Academic Director address 2024 by Nathalie van der Velde

Dear colleagues,

After serving the European Geriatrics Medicine Society in various capacities, I am thrilled to step into the role of Academic Director of the EuGMS for the 2024-2025 term and thus further expand my contributions to our EuGMS community and the development of our specialty. With gratitude and enthusiasm, I share with you my vision and key priorities for advancement of our field of Geriatric Medicine and our society in the coming years.

I care deeply about the development of Geriatric Medicine in Europe, particularly its academic aspects. Given the significant disparities in the care for older people across countries and regions, investing in knowledge dissemination and implementation is high on my priority list. Building on the excellent initiatives of previous boards, I believe that European collaboration in sharing knowledge and reducing these differences remain a priority. I will ensure to promote and facilitate partnerships and teamwork, and specifically invest in actions to encourage young geriatricians and professionals from countries where geriatrics is emerging to engage and to support development of their skills and networks. The EuGMS, and particularly the Academic Board, serves as a crucial vehicle for facilitating and supporting knowledge dissemination and collaboration in Europe, thus elevating our field and thus the care of our older, frail patient group to the next level.

Of course a major task and priority is, as always, supervising the organisation and programming of the Annual Congress. This is certainly a team effort, which will be done in close collaboration with the Academic Board as well as the Executive Board led by our president Mirko Petrovic, the local boards and our valued partner ARISTEA. Next to scientific excellence, our focus in the coming years will be on ensuring the sustainability of our congress. Also diversity, accessibility and digitalisation will be high on the agenda.

Another priority is consolidating the recent professionalization of the special interest groups (SIGs) and the Task & Finish groups, enhancing their structure and functioning. As the Academic Board, we will invest in and encourage the collaboration and interaction within and between the groups and with other societies. We aim to work closely to operationalise and implement the professionalized policy, encouraging and supporting productivity in terms of academic contributions such as knowledge dissemination activities and scientific output. In this endeavour, alongside ensuring dynamic collaboration, we will foster commitment, transparency and autonomy, and, most importantly, enthusiasm and passion.

To further boost the impact and the visibility of the accomplishments of our society and its members, I will collaborate closely with our Communication and Website Director, Sofia Duque, who has played a key role in the development of our soon-to-be-launched new and improved website as well as our social media strategy.

Joining forces with our newly appointed Research Director, Graziano Onder, and our Research Liaison Officer, Georg Ruppe, along with the other members of the Executive and Academic boards, I am committed to building a strategy that supports and strengthens our scientific collaborations and achievements in our field. This will include defining clear goals and priorities, implementing strategic

actions and fostering and nurturing emerging talents while keeping diversity and equity in mind. Additionally, investing in incorporating patients’ views and patient empowerment, as well as collaboration with other disciplines, is of great importance given the complexity of our specialty.

Over the next two years, I will collaborate closely with the members of the Academic Board, of the Executive and the Full Board, and the SIGs and the other groups of the society to achieve these objectives. We will aim to expand not only the number of congress participants, website visitors and readers of our societies’ journal ‘European Geriatric Medicine’ but, most importantly, foster increased interactions and collaborations within our community and beyond, transcending geographical and professional bounders.

I wish you all a healthy, collaborative and inspiring 2024. Let’s work together to shape the future of Geriatric Medicine and strengthen the bonds within our EuGMS community. I hope to see many of you this coming September in Valencia at the EuGMS annual congress!


Prof. Nathalie van der Velde
EuGMS Academic Director (2024-2025)