Presidential Address 2020
Welcome address Prof. Athanase Benetos – President 2020-2021
Dear colleagues, dear friends, I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2020.
This new year marks the beginning of the 3rd decade of our century which has been designed by the WHO as the Decade of Healthy Ageing 2020-2030. Following the WHO “a decade of concerted and sustained collaboration to develop Healthy Ageing is needed to shift population ageing from a challenge to an opportunity”.
I believe we all agree that this is a great challenge for the EuGMS. We must ask ourselves how the academic representative of the European Geriatric Medicine Society can contribute to this common and coordinated action in favor of older people. I believe that it depends above all on strengthening our Society mainly in five domains:
1. The European Geriatric Medicine Society should represent the totality of European Countries. The last 2 years we initiated the Global European Initiative (GEI) in order to actively include in the EuGMS, Academic Societies and individuals interested in Geriatric medicine, the totality of the 53 European Countries defined by the WHO. This initiative has already produced very encouraging results: 5 Academic societies from new countries applied to be members of the EuGMS, several physicians from these countries already participate in the different academic activities of our Society (Congress, SIG, international meetings, workshops, the EGM journal), while representatives of the EuGMS have been invited in National Geriatric Meetings.
2. The EuGMS should promote, launch, coordinate and perform educational programs adapted to each country, thus contributing to the development of the geriatric knowledge not only for physicians but for all other health professionals. To this purpose, we have developed our website as very strong tool hosting specialised and exclusive geriatric contents and boosting networking opportunities.
3. The EuGMS should have a very active role in the field of clinical research by initiating and coordinating clinical survey, epidemiological studies and randomized experiments and disseminating their results. This is the only way to promote scientific evidence for preventive, therapeutic and palliative strategies especially for the very old and frail subjects i.e. those who have always been excluded from the clinical research.
4. The EuGMS should have a more active role in the different International and European Organisations and other policymakers in order to develop health actions for the older and sensitize the public on geriatric issues.
5. Finally, we have to organise a successful annual Congress. The 2020 Congress, which will take place in Athens, will be a highlight in the life of our Society. The annual EuGMS congress is a growing international event with more than 60 countries represented worldwide. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the participants come from west European and north European countries, which are the historical pillars of our Society. With their support, these recent years, our efforts have focused on countries without established geriatric medicine. The Executive Board of our Society took all the necessary measures to enable the participation of people from nations with less available facilities by proposing special registration fees for several categories of participants and a large number of grants for young participants with high level submitted works. The EuGMS Athens 2020, will build bridges between north, south, east and west. This Congress will be not only a major scientific and academic gathering but also one of friendship, conviviality and sharing for all participants. This is why the Athens2020 Congress in addition to the high level Scientific program aspires to accomplish an equally high level cultural and social program.
The Challenge of the Decade of Healthy Ageing 2020-2030 is a great opportunity for multiple common actions among the National Societies and among the geriatricians and other health professionals all over Europe. Our force is your active participation and involvement. The EuGMS will make every effort to play its European role and coordinate these initiatives and actions.
I am convinced that 2020 will be a great year for the development of the Geriatric approach and of our Society throughout Europe.
Prof. Athanase Benetos, President 2020-2021