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AGA steps to increase diversity in DDW® programming

Strategies include diverse abstract review committees, blinded abstract reviews and more.
DDW Poster Presentations
DDW Poster Presentations

As part of the AGA Equity Project, the AGA Institute Council reviewed how we develop DDW programming to ensure that we include diverse voices and opinions in the selection and presentation of science.  

The key starting point is ensuring we have diverse abstract review committees. These groups are responsible for selecting abstracts, programming sessions and inviting speakers and moderators. 

  • Reviewers’ terms are limited to allow for fresh voices. 
  • Reviewer rosters are scrutinized every year for representation based on experience, gender, race, ethnicity, as well as years in practice. These criteria also guide the nomination of new reviewers. 

We conduct blinded abstract review. This blunts favoritism and preferential selection of abstracts from well-known groups. 

  • Abstracts do not include author names or institutions.  
  • We ask abstract submitters to omit mentions of geography, grant number, or other information that may identify specific authors or medical centers.  
  • These blindly scored abstracts comprise AGA’s abstract-driven sessions. Abstract authors are responsible for the conduct and authorship of their studies. AGA does not decide which authors are included on abstracts or who presents at DDW.   

In addition to these two steps, the AGA Council scrutinizes the full list of potential speakers before invitations are sent to ensure a wide representation based on experience, gender, race, ethnicity, years in practice. 

“The process of programming the AGA portion of DDW is complex with 900 people reviewing more than 3,000 submitted abstracts. Over four days, AGA holds 200 lecture sessions, with 300 moderators and 400 speakers.”
“The process of programming the AGA portion of DDW is complex with 900 people reviewing more than 3,000 submitted abstracts. Over four days, AGA holds 200 lecture sessions, with 300 moderators and 400 speakers.”

- Rhonda Souza, MD, AGAF, AGA Institute Council chair

“This complexity offers us many opportunities to put into action our commitment to ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion in voices and opinions at all levels when carrying out these critical processes.”
“This complexity offers us many opportunities to put into action our commitment to ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion in voices and opinions at all levels when carrying out these critical processes.”

- Fernando Velayos, MD, AGAF, AGA Institute Council’s DEI subcommittee chair

The council has also taken steps to increase health disparities research with the creation of an abstract descriptor to support sessions on the broad impact of socioeconomic, racial and other disparities across the spectrum of GI health, the impact of providerlevel disparities in GI health care delivery and education, and issues of equity and inclusion within GI. We also recognize disparities research at DDW. Last year, we gave the first-annual AGA Institute Council Health Care Disparities Research Award to the top oral and the top poster presenters.  

AGA Institute Council Health Care Disparities Research Award recipients

DDW 2022

  • Top Oral

    Decline in Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates in Federally Qualified Health Centers in the United States Between 2019 and 2020
    Recipient: Megan R. McLeod, MD, MS
    Presented during the research forum, Understanding and Addressing Disparities in GI Disease, Sunday, May 22, 2-3:30 p.m. PDT (UTC –7)
    Presentation number: 472

  • Top Poster

    Evaluating the Role of Ethnicity in Colorectal Cancer Screening Among Adults With Access to Primary Health Care: A Descriptive Study Using Data From the 2018 BRFSS
    Recipient: Sarah Marucci, MD, MPH
    Presented during the poster session, Health Disparities in Patients with GI Disease, Monday, May 23, 12:30-1:30 p.m. PDT (UTC –7)
    Poster number: M01012

DDW 2021 (Inaugural award)

  • Top Oral

    The Association of Race and Ethnicity on Prior Colorectal Cancer Screening Test Use in a Large Clinical Trial of U.S. Veterans
    Recipient: Douglas J. Robertson, MD, MPH, AGAF

  • Top Poster

    Racial Disparities Among Patients Undergoing Pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple's Procedure) for Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma or Cholangiocarcinoma
    Recipient: Ahmed Eltelbany, MD

Learn more about the
AGA Equity Project
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