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December 2016

WGO President's Letter: December 2016

Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare to bid farewell to another year, we at the World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) and WGO Foundation would like to take this opportunity to reflect and share with you some of our endeavors from 2016.

Each year, our primary mandate is to serve as global guardians of digestive health. WGO upholds this mandate through devotion to our mission “to promote to the public and health care professionals alike a keen awareness of the worldwide prevalence and optimal care of digestive disorders.” With exquisite focus on particular endeavors WGO strives to train, educate, advocate and inform healthcare professionals, patients, and the general public on the practice of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and related disciplines worldwide with emphasis on low-resource regions.

I would like to take a moment to reflect on just some of the many endeavors embarked on this past year as they relate to the four pillars underlying all of our efforts.




Presenting the Ras Al Khaimah Train the Trainers UAE 2017 participants, faculty, and staff.Since 2001, Train the Trainers (TTT) workshops have brought together trainers in GI and related disciplines from across the globe in an intensive and highly interactive format designed to develop teaching and training skills. WGO was fortunate to partner with two member societies to host two exceptional TTT workshops in 2016. In September, WGO partnered with the Chinese Society of Gastroenterology (CSG) to host a one-day workshop in Suzhou, China which focused on Adult Education and Procedural Skills. In November, WGO partnered with the Emirates Gastroenterology & Hepatology Society (EGHS) to host a four-day TTT workshop in Ras Al-Khaimah, UAE. Our colleagues at the EGHS also acted as gracious co-hosts for Gastro 2016 in Abu Dhabi, UAE which allowed for participation and scientific discourse within the WGO community. Keep in mind, TTT workshops are open to individuals nominated by their WGO Member Societies or Member Societies can partner with WGO to host a Train the Trainers program in their country, in which case 50% of the participants come from the hosting society. We look forward to collaborating with the Rabat Training Center to host the first French language TTT, in Marrakech, Morocco in April 2017!  



WGO Pan-American Symposium

The WGO/OPGE Symposium was held in partnership with the Pan-American Gastroenterological Association (OPGE) during the Pan American Digestive Disease Week that took place in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia from September 10-13, 2016. I was honored to work with the then President of the OPGE, Dr. Luis Carlos Sabbagh (OPGE) on this symposium featuring state of the art lectures in the following areas: treatment of upper GI bleeding, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), probiotics, hepatitis C and optimal GI practice in high and low resource environments. It was an honor to welcome Professor Henry Cohen, WGO Past President and the recipient of the WGO Distinguished Global Lecture, to give his talk on Project ECHO: is it possible to democratize health care?

Dr. Luis Carlos Sabbagh, Dr. David Bjorkman, Dr. Henry Cohen, Dr. Miguel Angel Valdovinos, Dr. Ronnie Fass


WGO Guidelines and Cascades

Through our Guidelines and Cascades, WGO acts as an educational proponent to close the gap between scientific progress and medical practice. In 2016, WGO updated three guidelines, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and Celiac Disease, and published one new guideline, Global Perspective on Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). We look forward to the release of the Diet and the Gut guideline in 2017.


World Digestive Health Day 2017 - LogoAnnually on 29 May, WGO celebrates World Digestive Health Day (WDHD), a worldwide public health advocacy campaign to create global awareness of digestive health. Through the WDHD campaign, WGO aims to put into perspective several aspects related to the annual theme, from prevalence to diagnosis, prevention and management. In 2016, WGO took a closer look at “Diet and the Gut.” An array of educational tools and resources were developed around Diet and the Gut Health and made available on the WGO website. In addition, numerous WGO members, organizational sponsors and partners, as well as the general public, organized 36 WDHD 2016 events in over 20 countries to support and increase awareness of the campaign. Join WGO for WDHD 2017 in bringing awareness to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – Navigating Evolving Therapies in an Evolving Disease. 



Get Social With WGO - Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!This year brought about a new way for WGO to communicate with all of our constituents. WGO launched accounts on Facebook and Twitter in May of this year, for both the WGO and WGO Foundation and WDHD. Our pages focus on the latest news and information in the world of gastroenterology, hepatology and other related disciplines, while also highlighting the wonderful events, tools and resources coming out of the WDHD campaign. Our presence on social media has allowed us to enhance and strengthen our relationship with Member Societies, regional affiliate organizations, healthcare professionals, patients, and the general public through real-time, direct communication.

We invite you to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to join our social network and stay current with WGO, WGOF, and WDHD in 2017!

World Gastroenterology Organisation
World Gastroenterology Organisation/ WGO Foundation - Facebook Page   World Gastroenterology Organisation/ WGO Foundation - Twitter Page

World Digestive Health Day (WDHD)
World Digestive Health Day - Facebook Page   World Digestive Health Day  - Twitter Page


As we look ahead to 2017, we wish to share with you some of the exciting initiatives coming from WGO next year!


In partnership with our member societies the WGO global community comes together biannually at the World Congress of Gastroenterology to share viewpoints and highlight achievements in GI, liver, and related disciplines. Save the date now for the next World Congress at ACG 2017 which will take place in Orlando, Florida, USA in partnership with the American College of Gastroenterology. Mark your calendar to join us 13-18 October 2017!


In partnership with the WGO Rabat Training Center, WGO will convene the first French-language TTT next year in Marrakesh, Morocco, 26-29 April 2017. Member Societies will shortly receive the call for nomination of applicants for the 2017 program.

WGO is fortunate to have the commitment and expertise of its Member Societies, Regional Affiliate Organizations, the Governing Council, the Chairs and Members of the WGO Committees and Interest Groups, and all of our allies around the globe working with us to carry out our endeavors each year. It is incredibly rewarding to work with a group of colleagues dedicating countless hours and energy to WGO with a passion for serving as global guardians of digestive health. To all, thank you for your efforts and continued support in 2016 and beyond.

Best wishes to you and your family for a joyful holiday season and a happy New Year!



David Bjorkman
David Bjorkman, MD, MSPH SM
President, World Gastroenterology Organisation


SAVE THE DATE: World Congress of Gastroenterology 2017

To learn more, please visit
Get Social with WGO

World Congress of Gastroenterology 2017



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