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Special podcast crossover episode with Liver Fellow Network 

The Liver Fellow Network co-founders join and chat about bringing easily digestible liver content to the medical education space.
Small Talks, Big GI Topics
Small Talks, Big GI Topics

In episode four of Small Talk Big Topics, hosts Drs. Matthew Whitson and CS Tse are joined by guests Drs. Alex Vogel and Adam Winters, two of the five co-founders of Liver Fellow Network. Together, they were able to turn their passion about liver transplants and hepatology into a medical education resource. The network connects people who share an interest in liver to learn more about it. Since its initiation in 2020, they have grown immensely as a startup for medical and liver education.

To begin, Dr. Winters and Vogel introduce themselves. Dr. Winters is a Transplant Hepatology Fellow at Mount Sinai, where he will soon be transitioning to faculty as a Transplant Hepatologist. Dr. Vogel is currently a third year GI Fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He will be returning to Mount Sinai soon to be a Transplant Hepatology Fellow. Together, the two host the Liver Talks podcast as part of the Liver Fellow Network.

The Liver Fellow Network began at the beginning of the pandemic. The founders got together and recognized a need for more digestible medical education initiatives within liver diseases. They decided to start a website, the podcast and an Evidence Center to address this need in the space. Within these spaces, they cover a wide variety of topics within the realm of liver and hepatology which they see as important for practitioners to understand and be able to teach themselves. While they were initially operating solely for education, they now offer something called the Work Room which is all about connecting liver fellows across the country.

Bringing the network to life took lots of meetings, establishing clear goals and objectives and deciding upon content delivery on the founders’ part. Initially, it was the five founders themselves who were editing each other’s content and providing constructive feedback. The official launch was not until several months after they had all begun to gather and create substantial content. Similarly, it was important that everything they expressed was verified by people on the outside to ensure its accuracy and usefulness. The AGA grant they received came a year after they had already established the network’s website and was used largely to grow the workroom.

Next, Drs. Vogel and Winters unpack the ways in which the founders were able to work together to bring their collective vision to life. Part of the initial cohesion was thanks to the fact that each founder had their own specialized areas of expertise to give all of their attention to. To any listeners interested in starting a similar project of their own, the guys warn that it will be time consuming and will necessitate a committed team to bring it to life. They believe the key pillars to the Liver Fellow Network’s success were having a startup ethos, a shared vision and strong leadership.

One of the most important factors to consider when building an organization is its sustainability. Initial interest within specific communities tends to fizzle out relatively quickly, so having people committed to pushing out content and a plan for expanding on that content is key. You never want to have a stagnant website, but rather a space which encourages collaboration and curiosity.

Shifting gears, they reflect on the evolution of their own podcast, Liver Talks. They are most proud of the fact that they have been able to feature a number of hepatologists from very different pathways and areas of interest. It is their hope that listeners may find a guest they identify with themselves to understand that there is space for anyone and everyone within this field. As the episode draws to a close, our guests each offer their best advice for younger listeners struggling to determine which area of expertise is right for them. It is most crucial to find your own connection with any prospective area. When it comes to choosing a career, experience and mentorship are some of the most important factors. Finally, they each reveal their favorite liver cells. Finally, they close with sharing where listeners can find them online.

Connect with this episode's guests:

Learn more about the Liver Fellow Network.
Connect with the Liver Fellow Network on Twitter.
Follow Adam Winters and Alex Vogel on Twitter.

Connect with the Small Talk, Big Topics hosts:

Follow Matthew on Twitter.
Follow CS Tse on Twitter.
Follow Nina on Twitter.

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