Dear Colleagues and Friends,
This year, your annual Congress is the 2nd World Congress of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. As you remember, the first one, held in Boston in 2000 and chaired by Harland Winter, was a great success. During this important event, the Federation of 5 International Societies of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (FISPGHAN) was born. Therefore, four years later the European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) is hosting the 2nd World Congress under the umbrella of FISPGHAN.
WHY A WORLD CONGRESS IN THIS “INTERNET CENTURY”?
The Internet will never replace such a World Congress, not only to exchange knowledge and experience in the field but also to meet people from the entire world. The mix of many generations of Pediatric Gastroenterologists, Hepatologists and Nutritionists, the exchanges between different cultures and practices, and the meeting of physicians, scientists, nurses and dieticians can not be achieved as well, even with the most sophisticated internet tool. Thus, an International Congress will always remain a unique opportunity for science, culture and human relationships, whatever the origin and the experience. That is the spirit of our World Congress.
HOW TO PREPARE A WORLD CONGRESS?
There is no productive and successful congress without an outstanding scientific program. Fruitful discussions and hard work from the ESPGHAN Scientific Committee composed by Deirdre Kelly from Birmingham (UK), Berthold Koletzko from Munich (Germany) and Hans Buller (Chairman) from Rotterdam (The Netherlands) made it possible to achieve an original program in terms of both format and content. Indeed, beside very classical topics, we introduced subjects and concepts not usually emphasized during our annual meetings such as stem cell biology, pharmacology in GI diseases, nutrient-gene interaction, neonatal gastroenterology, pediatric surgery, ethics in pediatrics, the teenage patient with the transition to adulthood, etc… In the tradition of the Committee of Nutrition of ESPGHAN, we are proud to offer to the delegates more than one third of the scientific program devoted to Nutrition including infant feeding, obesity, clinical nutrition and public health issues in the field.
HOW TO GET SUPPORT FOR A WORLD CONGRESS?
One of the best supports is the enthusiasm of friends and colleagues in achieving this event. I would like to address my acknowledgment to the FISPGHAN council chaired by Stefano Guandalini (USA), the ESPGHAN council chaired by Peter Milla (UK), the Host Executive Committee and the Local Organizing Committee for their help during the past four years.
The second support is the interest of world-wide delegates, members or not members of the 5 Societies who were constantly informed in the past 4 years and who were at the “rendezvous” in December 2003 to submit more than 1400 abstracts from 74 different countries. Abstracts were reviewed by 150 reviewers from the 5 sister societies. The outstanding work of the Abstract Review Committee chaired by Martin Stern (Germany) together with Hania Sajewska (Poland) and Giuseppe Maggiore (Italy) allowed us to both select abstracts for plenary sessions, scientific symposia or poster sessions and to also give awards for several.
The third support, and not the least, is the industry that understood early, for most, that this World Congress was going to become an important event in the field of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.
HOW TO OPEN A WORLD CONGRESS TO EVERYONE?
The spirit of a World Congress is also to offer the opportunity to participate to as many individuals as possible. Several non-profit associations or nongovernmental organisations answered positively in participating in the World Congress; among them, the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Pediatric Association (IPA), the European Cooperative Obesity Group (ECOG) and the French Speaking Society of Enteral and Parenteral Nutrition (SFNEP).
The doors should also be open to those taking care in the specialty such as nurses and dieticians who provide daily care to pediatric patients with digestive, liver or nutritional diseases. Many of them send abstracts that are scheduled to be presented during both scientific symposia or poster sessions and specific nurse and/or dietician sessions. All submitted abstracts are published in this issue of the Journal.
Finally, numerous awards, including Young Investigator Awards, Outreach Awards and ESPGHAN Awards, have been offered to support many delegates to participate in the 2nd World Congress. Special supports have also been offered for the registration of delegates from developing countries.
COMMUNICATION IS ALSO A KEY ISSUE
If the Internet can not replace such an event, it is indispensable to achieve communication for a World Congress. In that matter, www.wcpghan2004.com will remain forever a unique creation for communication. We may thank the virtuoses and professionals that achieved such an outstanding job in using the web site for advertisement, abstracts submission, review and selection, as well as registrations and organization, combining personal human relationship and modern technology.
Finally, this special supplement of the Journal of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition will be the last and the most relevant witness of what we will do together during these five summer days in Paris in 2004.
This special issue contains all the abstracts presented during the Congress and the satellite symposia supported by industry. Abstracts are presented according to the different sessions and topics of the Congress, while awarded posters have the World Congress logo attached to them. The E-mail address of the corresponding author is, for the first time, provided with the abstract, thus allowing us to continue communicating after July 2004. Another supplement of the Journal is totally based on the Working Group Reports from FISPGHAN, coordinated by Alfredo Guarino (Napoli, Italy).
Indeed, our Journal is certainly one of the best links between us, and it is the “companion” of our daily life without the need of a computer. A scientific journal remains an extreme pleasure with the voluptuous sensation of reading the pages quietly in our offices, in the train or in the aircrafts, at home or during our . . . holidays!
Many thanks and congratulations to those who created it, developed it and made it this well recognized as an international scientific journal in our specialty. Special greetings for their support, to Judy Sondheimer and Jehan-François Desjeux, the current Chief Editors for NASPGHAN and ESPGHAN, respectively.
Enjoy reading this issue, and be a regular reader and corresponding author of the Journal of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.