All for One and One for ALL - Happy Thanksgiving from the AVLS Family!

The AVLS is like an extended family of first and second cousins from all over the world. We keep in touch all year long and come together once a year for a family reunion at Annual Congress. We are so thankful to have you as a part of our family!

What Draws Members to the American Vein & Lymphatic Society (AVLS)?

Think back to your first day of medical school.  How did you feel sitting in that cold auditorium, goosebumps on your arms (maybe from the cold….maybe from the excitement), knowing you were about to start a lifelong journey full of discovery and change?  Did you feel full of spirit and fire, thinking you might change the course of medicine in the way Louis Pasteur or Osler once did? With each new year, you entered the classroom, and eventually, the hospitals and offices, more confident, armed with your newfound knowledge and ideas on how you would make history.

For many of us, that feeling got lost along the path of discovery, somewhere between specialization and documentation.  The farther down that path we went, the narrower our focus, until eventually, you felt like you had blinders on and no ability to see the world of medicine around you.  The longer you spent on your chosen path, the harder it became to imagine a life outside of those four walls.  That is how I felt…until I discovered the world of venous and lymphatic disease!

What is Venous and Lymphatic Disease?

The first answer that may come to your mind is: the treatment of varicose veins.  If this is your answer, let me welcome you to the AVLS and the great wide world of venous and lymphatic disease! Be prepared to get those old familiar goosebumps.  Varicose veins are just a small part of what lies beneath.  Understanding the pathophysiology of chronic venous insufficiency, how it leads to macro and microscopic skin changes resulting in lymphedema, and how supra-inguinal venous disease leads to chronic venous leg ulcers is just the beginning of a new world through which you can help chart the course of medicine.  Like Pasteur and Osler, you could help conquer a disease that has plagued men and women since the ancient Egyptians and Hippocrates tried their hand at a cure.

What Does AVLS Do?

The AVLS has three primary missions: education, advocacy, and research.  Imagine, if you will, most of the nation’s academic and private vein practices coming together to pool their knowledge, skills, and expertise.  On the research side, we have our national registry.  Members are welcomed into the registry to pool our data and publish our findings.  You can choose your participation level from merely providing data to being a lead author on a research project.  On the education side, we offer courses year-round for those new to the field or those just wanting to hone their skills.  We also provide didactic sessions at our annual conferences.  Will you be taking a course or teaching it?  I can’t wait to find out! Finally, the advocacy component.  Members who volunteer their time in advocacy are the “unsung heroes” to the doctors, patients, and the field of venous and lymphatic disease in general.  These members work tirelessly, night and day, reviewing insurance LCDs and setting up meetings with Medicare and commercial payers to educate them on our patients’ needs. They write/revise proposals more reflective of the current research and knowledge base in our field.  If you think you have what it takes to be a hero, we have a chair waiting for you!

How Does Being a Member of AVLS Change Your Life?

AVLS is a unique society composed of members from a wide variety of specialty backgrounds.  No other medical field or medical society has the scope and breadth of education as the group’s combined members.  Taking the blinders off and seeing a disease process through the eyes of so many different specialties can breathe new life into a stale and rote existence.  Going a step further and adding your unique knowledge and talents to this group will energize you and remind you of those early medical school days.

Take a moment to say hello and introduce yourself to your AVLS family if you haven’t already on the MAC, an online community just for members of the AVLS to ask questions and discuss the intricacies of venous and lymphatic medicine.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all my extended family at the AVLS, and I hope to see you at our next “family reunion” on Oct. 7-10, 2021, in Denver, CO.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dr. Zoe Deol
Chair, AVLS Membership Standing Committee
AVLS Board of Directors