I am grateful that the ASGE recognized my concerns and supported the formation of the VOC task force. Many others in our society are equally or more deserving of this award. I am honored and humbled to be chosen for the 2023 ASGE Distinguished Service Award. I pledge to continue to support, collaborate, and respond to the call of the ASGE in the future.
The ASGE has been an integral part of my career development from the early formative days of my training. The educational offerings, starting with the Gastrointestinal Endoscopy journal to the multitude of live courses and the annual DDW meeting, were foundational for my early learning and introduced me to many thought leaders in therapeutic endoscopy. It has been a privilege to meet and collaborate with these outstanding physicians through the ASGE. These pioneers of gastrointestinal endoscopy are deserving of our gratitude.
I have been fortunate to be involved in the early progress of advanced therapeutic ERCP and EUS. I completed my internal medicine residency in 1991 at the Maine Medical Center program, where I met and collaborated with Dr. Douglas Howell and began an advanced therapeutic fellowship program in 1993. I completed my fellowship training at the Lahey Clinic under the skilled therapeutic hands of Dr. Frederick Heiss, and I remained on staff at the Lahey Clinic as the chief of endoscopy until 1999. I currently practice with the Aurora Medical Group in Green Bay Wisconsin, where I remain focused on therapeutic ERCP and interventional EUS.
The ASGE has given me an opportunity to work on many committees and other assignments. This has fostered an appreciation for the important role our society has in training, education, research and the monumental task of putting together an annual offering at DDW. Serving on many standing committees over the years, most recently on the Value of Colonoscopy (VOC) task force, has been a privilege and an honor.
The ASGE is a strong advocate for our members and for the patients that we care for, and I am grateful for the support our society provided when recent developments led me to believe that the public perceptions of colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening was being undermined by an aggressive direct consumer marketing campaign of a competing modality. In my view, this was an opportunity for the ASGE to not only advocate for our members but also to inform the public of the significant differences that exist between the various screening tests for colorectal cancer detection and prevention.
This task force has a very specific mission to develop and refine the messaging to consumers and to provide information and materials to physicians and their supporting staff members. The task force has also engaged with stakeholders in colorectal cancer by coordinating several focus groups and collaborating with corporate sponsors. I am grateful for the interest and support of all involved with these efforts. The VOC has had significant accomplishments to date with more initiatives to come. I would like to thank all the task force members, and especially Drs. Jonathon Cohen and Joseph Vicari who co-chair the task force, for their ongoing efforts and inspirations on behalf of the society and its’ members. I also want to thank ASGE Communications Director Andrea Lee for her outstanding administrative support.