Since my last IRTA update the world has changed, SARS-CoV-2 the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic has killed 1.5 million people world-wide. We have had to adjust our clinical practices around the various restrictions imposed or recommended by governments, regulatory bodies, health care organizations, local councils and institutional leadership. Social distancing and wearing appropriate PPE has become a new normal for many of us. Telehealth, talked about but not necessarily operationalized by many institutions for years, has grown apace. Yet through all this our patients continue to require our care and support. Transplants have continued and fortuitously it appears that individuals on immunosuppressive medication may be at no increased risk of serious disease from this virus than the healthy population at large. In response to the pandemic and within the scope of our society we have initiated, in conjunction with to Society of Pediatric Liver Transplantation (also a Section of TTS), the SPLIT-IRTA Email Listserv to facilitate conversation around the impact of COVID-19 on our patients and programs – please see our website for details. Additionally, a survey to pull together global experience of COVID-19 infections in Intestine transplant recipients has been led by Dr. Gabriel Gondolesi. We ask if anyone knows that their center has not yet completed the survey please do it now because data is currently being analyzed for future publication.
Another victim of the pandemic has been our biennial meeting, scheduled to be held in Auckland, New Zealand next summer. It has been reluctantly decided that this will now be a hybrid meeting, with local attendees in New Zealand and a virtual platform for participation by IRTA members across the globe. The meeting will still be hosted by the Auckland team and details of the program, registration and abstract submission will be forthcoming over the next few months. We are already in early planning stages for our next in person congress in 2023 and the selected city will be announced at the Congress in July.
Our committees have been active, and the Allied Health Committee has led by example working on “Best Practice Guidelines” and hosting two hour-long webinars this year in February and October, both of which were excellent, and with a just a completed 4-hour webinar this past December 16th, with an wonderful line-up of international speakers which was extremely well-attended. The videos are now available to IRTA members.
The Membership and Education committees have been consolidated under the leadership of Dr. Laurens Ceulemans with the intent of building value to members through educational offerings beyond just our biennial CIRTA meeting, with emphasis on planning a series of Webinars on the many aspects of intestinal failure and intestine transplantation.
The Scientific and IF Registry committees, led by Drs. Rob Venick and Yaron Aviztur, have been very much focused on transitioning the Registries (ITR and IFR) to a new home. Earlier this year we were informed by the Terasaki Research Institute (TRI) that Dr. Matthew Everly was leaving the institute and that a strategic change of direction was underway. The TRI had decided it was no longer able to support our Registries and that we needed to identify a new home for our accumulated data and the infrastructure to continue and expand the work of these registries. To cut a very long story short, the Registries will be transferred to their new home at The Transplantation Society International Headquarters in Montreal, Canada. We have also engaged Matt Everly to continue to lead the analytic portion, including the annual reports, to maintain continuity while more permanent in-house expertise is established.
The IFR has completed the pilot phase of the pediatric arm with 204 patients from 11 centers worldwide, and despite the turmoil resulting from relocating the registries, Dr. Avitzur, Chair of the IFR Committee, is expecting to launch the full pediatric registry open to all centers later this month in large part due to the support provided through an unrestricted grant from Takeda. Additionally, development of the adult arm of the IFR is in the early discussion stages of development.
It has not been an easy year and I have heard some people refused to put their clocks back this Autumn because they don’t want even one more hour in 2020 than they have to! However, the IRTA has continued to look forward and hope to engage with membership and the intestinal failure and transplant community to an even greater extent in the coming months and years.
In accordance with the IRTA bylaws, we are requesting nominations for the biennial election. Nominations are sought for President-Elect, Secretary-Treasurer, Councilors and Ad Hoc AHP representative.
Nominations are sought for President-Elect (to serve 2021-2023, followed by President from 2023- 2025), Secretary-Treasurer (to serve from 2021-2025) and for 3 councilors (to serve from 2021-2025), 1 ad hoc AHP representative (to serve 2021-2025)
Description of President-Elect. The President-Elect shall have and exercise such powers and shall perform such duties as from time to time may be conferred upon or assigned to him/her by the Council, or as may be delegated to him/her by the President. All nominees for President-Elect should have served at least one full term (four years) on the Council prior to their nomination for President-Elect.
Description of Secretary-Treasurer. The Secretary-Treasurer shall keep the minutes of all meetings of the Council. He/she shall see that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of law and these bylaws. He/she shall keep the membership records of the Association and shall make and keep lists of the membership of committees of the Council and the Association, which lists he/she shall make available on request to the Members. The Secretary-Treasurer shall have charge and be responsible for all funds, securities, receipts and authorized disbursements of the Association, and shall deposit, or cause to be deposited, in the name of the Association, all Monies or other valuable effects in such banks, trust companies or other depositories as shall, from time to time, be selected by the Council. He/she shall render to the President and to the Council, whenever requested, an account of the financial condition of the Association; and shall in any event report annually to the Council and shall submit financial statements certified by independent public accountants chosen by the Council to the Council and Members at each regular meeting of Members. In general, he/she shall perform all duties incident to the offices of a secretary and a treasurer of a corporation, and such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to him/her by the Council.
Council Expectations: Regular meetings of the Council are usually held quarterly and are usually planned well in advance. In general, it is anticipated that the Council will have at least one face-to-face meeting and a minimum of three conference calls per year. Regular attendance is expected whenever possible. Special meetings of the Council may be held at any time or place upon the call of the President or of any four Council members. Committee involvement is also encouraged. Meetings may be held at any time and place without notice if all members of the Council are present or if those not present shall, before or after the meeting, waive notice thereof. The Council may meet by conference telephone or similar communications equipment.
Description of Ad-Hoc Allied Health Professional. The Ad-Hoc AHP representative shall serve a four-year term and shall attend all Council meetings and will be eligible to vote on all Council decisions.
We encourage nominations from underrepresented groups and regions such as Asia, Europe, Oceania and Latin America.
To be eligible for election, the candidate must be a Full Member, in good standing of the IRTA at the time of their nomination and during their term of office.
A person shall be nominated if his/her name is submitted with a written signature or email of support from at least 2 voting Members in good standing, along with a five-line summary (100 words) of the nominee’s curriculum vitae and the nominee’s acceptance to stand for election.
Nominations can be submitted online only and must be submitted no later than January 30, 2021. Elections will take place in February, 2021