|Arie Levine © ECCO|
This ECCO News Issue is the perfect opportunity for me to express awe and gratitude: awe for the dedicated dietitians of D-ECCO, who have accomplished so much, and gratitude to the Governing Board of ECCO, which detected this emerging need in IBD and supported its development within ECCO, allowing me to be part of the process.
Awe once again, as D-ECCO has finished year 3 of its existence with some remarkable achievements and milestones. D-ECCO started as a Working Group with several goals: to educate dietitians on how to become IBD dietitians, to educate physicians about existing and emerging dietary therapies and about the role of dietitians in the treatment of patients with IBD, to stimulate research in this emerging field of diet and IBD, and to build a network of IBD dietitians. Remarkably, within the space of 3 years, D-ECCO appears to be on track to achieve and even exceed these goals. In 2018, D-ECCO deservedly became an official Committee of ECCO. It will continue to comprise four dietitians and one gastroenterologist with an interest in diet or nutrition. There are currently over 300 dietitians in the ECCO Database, with about 50 dietitians registered as ECCO Members, up from a handful 3 years ago. D-ECCO has held three Workshops with ever-increasing attendance. At the recent ECCO Congress in Vienna the D-ECCO Workshop was attended by 133 participants, including dietitians, doctors and diet researchers.
The first publication by D-ECCO was a paper on research gaps in diet and IBD, which was one of the most downloaded articles in the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis (JCC) in 2017. D-ECCO teamed up with P-ECCO to develop an e-Learning case on how to use exclusive enteral nutrition. These achievements should not be trivialised. None of the participants had ever held a role in ECCO before. What they lacked in ECCO experience they made up for with enthusiasm, a contagious vision of the future charismatic leadership and hard work.
This year D-ECCO has seen a changing of the guard. While Rotem Sigall-Boneh, the Chair, remains with Kostas Gerasimidis and myself, D-ECCO are sorry to part with two founding members who have contributed enormously to the success of D-ECCO, Nicolette Wierdsma and Miranda Lomer. D-ECCO has welcomed its two newest members, Catherine Wall from London/New Zealand and Marjo Campmans-Kuijpers from the Netherlands.
Turning to 2018 and beyond, D-ECCO has set its sights on new goals. These include projects with the Surgeons of ECCO on perioperative dietary therapy and a paper to define the role of the IBD dietitian. The goal is to expand the pool of dedicated and highly trained dietitians with expertise in IBD. This changing of the guard will provide continuity, and hopefully sustain the same energy, intensity of purpose and dedication, the standards set by the founding members of D-ECCO.