Grace H. Elta, MD, AGAF, FASGE

By DDW Council Chair 
Grace H. Elta, MD, AGAF, FASGE

Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) is the most comprehensive GI meeting in the world. It features top-tier research and high-quality sessions from four societies, making it the best place for gastroenterologists to find cutting-edge science and clinical updates. Not only will you discover monumental developments that are on the horizon in science and medicine, you’ll acquire practical skills and knowledge that can be applied immediately. DDW is truly an international meeting that leads to patient care improvement around the globe.

Those are among the many reasons we are thrilled to welcome you to DDW 2018 in Washington, D.C., where you will network with renowned leaders from across the industry.

Each year we strive to make the meeting fresh, informational and easy to navigate. DDW planners have worked hard this year to add initiatives and features, including expanding our educational tracks. We started organizing all of DDW’s programming into color-coded tracks two years ago to help streamline the attendee experience, and we continue to refine those tracks to better accommodate attendees’ interests. This year we split the Health Care Delivery, Disparities and Practice Management track into two tracks and added the secondary Clinical Practice track, increasing the number of tracks to 17. The easiest way to use the tracks is to search via the DDW Mobile App.

We also have focused on making it easier for attendees to locate companies in the Exhibit Hall by updating the exhibitor product categories to better reflect current GI terminology and better align the categories with exhibitors’ products. While you’re in the Exhibit Hall, don’t miss lunch at Café DDW, which features a variety of food trucks from across the D.C. metro area.

We love seeing attendees tweet what they learn using the hashtag #DDW18, and I encourage everyone to join the conversation online. Previously we have not allowed photography during sessions, but in a concession to social media and the ubiquity of cell phones, we have implemented a “your data, your choice” photo policy. Photography is now allowed at DDW; however, presenters and poster authors can prohibit photography by displaying a camera icon with a red line through it. If you see that icon, it means no photography is allowed, and we ask that you respect the science and abide by the presenters’ decisions.

We’re excited to add a new session format, Roundtable with Experts, on Sunday and Monday. Attendees can engage experts from each society in one-on-one conversations, network with others and discuss what they learn in a more intimate setting.

We hope you’ll help us recognize outstanding early career researchers on Saturday at the DDW Basic Science Travel Awards Quick Shots Session and Reception, and also attend Sunday’s important DDW Diversity Session and Reception, which will focus on health care disparities and diversity issues. And on Tuesday, don’t miss one of my favorite sessions, Best of DDW, which showcases the best science from the meeting.

The DDW Mobile App is extremely useful for navigating the meeting. You can browse DDW’s 400 sessions and 4,000 posters via the 17 educational tracks, search full-text abstracts, find the latest room and speaker changes, and navigate your way through the Exhibit Hall. We encourage you to log in, create a personal itinerary and use the Peer Finder feature to meet other attendees.

Download the DDW Mobile App directly to your device from the App Store or Google Play, or visit DDW TechConnect in Hall D for guidance.

Last year we successfully transitioned our meeting’s printed materials into an expanded DDW Daily News to bring you all meeting information in one publication. Read about late-breaking science in the news section, exhibitor details in the Exhibit Guide and plan your day with the help of the Program section.

DDW didn’t return to our nation’s capital without reason. The Walter E. 
Washington Convention Center is conveniently located with cultural influences at every turn, from dining and architecture to sports, museums and neighborhoods, and of course, the nation’s historic landmarks.

Welcome to DDW and welcome to Washington, D.C., where you’ll discover groundbreaking developments in science and medicine while networking with the world’s most renowned GI professionals. Thank you, DDW community, for making this the best GI meeting in the world.