Our History

Our history


Michel CremerThe Department of Gastroenterology of Erasme University Hospital was founded in 1977. This was the pioneering times of therapeutic endoscopy and Michel Cremer, who was the Chief of Department at that time, felt the need for providing education through live demonstrations in an area which was dramatically changing patient’s management. It was impossible to accomodate many observers in the rooms of therapeutic endoscopy and creating a Workshop of Endoscopy and Endotherapy allowed to provide teaching to many peoples while keeping the possibility for close interaction.

The first live course was held in Brussels in June 1982 in a technical environment which had nothing to do with the current one.  Organised by an enthusiastic group of physicians, technicians and nurses, it already gathered more than 200 people. Given this initial success, the meeting thereafter was organised every year, now since 36 years. The Auditorium of the Faculty of Medicine becoming too small, the Workshop migrated to the Congress Centre downtown in the mid-nineties and to the Exhibition Centre in early 2000, where it is still organised.

Michel CREMER retired in 1998 (and unfortunately passed away in 2008), but his heritage was maintained by his former group over the years.

The Department of Gastroenterology has become much larger and includes Hepatology, Transplantation, Pancreatology, Digestive Oncology and Digestive Surgery, offering an ideal platform for teaching the integrated management of patients with GI diseases.
This is the reason why the name of our annual congress was changed in the early 2000 into “GastroEnterology and Endotherapy Workshop” (GEEW) to stress the role of endoscopy and endotherapy as a tool of integrated medical-surgical gastroenterology practice.

The purpose of this meeting is to offer an overview of all the techniques of diagnostic and therapy involving endoscopy, which may be offered to patients with GI, liver, pancreatic or oncological diseases. These live demonstrations are always performed together by members of our team in collaboration with the most respected and recognized international Faculty members. Patients are always considered with the highest respect and perfectly informed about the purpose of their treatment and involvement of foreign Faculty as a plus for their optimal management.

Practice is one thing but science is another important one ; this is for this reason that “State-of-the-Art Lectures” of highest quality are integrated during the meeting.  During live demonstrations, to favour discussion and perfect information, the latest results of medical litterature are shown and discussed.

The GEEW is organised in a small country and therefore, even if it attracts gastroenterologists, nurses and surgeons from Belgium, its attendance is coming from abroad for more than 80%. The majority of our attendees are coming from Europe and the Middle East and we regularly count between 50 and 60 countries represented. Partnership with the Industry has been very helpful and participation of all companies is welcome allowing to offer the most unbiased overview on the quality of instruments, endoscopes and technologies. Ideally scheduled during the year, shortly after Digestive Disease Week, this is also an unique opportunity to demonstrate the novel techniques which may improve management of patients.

Over these years, we have been indebted to our patients who accepted to be treated in the setting of these live demonstrations and highly appreciated the quality of care.

The 2 last strengths of this meeting are the technical team, which has been managed by the same people over 37 years, that means that they know perfectly what should be shown in order to improve the quality of teaching and the administrative organisation, which is taken in charge by Nancy Beauprez and a small team since 22 years, to the satisfaction of everyone.

The feedback of participants has always been welcome and extremely useful in improving our performance, interaction between expert faculties and attendees being the cornerstone of this meeting.

We are looking forward to seeing you again in June 2020.

Jacques Devière, M.D., Ph.D.
Head of Department and Course Director