Gastroenterology is the branch of medicine focused on the digestive system and its disorders. Diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract, which include the organs from mouth into anus, along the alimentary canal, are the focus of this speciality. Physicians practicing in this field are called gastroenterologists. They have usually completed about eight years of pre-medical and medical education, a year-long internship (if this is not a part of the residency), three years of an internal medicine residency, and two to three years in the gastroenterology fellowship. Gastroenterologists perform a number of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures including colonoscopy, endoscopy, endoscopic retrograde cholangiancreatography (ERCP), endoscopic ultrasound and liver biopsy. Some gastroenterology trainees will complete a "fourth-year" (although this is often their seventh year of graduate medical education) in transplant hepatology, advanced endoscopy, inflammatory bowel disease, motility or other topics.
Hepatology, or hepatobiliary medicine, encompasses the study of the liver, pancreas, and biliary tree, while proctology encompasses the fields of anus and rectum diseases. They are traditionally considered sub-specialties of gastroenterology.
The World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) is an international federation of over 100 national GI societies and 4 regional associations of gastroenterology representing over 50,000 individual members.
WGO is focused on "the improvement of standards in gastroenterology training and education on a global scale."
The association was founded in 1935 and incorporated in 1958. The WGO was originally known as the Organisation Mondiale de Gastroenterologie (OMGE) and was renamed the World Gastroenterology Organisation in 2006.
Its activities include educational initiatives such as Training Centers, Train the Trainers Workshops, public awareness campaigns such as World Digestive Health Day and Global Guidelines which cascade, providing viable solutions which are adaptable to varying resource levels around the world, as well as a quadrennial World Congress of Gastroenterology.
The WGO Foundation was incorporated in 2007 and is dedicated to raising funds to support the ongoing WGO education initiatives and activities.