AGA has created 14 program tracks for DDW® 2015 that cover the spectrum of gastroenterology and hepatology interests.

AGA Institute Council Chair Richard M. Peek Jr., MD, AGAF, said that the program tracks have increased from three when they were introduced in 2013 and four in 2014. This year’s leap to 14 is a direct response to attendee surveys that revealed that the volume of meeting programming can be overwhelming, especially for first-time attendees. The new tracks target specific constituencies and should make the entire DDW program much easier to navigate.

“We’re very excited about the many ways that we can improve the experience of attendees at DDW, and expansion and crystallization of program tracks is one strategy that we will continue to focus on going forward,” said Dr. Peek, director of gastroenterology and the Mina Cobb Wallace professor of medicine and cancer biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

Attendees will find the tracks on the MyDDW online planner (, which will be available at the beginning of May. Each track will have session suggestions for every time slot from the beginning of the meeting on Saturday, May 16, through the last day on Tuesday, May 19. Some of busiest time slots will feature more than one option.

“Some tracks, by nature, are more focused than others, so there may be fewer options at a particular time. But whenever possible, we’ve tried to give people choices,” Dr. Peek said.

When AGA introduced program tracks at DDW 2013, there was a track for general practitioners, an IBD track and the AGA Trainee & Young GI track created by the AGA Education and Training Committee. Last year, the Council added a pediatrics track. After the meeting, the Council found that the tracks received more than 10,000 online visits from attendees planning their DDW itineraries.

This year’s expansion includes two separate IBD tracks — IBD: Basic and IBD: Clinical. Dr. Peek said IBD receives substantial interest from both attendees and presenters as the subject cuts across multiple constituencies. In fact, the Council’s Immunology, Microbiology & Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Section received more than 1,000 abstract submissions for DDW 2015.

Another new track focuses on the microbiome. Dr. Peek said the track would highlight AGA’s efforts in developing the AGA Institute for Microbiome Research.

“This has been an area of emphasis for the AGA because it touches on multiple topic domains that range from the clinical, such as the role of fecal microbiota transplantation in patients who have refractory C. difficile infections, to the molecular biology of how microbial communities affect GI health and disease,” Dr. Peek said.

In keeping with the DDW spirit of cooperation between the four societies, which includes an impetus to reduce session redundancy, AGA’s tracks include recommendations for sessions presented by all four societies.

“From our point of view, attendees want to hear the very best basic science, clinical investigation, integrative research and state-of-the-art lectures that address clinical problems that we, as gastroenterologists, deal with every day,” Dr. Peek said. “To limit that to a single society’s session offerings would defeat the purpose.”