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A New WGO Training Center Inaugurated in San José, Costa Rica

Kozarek, Richard A. MD*; Connell, Barbara CAE, CMP

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: July 2010 - Volume 44 - Issue 6 - p v-vi
doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3181e5383e
WGO News

*World Gastroenterology Organization, Digestive Disease Institute, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA

American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Oak Brook, Illinois

Funding: None.

Reprints: Richard Kozarek, MD, Digestive Disease Institute, Virginia Mason Medical Center, 1100 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101 (e-mail:

Conflict of interest: None.



The World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO) formally inaugurated its 14th Training Center in San Jose, Costa Rica on March 5, 2010. Under the directorship of Herbert Burgess, MD, and with the support of Asociacion de Especialistas en Gastroenterologia y Endoscopia Digestiva de Costa Rica, the Sirius Training Center envisions training gastroenterologists from Central and South America in geographically important digestive disorders and advanced endoscopic imaging techniques. This is particularly important in Costa Rica with its exceptionally high incidence of gastric malignancy and the evolving ability to treat many of these malignancies at an early state with either mucosectomy or endoscopic submucosal dissection. This training center has been supported over the next 5 years by Fujinon Latin America (FUJIFILM) both with equipment and WGO administrative support.

The inauguration itself and Combined Scientific Program was attended by gastroenterologists from virtually every South and Central American country as well as Mexico, in addition to WGO representatives, Henry Cohen, Eamonn Quigley, and Richard Kozarek, as well as representatives from FUJIFILM, Latin America, and the General Manager of its Endoscopy Division, Hisashi Kisimoto, Tokyo, Japan. The meeting included an overview of WGO programmatic activities, overview of GERD 2010, and an update on Helicobacter by Drs Kozarek, Quigley, and Cohen, respectively, and an afternoon Scientific Symposium.

The WGO looks forward to integrating the Sirius Center into our geographically diverse family of training centers and following the trainees who attend both short-term and long-term courses relative to such outcome parameters as changes in practice patterns, improvement in diagnostic yield, need for less invasive treatment regimens, and ultimately, improvement in gastrointestinal health in patients cared for by these trainees.

The WGO Training Centers are located in Bangkok (Thailand), Bogota (Colombia), Cairo (Egypt), Karachi (Pakistan), La Paz (Bolivia), La Plata (Argentina), Mexico City (Mexico), Rabat (Morocco), Ribeirao Preto (Brazil), San José (Costa Rica), Rome (Italy), Santiago (Chile), Soweto (South Africa), and Suva (Fiji).

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In an effort to further support the WGO Training Centers, the WGO launched the Training Center Partnership Program placing a call to national and regional gastroenterology societies to partner with WGO centers to ensure their sustainable future. The American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) was one of the first societies to answer that call, for which the WGO leadership expresses its deep gratitude.

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In 2009, the ASGE introduced a new initiative called the Ambassador Program. This program was developed to export 2 of the society's greatest assets, basic and advanced endoscopic medical care and training expertize. Ready access to advanced gastrointestinal care does not exist in developing countries. Similarly, the education and training of physicians in underserved countries provide a tremendous opportunity for ASGE to leave a lasting mark in these areas. The ultimate goal of the program is to decrease illness and deaths in underserved populations from untreated digestive disorders.

ASGE launched its first Ambassador Program in February of this year in Cairo, Egypt. Five highly skilled ASGE physician members volunteered their time and expertize to train and mentor 10 trainees for a week at the Cairo Training Center (CTC). This center is located within the Theodor Bilharz Research Institute and is accredited by the WGO. Through the generosity of the WGO, ASGE was able to use this outstanding facility for its program.

The 1-week program covered numerous topics related to upper gastrointestinal bleeding—one of the most common gastrointestinal afflictions facing developing nations in Africa today. The training consisted of didactic sessions and hands-on training in which physicians and trainees treated patients in need.

This program would not be possible without the grant funding and equipment provided by our industry partners—Pentax Medical Systems, US Endoscopy and AstraZeneca Foundation. ASGE leadership acknowledges the WGO and expresses its thanks for WGO's generosity in providing the CTC for the inaugural Ambassador Program.

For more information on the ASGE Cairo program, becoming an Ambassador or to contribute to future programs visit

For more information on CTC activities, please contact:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.