Sept. 10, 2015

Over the last year, the committee has furthered this mission by participating in a number of AGA-sponsored activities and events.

Andrew Chan

Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Chair, AGA Institute Research Policy Committee.

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2015 issue of AGA Perspectives. 

The mission of the AGA Institute Research Policy Committee is to promote basic and clinical research in gastroenterology and hepatology. Over the last year, the committee has furthered this mission by participating in a number of AGA-sponsored activities and events, including Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2015 and the Drug Discovery Conference.

First, the research policy committee fulfilled the AGA Institute Governing Board’s call to review and expand the AGA Strategic Plan’s objective and strategies related to research and innovation. For example, we provided recommendations to expand the number of research awards provided to young investigators and to continue the promotion of the important work of two of AGA’s centers: the AGA Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education and the AGA Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics.

Second, the research policy committee continues to cultivate strategic partnerships with industry to provide research funding. This included participation in the AGA-sponsored Drug Discovery Conference, in which AGA issued a call from members for research abstracts. These were submitted to a major pharmaceutical company for selection to attend an in-person meeting that subsequently led to funding agreements with AGA investigators for the development of therapeutic agents.

Third, the research policy committee supervised an overhaul of the selection process for AGA Research Scholar Awards, currently the AGA’s most coveted and substantial grant for young investigators. The selection process was restructured to provide applicants with written feedback from reviewers, in order to offer critical feedback for future grant proposals. In addition, the committee implemented a second layer of review from a panel of established investigators to ensure a standardized and fair review process.

Fourth, the research policy committee petitioned the AGA Institute Council to provide greater recognition of young investigators at DDW. For DDW 2015, session chairs recognized each young investigator presenting an oral abstract with a certificate. This is an important first step in enhancing the visibility of young investigators that will help encourage their future attendance at DDW and promote career-long loyalty to AGA.

Fifth, the research policy committee revised the award criteria for both the William Beaumont Prize in Gastroenterology and the AGA Distinguished Achievement Award to reduce overlap and provide distinct recognition for clinical/translational and basic research. Finally, the committee sponsored an extremely popular session on research training in big data at DDW 2015 (see some Twitter feedback on this session below). We are looking forward to planning our next committee-sponsored session on precision medicine for DDW 2016.

Dr. Chan serves on advisory panels for Bayer and on the Pfizer Data Safety Monitoring Board