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Legacy: Medical Congress in Vienna Focuses on Liver Health

This year's EASL Congress at the Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center was a complete success. Not only in terms of medical knowledge, but also in the area of legacy. Together with the Vienna Convention Bureau, EASL impact projects were implemented for the Viennese population to create sustainable awareness for liver health. "As Convention Bureau, we have been looking at how legacy initiatives can be implemented in practice. In doing so, we see our role as matching the vision of international associations with the destination in the best possible way," says Christian Woronka, Head of B2B Management at the Vienna Tourist Board and Director of the Vienna Convention Bureau. "We are aware that the approach is different for each association. Based on the ideas and visions of the association, we try to bring local partners on board who can concretely support the realization of the impact projects through their network and their area of expertise," adds Woronka.

In preparation for EASL 2023, a joint workshop was held at the beginning of the year with the organizer and the location, Messe Wien. The resulting ideas for local impact projects were then elaborated in detail by EASL. To support the implementation, the Vienna Convention Bureau initiated two collaborations and brought EASL together with two important institutions from the fields of education and health: the Board of Education for Vienna and the Vienna Healthcare Group.

Ben Hainsworth, Executive Director of the European Association for the Study of the Liver: "We wanted the EASL Congress to leave a lasting impact on the scientists who attended but just as importantly, help to educate the broader Vienna public about the importance of liver health – and we did! The exemplary diligence, know-how and hospitality of our Viennese hosts and partners, particularly the Vienna Convention Bureau, the Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center, the Board of Education for Vienna and the Vienna Healthcare Group, have made this event an impactful, joyful and resounding success."

Education and health check for Viennese citizens

The EASL Congress not only informed about the latest research results and progress in the field of liver health, but also actively involved the Viennese population. Immediately before the congress, EASL organized a free public event at the Billrothhaus in Vienna's 9th district, where speakers from the fields of medicine and health care provided insights to raise awareness on the topic of liver health. In addition, the organizers offered the Viennese the opportunity to have their liver checked during the congress at a stand and in the screening truck directly in front of Messe Wien (which provided the space). In addition to free liver examinations, hepatitis C tests were also offered.

"The city of Vienna has played a unique and crucial role in the progress of medicine throughout history. As a melting pot of different cultures and intellectual thought, Vienna has always been a center for medical innovation and research. We are therefore all the more pleased that thousands of experts in the field of hepatology from all over the world have come to Vienna for the EASL annual meeting to exchange views on current developments in this field. We very much welcome the EASL's aim with its annual congress not only to inform the professional community, but also to create direct added value for the local public. The public events on liver health organized around the congress, the cooperation with a local school or the free liver checks in the screening truck make an important contribution to this," emphasizes Dr. Michael Binder, Chief Medical Officer of the Vienna Healthcare Group, one of the largest hospital associations and health service providers in Europe with eight hospitals, nine nursing homes and over 30,000 employees.

In total, more than 400 liver screenings and almost 100 hepatitis C tests were carried out. If there were any abnormalities in the values, the persons tested were advised to consult their family doctors for further clarification.

Liver health in schools

In cooperation with a local school and two Viennese hepatologists, EASL also held an interactive event for schoolchildren on the topic of liver health. The children created artwork on the theme of the liver, which was exhibited at Messe Wien, and attended the Opening Ceremony themselves.

"For pupils, it is a great opportunity to experience at first hand how experts from different countries work together on solutions at congresses. The school projects in cooperation with EASL have raised awareness among the young people about the importance of a healthy liver and given them new perspectives on research topics and career paths. We are happy about the first successful pilot project and further cooperations with the aim of bringing exciting congress content to Vienna's schools for future generations," adds Mag. Heinrich Himmer, Director of the Board of Education for Vienna.

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EASL - Love Your Liver school project

Together with EASL, information material is now being developed that will also be used in future at Viennese schools to raise awareness about liver health. As part of the Opening Ceremony on the first day of the congress, representatives of both the Board of Education for Vienna and the Vienna Healthcare Group addressed words of welcome to the approximately 7,000 participants from over 100 nations.

The Viennese Way in Legacy

"We are very pleased that the cooperation initiated by the Vienna Convention Bureau could be successfully implemented by EASL," said Christian Woronka. In the future, other companies with their congresses in the Meeting Destination Vienna should also benefit from the learnings of the EASL Impact projects. The possible cooperation will be actively communicated in the application process from now on. "We would like to thank all partners for their trust in this first-time implementation of a legacy project. Through their openness and curiosity, as well as enjoyment of the project, we were able to create tangible added value," adds Woronka.

For more information:
EASL impact projects: https://www.easlcongress.eu/impact-project/
Photo material EASL Congress 2023: https://easl.smugmug.com/EASL-Congress-2023
More videos of EASL 2023: https://www.youtube.com/@EASLHomeofHepatology
Board of Education for Vienna: https://www.bildung-wien.gv.at/ // https://europabuero.wien/
Vienna Healthcare Group: https://gesundheitsverbund.at/

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