5th symposium

The 5th International Symposium on Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders was held at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, WI from April 4, 2003 to April 7, 2003. Noted international experts in the field of functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders presented new and developing knowledge for the benefit of investigators, health care providers, and ultimately patients.

The biennial meeting is sponsored by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) and the Office of Continuing Medical Education of the University of Wisconsin Medical School, in cooperation with the Functional Brain-Gut Research Group (FBG).

There is a growing understanding of the multi-faceted nature of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Symptoms, behaviors, and treatment outcomes for individuals with these disorders relate to disturbances in gastrointestinal motility and sensation that is effected by interactions that take place via the brain-gut axis.

To understand and study these conditions, physicians and researchers must become familiar with new and evolving knowledge that integrates basic science, physiology, clinical medicine, and psychology.

This Symposium was developed to enhance the knowledge and skills of physicians, psychologists, nurses, and allied health professionals in their care of patients with functional GI disorders.

For the first time we included a one-half day symposium dedicated exclusively to pediatric functional GI disorders, and notably there was a large proportion of pediatric gastroenterologists that attended this meeting.

The sessions provided participants with opportunities to learn about advances in the pathophysiology of the functional gastrointestinal disorders; learn about newer technologies involved with diagnostic assessment of the functional GI disorders;develop clinical skills in the diagnosis and care of patients with functional GI disorders; develop strategies and skills relating to patient-centered care in order to improve patient satisfaction, adherence, and clinical outcome; and share information and experiences with other conference participants.


In addition to the general (plenary) sessions, there were numerous small group sessions that included luncheon presentations with the presenters, and workshops on design of treatment trials, patient interview techniques, case study sessions, psychological testing and treatment, brain imaging, basic aspects of the brain-gut axis, and alternative-integrative medicine.

There was remarkable energy among the participants, as well as a high degree and quality of scientific and social interactions that made the meeting memorable. We extend our thanks to the IFFGD staff, the Wisconsin CME office, and the symposium planning committee for a remarkable symposium.

Read a report with highlights from the meeting

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“We’ve seen a vast improvement in the overall funding of research in the area of GI and functional disorders.

We just want to thank you for all of your efforts that you’ve done behind the scenes in order to make a difference in the lives of so many of our patients.”

– Frank Hamilton, M.D.

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