Presidential Address 2018
EuGMS Presidential Address by Prof Finbarr C Martin
I send greetings to the board members and national societies of the EuGMS. This is my first message to you since taking on the presidency in January. I would like to thank my predecessor Stefania Maggi for being such an excellent president from 2016-17 and the guidance she gives me to continue the work. We also have the support of the talented executive board, which combines the continuity of several experienced officers – treasurers Jean Petermans and Leo Boelaarts and general secretary Anne Ekdahl – with new members Sofia Duque as web and social media secretary, academic director Mirko Petrovic and special adviser Cornel Sieber. Plus Athanase Benetos, who has completed four successful years as academic director but thankfully, remains as president-elect.
So, on this board we have colleagues working in Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Sweden and the UK. Remarkably however, if we include their countries of origin we could add Denmark, Switzerland, Greece and Serbia. This is as it needs to be as EuGMS develops into a truly pan European organization.
Promoting this spread and diversity is one of themes of our work in the coming few years. Athanase Benetos will be leading this “Global European Initiative” and has an international team including members from South and Eastern Europe to help. The idea is to identify how we can spread geriatric medical expertise (our central mission) through education and training, policy advice and encouragement of young geriatrician researchers to find collaborators and to become part of the scientific life of EuGMS. Regional meetings are part of this approach. Last year we held a symposium in Athens to coincide with our Summer Executive board, and we will do the same in Krakow, Poland this year in preparation for next year’s annual Congress there.
Another theme is to collaborate with international organizations who share our objectives. Following the World Health Organization (WHO or OMS) report on Ageing and Health (2015) and subsequent World Health Assembly (2016), most countries signed up to a strategic vision to align their health services to meet the changing needs of older people as a result of demographic transitions. This year we will be working with WHO and IAGG to develop a tool to help countries measure health changes (intrinsic capacity) which precede functional decline, with a view to implementing clinical interventions to slow or stop these changes. Unfortunately, many countries in Europe do not yet have a plan to put the WHO vision into practice. So, we plan to work with Civil Society agencies to produce a simple “manifesto” of key evidence-based health service interventions to put some flesh on the vision of age attuning healthcare.
We realize that a key priority is improving communication between EuGMS members. This means improving our website and social media activity and you’ll be hearing much more about this later in the year. Meanwhile, much of the efforts of the EuGMS boards, with the secretariat and PCO, will be devoted as usual to making a success of our annual Congress in Berlin, October 10-12th and to help develop our journal European Geriatric Medicine (http://www.eugms.org/publications/egm.html) in its first year with the new publisher, Springer.
What can you do? Submit your work to EGM. Upload your abstract for Congress (deadline is May 15th). Register to attend.
See you in Berlin.
Finbarr C Martin, President 2018-19.