Message from the President

By: John Blebea, MD, MBA - AVF President

Our 27th Annual Meeting, recently concluded in Palm Springs, California, was a wonderful experience for the more than 540 members, guests and exhibitors who attended. If you missed it, plan on joining us next year in Orlando, Florida! Although inevitably doing a disservice to the many aspects of the meeting for which there is not enough room to mention, I would like to comment on several personal highlights.

Scientific Program  

As always, the scientific program was excellent with a breadth and depth that provided everyone, no matter how experienced, with something new to think about and raising additional questions to be explored in the future. The David S. Sumner Venous Summit on office based vein centers, the Villavicencio Symposium on the future of venous care and the Strandness Memorial Lecture, presented by Andrei L. Kindzelski, MD PhD of the NIH, provided a stimulating preparation for the main scientific program and the Specialty Symposia. The good news is that all of these presentations will soon be available, for the first time, for all registered attendees to review on the web. So if you missed a particular presentation (where you at the pool or on the golf course?), you will now have a chance to see it at your convenience. We hope to make this a part of all future meetings and, for a fee, available to those who could not attend the annual meeting.

Social Program  

From its inception, the American Venous Forum has been a place where friendships have been initiated and grown through the years. Our members and guests attend the meeting not just for its scientific and educational offerings but because of the opportunity to meet again in wonderful locations and to socialize with our professional colleagues who have also become our close friends. This year built upon that tradition by expanding the spouse social program and a very memorable gala dinner which included a live auction which will not soon be forgotten. For golf fans, novice and near pro, our first Venous Open golf tournament was a tremendous success enjoyed by 63 golfers and we look forward to an even bigger event next year!

Strategic Goals  

Both the Board of Directors of the American Venous Forum and the AVF Foundation met during the annual meeting. As would be expected, a variety of matters were discussed and debated. Among the most important was the official acceptance of the recommendations made at the strategic retreat held in Chicago on December 12, 2014. These recommendations provide the blueprint for the activities of our Society during the next 3 – 5 years and their implementation will be our focus during the upcoming year. If you have a particular experience, interest, or skill in any of these areas, please contact us and let us know how you would like to participate. The principle goals are:

  1. Scientific/Educational
    1. Increase awareness of AVF and venous disease among health care professionals and patients
    2. Increase research in venous disease
    3. Continue to increase physician and industry attendance at AVF Annual Meetings


  1. Financial/Membership
    1. Increase financial reserves through strong partnering with the AVFF
    2. Double membership in three years
    3. Increase the professional diversity of the AVF membership


  1. Strategic Positioning for the Future
    1. Define formal relationships with additional professional societies in areas of mutual interest
    2. Improve the representation of AVF within JVS-VL
    3. Improve the quality of venous care in America


  1. Advancing AVF Leadership in Health Policy
    1. Strengthen our visibility and become the expert referral society for venous and lymphatic disease with the FDA, CMS, 3rd party payors, RUC, and MEDCAC
    2. Become the leading organization in writing and/or updating guidelines and evidence summaries, with two new or updated guidelines drafted within one year and six new or updated guidelines drafted within three years
    3. Develop outcome studies from the VQI venous dataset, with a study on the first module in year one and a report on all other modules within three years
    4. Develop reporting standards and evidence summaries with one set of standards developed within one year and three sets developed within the next three years
    5. Become a clearing house for insurance and government issues related to venous and lymphatic disease


The Annual Meeting was an opportunity for our Society to thank Dr. Fedor Lurie for the wonderful leadership that he has provided the AVF during the past year. Recognizing his organizational talents, and not wishing to let him rest, the American Venous Forum Foundation voted him as its new president, following in the able footsteps of Dr. Peter Pappas who had served in that role for the prior two years. Within the AVF, Dr. Lowell Kabnick was voted president-elect, Dr. Marc Passman is the new vice-president, he was replaced as treasurer by Dr. B K Lal while Dr. Elna Masuda continues in her second year as secretary.

I wish to express my deep felt gratitude to the members of the American Venous Forum for being selected as the newest President of the AVF. It is indeed humbling for me to join the company of the prior leaders of our organization who were also such visionaries in the field of venous disease. During the next year, I pledge my dedication and commitment to the AVF to build upon their prior success and continue toward our vision to save and improve lives by reducing venous and lymphatic disease through education, innovative research and advocacy. This is not the work, however, of the president alone nor the board of directors of the AVF but of all of our members and our friends. Particularly as you review our Strategic Goals, if you have a particular interest or skill in any of these areas, please contact me and let me know. There is much to be done and participation will not be limited to our officers or committee members. I would love to hear from you!

Looking forward to the year ahead and in service to our members, friends and patients,

Sincerely yours,

John Blebea MD MBA


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