Chapter 2. ESPGHAN: 50 Years Memories—The Early Years

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Abstract

Thirty-six founding members from Europe were present in 1968, when the European Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology (ESGA) had its first meeting in Paris. The aim was to create a forum for presentations and discussions of research activities in paediatric gastroenterology in Europe. At the second meeting of ESGA 1969 in Interlaken, an important landmark was set for all gastroenterologists in the world. In this conference, the first ever criteria for “the Diagnosis of Coeliac Disease” (CD) were established. In 1990, the revised criteria for the diagnosis of CD were published. After the introduction of new noninvasive techniques, like tissue transglutaminase 2-antibodies and the HLADQ2/HLADQ8 determinations in blood, “new” criteria for the diagnosis of CD were published in 2012 by the European society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN). Close collaboration of ESPGHAN and the North American Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition led to mutual meetings. The first combined meeting was 1978 in Paris, followed by meetings in New York, Amsterdam, Houston, and last in Toulouse. The first World Congress of Paediatric Gastroenterology took place in Boston 2000 followed by congresses in Paris, Iguazu, Taipeh, and Toronto. The creation of specialised committees (Nutrition Committees, GI-Committee, and Hepatology-Committee) enabled the society to elaborate numerous guidelines for standards in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases within the subspecialties. The Journal of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, as organ of ESPGHAN and the North American Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition since 1991, serves as the voice for these worldwide accepted guidelines. Growing educational activities with summer schools, the Young Investigator Forum and the creation of working groups have distributed our current knowledge among the younger generation and led to fruitful reports, guidelines, and syllabus. In 1992, ESPGHAN was 1 of the founding 7 members of the United European Gastroenterology Federation (UEGF), which developed into a successful organisation for gastroenterology in Europe. This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of ESPGHAN at our annual Meeting in Geneva.

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