'The forefront of everything endoscopy' — ASGE President Dr. John Vargo II on goals for his term

John Vargo II, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic, became president of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy at Digestive Disease Week 2019, May 18-21 in San Diego.

Joining ASGE in 1991, Dr. Vargo advanced through the ranks of the organization, serving on ASGE's Governing Board since 2010. Here, Dr. Vargo discussed the goals for his term and his vision for ASGE.

Note: Responses were edited for style and clarity.

Question: What are your goals for your term as president?

Dr. John Vargo: Simply stated, complacency cannot be in our lexicon. There are currents of change all around us in medicine: emerging endoscopic technologies and evolving healthcare delivery models, to name just two. We must not run away from change but embrace it and remain as stewards of this evolution in medicine. My goal for the ASGE is to be at the forefront of this evolution and gastrointestinal endoscopy practice.

Q: How will your work at the Cleveland Clinic impact your tenure?

JV: First, I am honored to have the support of my leaders and partners at the Cleveland Clinic during this year as ASGE president. Second, the wide-ranging diversity of our practice at the Cleveland Clinic is in many ways a microcosm of the diversity of practice that I experience with the ASGE membership. This includes transitioning to value-based care, evaluating emerging endoscopic technologies and determining where they fit into our practice, and of course the evolution of gastroenterology fellowship training to a competency-based model.

Q: Why is engaging ASGE's new fellows such an important issue to you?

JV: From a personal standpoint, there is nothing quite as invigorating and professionally satisfying as helping to shape the future of a fellow. Our fellows are the future of the ASGE. As such, they will be carrying the mantle of patient care, research and education into the future. Therefore, we are working to optimize our training and educational portfolio to reflect the evolving needs of our fellows.

This includes creating educational content with their input. We have formed a GI Fellows Caucus, which is a group of trainees who will be providing input into the ASGE's training and educational endeavors. We are working on making our entire educational and training portfolio (outside of hands-on sessions) available online so that the content is easily accessible on a 24/ 7 basis.

Q: What's a resonating message you'd like gastroenterologists to hear as you begin your term?

JV: ASGE is the world's premier organization for gastrointestinal endoscopy. We are blessed with a phenomenal staff at our Institute for Training and Technology Center, as well as the many fantastic physicians who freely give their time and talents across the entire spectrum of gastrointestinal endoscopy, from regulatory issues and practice management to advancing cutting-edge endoscopic procedures. It is my pledge to our membership and of course to our patients to keep the ASGE at the forefront of everything endoscopy.

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