President's Welcome

Welcome to 2020.  I believe that this will be a great year for the IHPBA as we worked hard in 2019 to grow and enhance many of the established activities of the organization.  The World Congress, our premier event, will be hosted by the ANZHPBA in Melbourne in September 2020, and a huge effort has been made to ensure that this will again be a successful event.  The invited program is complete and will cover a large area of HPB and transplant medicine.  There is an exciting and innovative pre-congress program aimed at our younger colleagues.  We recognise that Australia seems far away but we have done an extensive analysis, and have concluded that the complete congress package including travel, accommodation and registration costs will be similar to other world congresses.  We look forward to the opportunity to enjoy the Australasian hospitality and even an opportunity to visit other parts of Australia and New Zealand.

Recently the social media response to the list of speakers drew our attention to how the IHPBA is addressing the issue of diversity. For many years, IHPBA has focused on the equitable distribution of speakers between the three regions.  We now recognise that diversity and gender equity is not currently appropriate and while we have started to address this, many of our members believe we have not done enough.  We have heard this call, and will ensure that diversity is a key focus of our association going forward.

We have also been working hard to increase our financial support for junior members and those from low income countries to attend the World Congress.  This newsletter will highlight how these travel grants can be accessed.  We would like to increase the availability of grants even further by working together with the chapter leaderships to access local funding to assist junior members to attend the Melbourne meeting.  The 2020 World Congress will see the launch of our Early Career Surgeons group. We believe that this will increase the influence of our younger members on meeting the aims and objectives of the IHPBA.  We have sent out a call for self-nominations for this committee and any of our other established committees and I hope that we will receive as many responses to this as we did in 2018.

Our membership numbers continue to show a growing trend.  IHPBA remains the dominant voice in HPB medicine and we believe that as an association, we can ensure that the science, training and service to HPB medicine is enhanced and developed.  We continue to work with the regional associations to grow the number of chapters.  In the past 24 months, we have welcomed nine new chapters to the IHPBA and regional Associations, and  there are advanced plans for at least three new chapters.  I remind you that we no longer use the term national chapters and that we encourage all regional groupings to develop a chapter and support the development of multidisciplinary chapters.

Together with the regional associations, we ensure that the IHPBA leadership is present at new chapter launches and will support the chapters in their early development through outreach, education and leadership development.  It is important that the regional associations' knowledge of the needs of the chapters and the resources of the IHPBA are combined to strengthen HPB medicine globally.  The global map shown in the Secretary General’s report demonstrates our global coverage and highlights those regions of the world were we still need to develop HPB medicine and support access to surgical care.

The Research Committee has supported the development of three global registries.  The gallbladder cancer registry has made excellent progress and the enrolled numbers continue to grow.  The IMIPS initiative is rapidly developing and we hope that you will respond to calls to enrol your patients.  The non-colorectal hepatic metastases (including endocrine) registry is at an earlier stage, but development is ongoing.  We are grateful to the IHPBA Foundation for their support of these endeavours.

Training has always been one of our key areas of focus and is the reason for the huge efforts to ensure that the myHPB platform remains up to date and relevant. The Education and Training Committee continues to develop new content and to support innovations in education and training.  To that end, they are already piloting the e-logbook and we hope this will become a significant tool to standardise HPB training outcomes, as well as an additional member benefit.  

Our journal HPB under the new Editor-in Chief Steve Wigmore remains very well supported with increasing submissions of some very new exciting science.

I do however have to end on a sad note and to acknowledge the passing of Xavier Rogiers, the Secretary General of the E-AHPBA.  His contribution to HPB medicine especially in the area of training and education will be his legacy.  We have sent our condolences to his family.

I hope that the festive season brought some well-deserved rest to you and that 2020 is an exciting and successful year for each one of you.

Martin Smith 
IHPBA President