With just a matter of days to go until #ESCP2020 #VirtuallyVilnius, we caught up with ESCP President Willem Bemelman to find out more about what delegates can expect on 21-23 September and what he is most looking forward to.

Can you tell us a little bit about what delegates can expect from #ESCP2020 in terms of key themes and topics?

We have two key themes that we are focusing on for #ESCP2020. One is Gender Influences in Colorectal Cancer and the other is the Global Reach of ESCP. Within each of those topics we’ll be covering a lot of different issues, for example: the anatomy of pelvic nerves and preserving sexual function in rectal cancer treatment options. We also have expert speakers from the likes of China, Hong Kong, and Europe. So, despite it being virtual, the conference will have a very global feel to it.

Just how important is it to discuss gender issues in coloproctology? Not just in terms of difference of treatments, but in representation too?

Gender issues are particularly prevalent in surgery at the moment and indeed the wider medical world. A lot of change still needs to happen in our field to ensure that there is equality in the workplace. It is why we held a ‘Women in Surgery’ social media campaign last year and it is why we are focused on this topic for our annual conference. We have strived to make sure we have as large a number of women speakers as possible to discuss these issues. We’ll be hearing from Anne Thyø, Sandra Gessani, Tina von Loon, and many more on an exciting range of topics.

And what about the Global Reach theme? Why is that important?

I think it has always been important, but it has perhaps been under the microscope a bit more recently, not least because of the Covid-19 developments and it being a global pandemic. We've seen fantastic contributions to our own colorectal community in sharing of knowledge and experiences from around the world and it is often times like these that the medical community really comes together. With the continuous development in technology the world can feel a smaller place, and we must take advantage of that to collaborate more between countries and continents - the more the better. Focusing on this for #ESCP2020 means we can share ideas on the future of global training as well as examine various responses and learnings from the Coronavirus crisis.

It is obviously disappointing not to be able to meet everyone in Vilnius this year, but how do you think the virtual nature of #ESCP2020 will impact on the experience?

With any challenge of disappointment there is always opportunity. Of course, we’d like to meet face-to-face but we have to make the best of the situation and look at the positives. A virtual meeting cannot cope with forms of interaction you would expect with face-to-face meetings. But on the plus side, where it might have been difficult for some to attend with due to travel or busy schedules, the virtual conference means there could potentially be a more diverse and global attendance than ever before.

Is there anything else about #ESCP2020 you are looking forward to?

The variety of speakers we have lined up and the topics are all very exciting. I am delighted with the balance we’ll have between keynote speakers, educational and research sessions, and abstract presentations. As with every annual meeting, the younger generation will play a key role. This year we’ll have both senior and junior representatives involved in sessions which is key for the career development and training of all involved. I am also looking forward to seeing abstracts from top young Y-ESCP members. Finally, I’d also like to thank our sponsors for being so supportive of our ‘Virtually Vilnius’ plans.

#ESCP2020 kicks off on Monday 21 September at 12:45. You can register your place for FREE by clicking here.

Major Sponsors

ESCP gratefully acknowledges Diamond sponsors CMR Surgical, Ethicon, Intuitive Surgical, Medtronic and THD, Sapphire sponsors B Braun, and Emerald sponsors Reach Surgical.

Transforming surgery for good - visit our virtual booth - CMR SurgicalColorectal Next : Addressing several risk factors of Anastomotic Leaks within one program

IntuitiveColorectal Next : Addressing several risk factors of Anastomotic Leaks within one program

When you put patients' health first, remarkable things happen: Frankenman ESCP Diamond Sponsor

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