by Gunhild Waldemar
The Liaison Committee assists the Management Committee in liaising with other professional and lay organizations as well as with the communication strategy. In 1998 at the 3rd Congress of the EFNS in Seville, Spain Professor Jes Olesen, who was then EFNS president, highlighted the importance of this committee’s work. The liaison work was initiated in recognition of the need to develop friendly relations – and explore the potentials of collaborating – with a wide range of other societies with similar or overlapping goals. In 2003 the European Union Affairs Committee and the Liaison Committee were merged to the Liaison and European Affairs Committee. After the EFNS spread its support and activities beyond the boarders of Europe, namely with activities in the Mediterranean area and in Sub-Saharan Africa, the committee was renamed from “Liaison and European Affairs Committee” again into Liaison Committee starting in 2010, and its chairperson being a member of the Management Committee. Since its start Eveline Sipido from the EFNS administration has taken responsibility for the administrative and organisational work of the committee and she has created and maintained excellent networking with the many collaborating societies together with the chairpersons.
There are many societies with whom the EFNS-ENS collaborates: world-wide organizations (such as the World Federation of Neurology – WFN and World Health Organisation – WHO), neurological organisations in other parts of the world (such as the Pan African Association of Neurological Societies – PAANS, Pan-Arab Union of Neurological Societies – PAUNS), other societies in Europe (such as the European Brain Council – EBC, and the Association of Young Neurologists – EAYNT), and disease-specific societies in Europe (such as the Movement Disorder Society – MDS-ES, European Federation of Autonomic Societies – EFAS, European Headache Society – EHF etc), as well as patient organisations and allied health professionals (European Federation of Neurological Associations – EFNA). The Liaison Committee has appointed representatives to oversee each of these collaborations. Furthermore, the committee has prepared policy papers for the collaboration with disease specific societies (such as for instance the Movement Disorder Society) and for endorsement of other socities.
One of the most important liaison acitivites of the committee under the chairmanship of Jes Olesen, was the foundation of the European Brain Council (EBC) in 2002. EBC is a coordinating council formed by European organisations in neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, basic brain research (neuroscience), as well as patient organisations and industry. The EBC is eminently suited to work in close partnership with the European Union commissions and the European Parliament, as well as other decision-making bodies. The mission of the EBC is to promote brain research in Europe and to improve the quality of life of those living with brain diseases. The EBC has produced the very significant reports on Cost of disorders of the brain in Europe 2005 and 2010, highlighting the enormous cost to society of neurological and psychiatric brain disorders and the need to invest in more research.
Another important liaison task was the initiation of collaboration with the European Neurological Society (ENS) with the aim to merge the two societies into one: the European Academy of Neurology (EAN), which will be formally established in June 2014. The merging process has been developed and overlooked by a dedicated ”Transitional Task Force” since 2010. Consequently, in 2012 representatives from the ENS were invited to joint EFNS Liaison Committee, which was renamed EFNS/ENS Liaison Committee. The committee will prepare proposals for the liaison and communication strategy of the EAN.
Dissemination of information and knowledge and the opportunity for members to communicate with each other are important elements in the advancement of neurology in Europe. The websites of EFNS and ENS as well as the congresses are immense platforms of communication for neurologists in Europe and worldwide. Neuropenews, the EFNS online magazine, which was initiated in 2011 by David B Vodusek and Gian Luigi Lenzi, reaches out to thousands of neurologists all over the globe. Neuropenews will soon become the common newsletter for EFNS and ENS – on their road towards the formation of EAN in 2014.
Members of the EFNS-ENS Liaison Committee
The Liaison Committee brings in expertise from other organizations and from other EFNS committees as well. Currently the following are members:
Claudio Bassetti (ENS), Switzerland
Murat Emre, Turkey
Jose Ferro (ENS), Lisbon
Nils Erik Gilhus, Norway
Gian Luigi Lenzi, Italy
Wolfgang Oertel, Germany
Balthasar Schaap (EFNA), The Netherlands
Erich Schmutzhard, Austria
Laszlo Sztriha (EAYNT), United Kingdom
Jean-Michel Vallat, France
Marianne De Visser, The Netherlands
David B Vodusek, Slovenia
Gunhild Waldemar, Denmark (chairperson)
Eveline Sipido, Italy (administrative assistant)
1991-1995: Johan A. Aarli, Norway
1995-1997: Jean-Marc Orgogozo, France
1998-2003: Natan Bornstein, Israel
2003-2009: Jes Olesen, Denmark
2009-2014: Gunhild Waldemar, Denmark
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any proposals for co-operation and communication initiatives.
Contact: Eveline Sipido: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gunhild Waldemar is Chairperson of the EFNS/ENS Liaison Committee and member of the EFNS/ENS Transitional Task Force. She is Professor of Neurology in Copenhagen, Denmark.