ECCO Country Member Profiles: Switzerland

Pierre Michetti, ECCO National Representative, Switzerland

Switzerland   Switzerland

Name of group: IBDnet (www.ibdnet.chThe IBDnet is a Swiss interest group of medical doctors and scientists specialising in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The aim is the promotion of research and communication on aetiology, diagnosis and therapy in order to improve patient outcomes.

Number of active members: Switzerland has roughly 475 gastroenterologists and hepatologists, 350 of whom are located in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and 125 in the French- and Italian-speaking parts. The IBDnet has 93 members, with a Steering Committee of 17 IBD specialists.

Number of meetings per year:

  • Steering Committee Meetings: 4 per year, 1 General Assembly per year
  • Educational Meetings: One or two major (2- or 3-day meetings, postgraduate course) and eight to ten minor ones (half-day meetings)
  • Expert Meetings: The IBDnet organises one expert meeting per year to develop Swiss expert recommendations.
  • Patient Relations: The IBDnet broadly supports patient events organised by the patient association SMCCV/ASMCC (four to six annually). Most speakers at these patient information events are IBDnet Steering Committee members. Furthermore, in collaboration with the patient association, IBDnet develops and releases patient information guidebooks.

President: Stephan Vavricka
Secretary: Pierre Michetti
National Representatives: Pierre Michetti and Frank Seibold
Joined ECCO in: Switzerland was among the founding countries of ECCO.
Incidence of IBD in the country (if available): IBD incidence is estimated to be 2 cases per 1,000 persons per year.

What has changed since your society became an ECCO Country Member?

Being an ECCO Country Member is very important for a country the size of Switzerland. Although the Swiss IBD Cohort Study (http://www.ibdcohort.ch) is an outstanding data registry able to answer a broad variety of clinical questions, it is crucial for Switzerland to be part of an international network enabling international research collaborations and sharing of best practice.

The increasing number of conferences, the ECCO Congress and programmes for young fellows and nurses offer further advantages to ECCO Members.

What are the benefits to you of being an ECCO Country Member?

ECCO Country Membership allows the establishment of an international network to share experiences, develop international clinical research projects and exchange information. The ECCO Guidelines are among the pearls of ECCO Activities.

Is your society making use of the ECCO Guidelines?

Yes, they are commonly quoted and used in Switzerland.

Have you developed links with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership?

  • Have you developed research projects with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership? Yes.
  • Have you developed educational activities with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership? Yes.
  • Has your country been involved in a fellow exchange through ECCO? Yes.

What are your main areas of research interest?

The Swiss IBD Cohort Study (http://www.ibdcohort.ch) is a project that has been developed by the IBDnet and is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Does your centre or country have a common IBD database or bio bank?

Yes, the Swiss IBD Cohort Study established a national biobank in 2005.                                         

What are your most prestigious/interesting past and ongoing projects?

Research projects mainly focus on epidemiologic, genetic and immunologic aspects of IBD. Further studies cover the microbiome.

Which ECCO Projects/Activities is the group in?

Swiss representatives have been involved in the ECCO Guidelines and are among the members of EduCom and GuiCom. As Scientific Officer, Gerhard Rogler is a member of the Governing Board. Pierre Michetti is an honorary member and a member of the strategic council.

What are your aims for the future?

We want to improve further IBD knowledge on a national level with the help of local educational events, as well as an ECCO Educational Workshop planned for 2019. The IBDnet also places a strong emphasis on IBD nurse education, and this will be reflected in the ECCO IBD Nurse Education Programme. 

How do you see ECCO helping you to fulfil these aims?

ECCO offers outstanding educational programmes and congresses and is an ideal platform for collaboration.  

What do you use ECCO for? Network? Congress? How do you use the things/services that ECCO has to offer?

For Switzerland, presence at the ECCO Congress is much appreciated by many delegates. Networking at the Congress is also of major importance for the development of research projects.

Posted in ECCO News, ECCO Country Member Profiles, Volume 12, Issue 4