Message from the AVF President – William Marston, MD
Serving as President of the entire membership of the American Venous Forum is a tremendous honor. I have always considered the AVF to be the pinnacle of venous research and science. Since my early days in the society, I have learned so much from members and leaders of the AVF who were excellent mentors to me. I am very excited about the current status of the Forum and the potential we have in the coming years to grow the capabilities, influence, and impact of our society.
In the past year, under the leadership of President Tony Gasparis and Executive Director John Forbes, the AVF has made great strides in expanding its educational offerings, establishing a strong operational base, and diversifying income sources to be less dependent on industry. As a result of the energetic leadership of your Board of Directors, our committees, and our outstanding staff, a number of impactful programs were developed and brought to fruition. Among them are:
- The AVF-BSCI Translational Research Grant.
- A new grant for translational venous disease was initiated with the support of Boston Scientific, providing $85,000 for an original, translational research project in venous disease.
- The AVF developed the capability to produce, market, and manage numerous educational webinars, many supported by industry.
- Partnership with Intervein China, a venous society in China, on a series of international webcasts to discuss and exchange ideas on the management of venous/lymphatic disease. Six webcasts were completed in 2021 with 9 planned for 2022.
- The launch of the Venous Policy Navigator, a subscription-based tool containing up-to-date requirements from more than 330 payers to assist with billing and reimbursement of venous procedures.
- The introduction Venous Classification Workbooks for the new CEAP and pelvic venous disease systems. Each offers CME credits.
- Infrastructure to design and manage multicenter prospective clinical trials in collaboration with the University of Maryland.
- The JURY trial, the initial study, is nearing completion of patient enrollment at this time.
- The successful merger of the AVF with the American Venous Forum Foundation, which has already enabled the AVF to operate with greater efficiency while streamlining our mission-centered activities.
In 2022 we have already achieved several new accomplishments including:
- A very successful Annual Meeting, VENOUS2022, which attracted nearly 600 attendees from all over the world
- The AVF basic science grant, specifically to support basic science in the venous and lymphatic areas. This grant will initially be supported by a $15,000 annual stipend with efforts being taken in the coming year for growth.
- Establishment of a new Documents Review Committee to assist in final preparation of AVF-developed documents for publication as well as documents submitted from outside entities for AVF review and support.
- Significant new guidelines:
- AVF/SVS/AVLS varicose veins guidelines
- Part 1 of the new VV guidelines has been completed and submitted for publication
- AVF/SVS guidelines on the management of upper extremity DVT
- Significant progress with final GLs expected within the next 6 months
- Completion of The Healthy Veins Book slated for publication in January 2023.
As we continue to work on these and other important projects, as well as prepare for VENOUS2023, I would like to highlight a major emphasis for the current year. As you are aware, patients with venous disease are diverse in many ways and clinicians interested in the treatment of venous/lymphatic disease are becoming increasingly diverse. AVF leadership believes that it is critically important for the Forum to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in its fundamental core values. A new ad hoc DEI committee was established earlier this year, co-chaired by Drs Ruth Bush and Kathleen Ozsvath. The committee is examining all aspects of AVF operations, programs, and initiatives to identify areas for support and improvement of our DEI goals. VENOUS2023 will have a significant focus on DEI with specific sessions throughout the meeting including research and discussions related to the management of venous disease in diverse populations. Diversity among those presenting information to the Forum will also be a significant focus in planning.
I would like to emphasize one extremely important aspect of membership in the AVF. As all of you are aware, the AVF is a member-driven society. We exist and thrive primarily due to the energy and engagement of our membership. We can do more if we have more members who are interested and able to do the work of the society. The real output of the society comes from the “under the radar” work of each of our committees on a daily basis. Examples of this work include:
- Guidelines committee members who do literature searches to identify evidence for guidelines.
- Research committee members who review and score grants.
- Program committee members who review and score abstracts.
- Communications committee members who write articles for the newsletter.
These are only a few of many examples, but this is how the AVF creates important output that improves the care of our patients. Without volunteer members willing to do this work we cannot remain relevant.
I realize that it may be difficult to understand how to become involved in the work of the society. The fact is that we need all members who have an interest in assisting the Forum and the time to do so. Annually, near the end of the year, we forward to the complete membership a request for volunteers. Members indicate their committee preferences, and we do our best to match volunteers to committees of their choice. This year more than 90% of members who volunteered were able to be placed on one of their committee choices. We invite all AVF members to let us know how they would like to participate in the work of the Forum.
I am very excited about the preparations underway for VENOUS2023. The program committee led by Chair Mikel Sadek is developing an exciting program and is currently evaluating an excellent pool of abstracts submitted for the meeting. I am confident that the program will support the long-term reputation of the AVF meeting as the source of the most impactful venous research meeting of the year. In addition, the meeting will allow excellent opportunities for networking, peer support, and re-engaging with those that you may have lost touch with during the pandemic. I hope that all of you will make plans to join me in San Antonio February 20-23 at the beautiful La Cantera Resort for VENOUS2023. I look forward to seeing you there.
William Marston, MD
President, American Venous Forum