ASGE President's Blog

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ASGE President John Vargo talks about his focus on trainees

An Opportunity for Committee Service

John Vargo Presidential Message

In his first video message to the ASGE membership, ASGE President John Vargo hits some highlights of work currently going on at the society, upcoming events, ongoing collaborations and more.
  • Looking forward to seeing you at DDW!

    By Karen L. Woods, MD, FASGE | May 30, 2018
    To all ASGE members heading to DDW, I look forward to seeing you in Washington, DC! I want to take this opportunity to call out a few highlights of the meeting for you.
    Don’t miss the Presidential Plenary on Saturday morning from 9:00 to 11:30 am. It begins with coffee and doughnuts to start your day off on a happy note, and it continues with a rapid succession of excellent research presentations, endowed lectures and the inauguration of our next president.
    For the Annual Postgraduate Course, we will once again feature the two half-day format on Sunday and Monday. Presentations will feature not only the latest in procedure-based information, but also will offer a potpourri of well-established best practices.
    The Hands-on Workshops on Saturday through Tuesday are not to be missed, featuring ESD, suturing and closures, bariatric therapies and more.
    On Tuesday, enjoy the popular World Cup of Endoscopy and the Video Plenary, as well as numerous international sessions.
    Throughout the conference, I look forward to your enjoyment of the ASGE Learning Center, a dynamic and interactive resource. This year’s highlight is a demo of the new online learning platform, GI Leap. You can also learn about the new Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Self-Assessment Program IX (GESAP IX), your premier online self-assessment program. We also have many interesting presentations scheduled for our Theater and Hand-On Learning areas. Stop by for learning, lounging, recharging and CME.
    For many of you, there will be Special Interest Group meetings, LEAD, the fellows networking session and other special events that are planned for your education and enjoyment.
    Above all, I look forward (as I’m sure you do) to meeting up with friends and colleagues, networking and sharing experiences. Safe travels and we’ll see you in DC!
  • Leap into the future . . . Learn, Explore and Advance your Practice!

    By Karen L. Woods, MD, FASGE | May 24, 2018


    GILeapLogo1bI am excited to let you know about a new learning platform ASGE recently launched called GI Leap. It’s no surprise to anyone that the Internet has transformed the way we do things, including how we learn. ASGE has built a solid reputation as being a lead provider of CME and hands-on learning opportunities in GI. And, like other great learning institutions, we must evolve our formats to meet the needs of modern-day learners. Hence, GI Leap (Leap = Learn. Explore. Advance Practice).

    What I love about the GI Leap interface is that it’s intuitive and fast. You can search for resources by disease state, format, type of procedure, and even by price. Whether you’re looking for something as robust as a certificate program in lower EMR or the GESAP self-assessment program, or you just need a quick video overview of a technique, GI Leap is the perfect self-service starting point.

    The number and quality of learning opportunities available on GI Leap is incredible. And most importantly, the experience is fast, efficient and fully mobile.   

    Here is what I would say are the main benefits for the busy GI practitioner (like me!).

    GI Leap . . .

      brings ASGE’s high-quality education out to you

      offers a wide range of topics and formats, with easy navigation and search tools

      provides simple, fast and self-service access to content

      tracks and documents your activities (critical for CME and MOC purposes!) in one transcript

      is fully mobile and available 24/7

    And all of this will be available in an App version very soon. I’m definitely looking forward to that!

    Extending Beyond Our Walls

    In 2013, the Society opened the doors to the new ASGE Institute for Training and Technology, a world-class training center and the global home for endoscopy. Through GI Leap, ASGE extends that unparalleled learning experience “Beyond its Walls” and brings the best remote opportunities to learners throughout the world. In addition, some of the available programs combine online self-study with in-person hands-on training, offering an incredibly rich blended learning opportunity. 

    GI Leap will continue to improve and evolve to meet the needs of GI practitioners in a rapidly changing healthcare and technology environment.  I’m excited to see how GI Leap transforms learning in GI throughout the world.  Many thanks to all who contributed to the ASGE “Beyond Our Walls” campaign, which supported GI Leap development.

    Check out GI Leap today at!

  • Responding to what patients see in the media

    By Karen L. Woods, MD, FASGE | May 21, 2018
    Every medical specialty has issues that tend to play out in the media or in advertising from time to time. While those of us who are working in the field every day understand the nuances of this information, it may not be easy for patients to sort out what they see in news reports or product ads.
    Recently, ASGE has responded to two such situations.
    First, we’ve seen an aggressive advertising campaign directed to patients promoting Cologuard. Perhaps you’ve seen the TV and print ads as well as digital marketing popping up on targeted people’s social media feeds, etc.  While we have nothing against Cologuard or the cute little “test guy” who lets everyone know how easy it is to be screened from your own bathroom, we do worry that the public will misunderstand the true difference between various tests. The ads state that the product is for people at average risk, but do most people in the target demographic have a good understanding of what that means?
    ASGE_ColorectalScreening_PosterCertainly ASGE has a great deal of good patient information about screening. But in response to this ad campaign, we felt that our members could really use a new visual tool to help explain the recent screening recommendations and rankings to patients as well as to primary care providers who recommend the tests. We developed a new poster [link] that you can pick up at DDW to share within your network, and we also hope you’ll print it or use it as a digital asset for your website or social media. We hope you find it useful, and please let us know what else is needed.
    Our second recent issue arose when the LA Times and Kaiser Health News published a story based on a study by Ofstead et al, which found bacteria remaining on scopes (GI and other) that had been cleaned. This was a small study of a few sites that, according to the report, were not following cleaning protocol.
    It’s important for patients to understand that this should not be taken to mean that such situations are common. Indeed, I believe the vast majority of facilities have raised the bar in the wake of all of the attention devoted in recent years to the importance of vigilance in reprocessing.  At the same time, we want patients to be able to ask how the facility where they’re being tested or treated ensures the cleanliness of its scopes. And we want our members to have the information they need to answer those questions meaningfully and satisfactorily.
    We developed a rapid response to the article. While we do not believe that this study deserves an overabundance of attention, the story serves as a reminder that we can never let down our guard on infection control.  
    At ASGE, we know that part of our job is to represent the perspective of our members around hot topics, and to respond to information (and misinformation) in ways that best help our patients. We will continue to monitor GI issues in the media, and to respond appropriately.