries to provide our young and talented colleagues with the skills and the contacts they need to succeed in the highly competitive field of liver disease research.
EASL is also recognising that with shrinking resources and an ageing population in Europe, public health issues are becoming increasingly important. This is why EASL is now undertaking considerable efforts to work with the commission and the European Parliament not only for putting more emphasis on liver disease research but also for putting more attention to the rather neglected field of chronic liver disease. EASL established its public health concerted action group (CAG) and in 2013 we were happy to be able to create, together with some eminent members of the European Parliament, the “Friends of the Liver" Members of Parliament (MEP) group for a better outreach to Brussels. The EASL white paper on the burden of liver disease in Europe was a first milestone in our public health efforts, which was well received in Brussels and “HEPAMAP – the roadmap to liver diseases research in Europe” will be our next major project in this respect.
One of the goals for the next two years will be an increased outreach to our colleagues and societies in Eastern Europe, which have become very faithful supporters of EASL activities but now should be integrated more actively. EASL Schools of Hepatology in Eastern Europe are already well advanced in their planning stage, as is a Monothematic Conference on "Liver disease in resource limited settings". Creating a Russian version of the iLiver smart phone applications is high on the list of priorities and talks for the Russian version of the Journal of Hepatology are on-going, the successful Chinese version of the Journal of Hepatology serving as a model.
Last but not least, all these activities now don’t only have a virtual home on the EASL website (www.easl.eu) but now also a real home, made of bricks and mortar, the new EASL building, Home of European Hepatology in Rue Daubin in Geneva. Please come and visit EASL there should you ever be around.
Secretary General, EASL