A New Year message from ERS President Professor Mina Gaga
2 January, 2018
“I would like to begin by wishing you all a very happy new year and a positive start to 2018.
“The start of a new year is always an excellent time for reflection and I would like to take this opportunity to briefly look back at some of the European Respiratory Society’s (ERS) achievements in 2017, and to highlight some of the activities and opportunities coming up in the next 12 months.
“We have had a very successful year: we had the great pleasure of presenting the 27th ERS International Congress in Milan in September, with over 22,000 of you in attendance; the 15th Lung Science Conference, to young scientists and researchers; the 4th Sleep and Breathing conference in collaboration with the European Sleep Research Society (ESRS), offering an integrated approach to the investigation and treatment of sleep disorders; and we also introduced a new event called ERS Respiratory Updates, consisting of comprehensive clinical updates in respiratory medicine – accessible in person or online. These events happened alongside a full-year programme of educational courses and a range of research seminars – all located throughout Europe.
“Outside of our events, 2017 brought some significant milestones for us: the European Respiratory Journal’s impact factor increased from 8.332 to 10.569; the number of official documents such as Clinical Practice Guidelines produced by ERS/joint ERS Task Forces also increased when compared to 2016; the 2017 ERS HERMES examinations had the highest number of participants to date; and we created two new ERS Assemblies catering to the needs of patients and to emerging trends in research and treatment in respiratory disease.
“We continued to support our community by offering funding and collaboration opportunities in the form of fellowships and with initiatives such as the clinical research collaboration (CRC), which funds a network of researchers, within ERS and externally, to work on projects to improve knowledge in respiratory health and medicine. We also continued to invest in education, which is pivotal for our members and our society: our e-learning resources further developed in 2017 – including the addition of new CME online modules and the relaunch of Respipedia with new features. And we have begun working towards gamifying education, that is providing education that is high-quality and also interactive and fun.
“The joint ERS/European Lung Foundation (ELF) Healthy Lungs for Life campaign focused on smoking cessation as part of the wider Breathe Clean Air theme in 2017. Alongside the latest research on this topic presented at Congress, we received worldwide media coverage and advocated for changes in behaviours and policy.
“As part of our commitment to advocacy, which remains a key pillar of ERS, we have continued to strengthen our partnerships with European and international organisations, and ELF has achieved excellent strides in ensuring that the voice of the patient is heard – through facilitating patient involvement in the ERS Congress, in ERS Task Forces and other projects where patient input and participation is essential. ELF has also continued to be a guiding light for people with respiratory issues, ensuring that the latest information is available to them; there are now 42 different patient factsheets in 27 different languages; dedicated patient information websites on occupational lung health, bronchiectasis and lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM); and information on travelling by air with a lung condition has been further developed in 2017.
“Above are just a few highlights, but the developments and successes of 2017 are, I think, inspiring. We are a bustling community, we have dedicated members and staff, we provide high-quality education, facilitate and publish research of a high standard, and we fight for excellent care. We want to continue and get even better by adapting to the changes, needs and possibilities in our world.
“2018 and my presidency mark the start of a new ERS strategic plan for 2018-2025. We will be analysing the trends and changes in our environment and will plan our actions to meet the emerging needs of our members, our patients and key stakeholders in lung health. We have already begun to collect your input through a survey – we want to know what you need and what you hope to see from the Society in the next five years. In the summer, the ERS Presidential Summit will highlight patients’ needs and bring together stakeholders for a fruitful discussion.
“The 2018 calendar is already bursting with opportunities: the next ERS International Congress will take place in Paris in September, get ready to be involved and to register! The Lung Science Conference will return for its 16th instalment in April, and some of the preparatory phases for the next Sleep and Breathing conference, such as abstract submission, will begin this year in readiness for its return in 2019. 2018 will also mark the 10th anniversary of the ERS HERMES examinations - details of the next exams and how to register will be announced early in the year.
“We are also introducing a new event this year that aims to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable to healthcare professionals across Europe. The first of these ‘ERS Satellite’ events will take place in April on the topic of severe asthma, and we hope that it will be the first of many opportunities we can provide that uses state-of-the-art live streaming technology as an effective way to share knowledge across countries.
“There are currently a number of educational courses and research seminars open for registration, with more to follow throughout the year. Fellowship, funding and research opportunities will all be announced in due course, and information on these items will be updated on our website and through our social media channels regularly.
“ERS is a very active Society and all activities, science, education and advocacy, are member-driven. I wish to ensure that every member feels that participation in our Society is rewarding, professionally and personally, and that in the very busy schedule of all, time spent with the Society is time well spent. Together, we can continue to make an impact for better lung health world-wide.
“I wish you all a wonderful 2018!”
ERS President Prof. Mina Gaga