ASGE President's Blog

  • National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (NCRCAM)

    By Karen L. Woods, MD, FASGE | Mar 09, 2018

    This is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (NCRCAM), and ASGE is an active participant in this campaign to raise awareness about the importance of CRC screening. I know that, as busy physicians and practice managers, you may not make a habit of becoming involved in public awareness campaigns. And that’s OK, because ASGE is making a great splash on behalf of all of our members!
    We have a radio news release about the importance of CRC screening and the latest recommendations. The spot is airing all over the country this month on the following programs: Radio Health Journal, Viewpoints, and La Red (in Spanish).
    ASGE also has an active social media campaign on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, helping providers and patients alike to find our great resources about CRC screening.  We’re only partway through the month, and we’ve already exceeded our social media reach from all of the 2017 campaign.

    • If you would like to participate, there are a few easy things that you can still do to recognize the campaign during March.
    • If you’re on social media, look for American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Check out the #ColonoscopyIsEasier posts, and share the ones that you like best.
    • Put a link from your own practice website to the ASGE patient website:
    • Print out one of the NCRCAM posters that can be downloaded for free:
      “Colorectal cancer is preventable…treatable…beatable!  Free Poster
         “Prep, Scope, Live!” Free Poster

    Also, please check out this terrific TED-Ed animation produced by two of our members at Columbia University Medical Center, and endorsed by ASGE. I hope you’ll find a way to make use of it in presentations to the community at any time of the year.

    ASGE also is a proud member of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable. To learn more about the Roundtable’s work, visit

    Thank you for all that you do throughout the year to help patients understand the importance of screening!

  • ASGE Committee Service – A Look Behind the Scenes

    By Karen L. Woods, MD, FASGE | Sep 28, 2017

    committee meeting 1It is hard to believe the fall season is upon us and we are already calling for volunteers for 2018 ASGE committee service.  The society is highly dependent on its committees to guide lobbying efforts, education, practice guidelines and other offerings to members and patients, and we hope you will consider offering your time and expertise to ASGE.  

    An email was sent last week by our President-elect, Dr. Steve Edmundowicz, with a link to an online application inviting you to tell us about yourself and which committees you would like to serve. Having spent many hours appointing committee members last year, I want to offer some advice to those who are moved to serve and would like to shed some light on the selection process.  

    ASGE has 20 committees dedicated to education, improving patient care, practice management and reimbursement/lobbying efforts. We are fortunate each year to have more volunteers wanting to be involved in the committee structure than we have positions available; unfortunately, that means that not everyone who applies will be selected.  Nevertheless, persistence often pays off, so if you have applied previously and have not been selected, please reapply.  

    committee meeting 2Most committees meet face to face, once or twice yearly, with conference calls as needed between meetings.  The time commitment outside direct meetings and calls varies by committee, and may include authorship of society documents or educational publications for members and patients.  Committee terms are typically for up to three years, and most committees have approximately 10 to 15 members, with one-third of the members rotating off annually.

    The Annual Scientific Program Committee is an exception. It consists of 15 subgroups [ERCP, EUS, Clinical Practice, Clinical Practice (Quality Measures and Improvement), Lower GI, Upper GI (Small Bowel Imaging), Upper GI (Non-enteroscopy), Esophagus, New Technology, and Bariatrics] of four to six members each that review abstracts for inclusion at DDW. (Explain your expertise in the additional comments section of the application form to allow your placement into the proper subject area.  The chair and sub-chair of each subgroup attend the DDW planning committee. The remainder of the committee’s work is done remotely.   In your final year of service, you will become chair of your subject subgroup.

    Each year, the President-elect is charged with filling the committee openings, and while there is individual latitude, we carefully consider the importance of diversity in the process.  This year, the process is simplified into an online application, and includes an option to declare information about your gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. It is not possible for the President-elect to have personal knowledge of most applicants, so support for your application from a superior or an ASGE member already active in service is extremely helpful for us to understand you and your potential, but is not required to be considered for appointment.   

    While the selection process is not a secret, it is not well understood by the members at large. I hope this helps and allows you to have a better understanding of what committee service entails, and that you will feel more confident about your decision to apply for future service.  Please feel free to contact me or James Janssen, ASGE Governance Manager, if you have further questions about the process or where you might best serve.

    One parting thought:  As important as our work is, for some of you the topmost concern may be the safety of your families and homes. As I noted in my last blog post, the hearts and thoughts of ASGE leadership are with all of our members who are suffering as a result of recent hurricanes, floods, wildfires and earthquakes. As an organization, we have contributed to disaster relief efforts. For those who are back to work after enduring one of these events, we encourage you to check this web page for important and helpful information:  Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria Disaster Relief.

  • Hurricane Harvey

    By Karen L. Woods, MD, FASGE | Aug 31, 2017

    Dear ASGE friends,

    IMG_3337Welcome to my first blog as ASGE President.  I never thought my first communication as a “blogger” would be about Hurricane Harvey and the devastation it has brought to Texas and my home town Houston.  This has been a trying and emotional time, yet the people of Texas have banded together and have extended helping hands to those in need. #TexasStrong Personally, I was fortunate to have a “near miss” with house flooding and only sustained water in my garage.  I know many who were not so lucky.  I have been touched by the outpouring of concern from friends across the country.  My hospital, Houston Methodist, sustained severe damage during Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001, (Texas Medical Center suffered $2 billion in damages in 2001), and as a result, installed submarine doors to be closed in the event of impending flooding, and they were effective this time around. Other hospitals, nursing homes and extended stay facilities for families receiving health care in Houston were not so fortunate and many were urgently evacuated, much of which has been nationally broadcast.  Many families have had a complete loss of their homes and belongings.  Damage estimates vary, but may be as high as $160 billion when all is said and done.

    From a close friend here from Missouri having treatment at MD Anderson Hospital:

    “We were told this AM that we had to evacuate by boat.  We were picked up and rode a boat for two miles down a flooded road, cold, windy and raining hard. Dropped off at a locked church and then a truck picked us up and took us to another church with food, drinks, blankets etc.  Volunteers offered to take us to their home, they don’t even know us! You never know from one day to another just how fast your life can change. I just know God will always be with us.”

    Natural disasters are tragic, yet often result in heroic actions and bring out the best in others as we reach out to help those less fortunate and in need.  I am proud to be associated with a society and group of physicians dedicated to helping others and willing to assist Texas in what is going to be a very long, costly and difficult recovery.  

    ASGE continues to send its support and encouragement to our members and other friends in the region impacted by Harvey. Though our hearts are heavy with stories of loss, we are hearing uplifting stories about so many--including ASGE members -- who have been helping with evacuation and recovery efforts. We also know that some of our members have suffered substantial losses. We are concerned for our patients as well.

    The society has made a donation to the American Red Cross on behalf of our many Texas members. There are many ways and places to donate to help the many thousands of people affected. Here is one curated list.  

    This story is not over, but I am confident that the strong hands and hearts of people like you will help ease the ongoing struggle until we are fully recovered. Thanks to all for your help and concern. 

    Please feel free to send your thoughts to

    See photos:


    Longtime ASGE member and faculty Waqar Qureshi, MD, FASGE, and his family assisted in the evacuation efforts via kayak and pickup truck.


    Residents in some areas have been able to begin the cleanup effort.



    Karen's street


    Taken from Dr Qureshi’s truck