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Welcome Letter

Dear Colleagues and Industry Partners,

It is our pleasure to invite you to the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver (CASL) Single Topic Conference on Alcohol-Associated Liver Disease. This important multidisciplinary program will be held Oct 14 – 16, 2022 in Vancouver, BC.

Alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD) represents a spectrum of liver injury resulting from alcohol use, ranging from hepatic steatosis to more advanced forms including alcoholic hepatitis (AH), alcohol-associated cirrhosis (AC), and acute AH presenting as acute-on-chronic liver failure. ALD is a major cause of liver disease worldwide, both on its own and as a co-factor in the progression of other types of chronic liver diseases, such as viral hepatitis and fatty liver disease.

ALD comprises a substantial portion of the overall cirrhosis burden, both in the United States (US) and worldwide, and is responsible for rising rates of liver-related mortality in the US and Canada, especially among younger patients, particularly among women aged 25-34 years. Medical costs are also high for ALD, driven in part by higher rates of intensive care unit usage, in-hospital mortality, and readmission. In US and Canada, ALD competes with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as a leading indication for liver transplantation.

Although alcohol use disorder (AUD) and ALD are common conditions with significant clinical and socioeconomic burdens, management is often controversial and fraught with complexity.  As such, the clinical practice of AUD and ALD requires both a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach between hepatologists, mental health and addictions providers, alongside nurses and allied health professionals. 

The Canadian perspective to the practice of ALD is necessary, to address clinical practice concerns related to Canada’s large geographic area and its associated impacts on accessibility and delivery of clinical services in hepatology, mental health and addictions. Additional attention needs to be raised to address specific challenges around AUD and ALD in relation to Indigenous populations. 

CASL has recognized that timing has never been more urgent to have a Single Topic Conference (STC) as a group of Canadian providers to discuss clinical management across the spectrum of ALD from diagnosis to transplantation; strategies for improving care delivery and access to care with the inclusion of integrated care models and collaborative community practice models with target populations; and have focused discussions around health policy development around ALD.  Our cross-national multidisciplinary Scientific Planning Committee has put together this meeting to achieve these objectives by bringing both Canadian and international faculty that have trail blazed the work in ALD to ignite and inspire our attendees.  

On behalf of the Scientific Planning Committee, we hope you will join us at this important meeting that will pave the future of practice of ALD across Canada.