It’s a pleasure to briefly explain why I am applying for the position of the President of the EAN. The most important attraction is to form this new European Academy of Neurology as a strong organization. I am sure that this will move Neurology in Europe into a pole position.
I have not been a leader in one of the two European Societies which are founding the EAN today. I was serving as a president for my national Society and internationally for one of the largest international subspecialty Societies, the Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. Otherwise, I am heading a University Department in Kiel, Germany, and I am doing my clinical duties both for inpatient and outpatient care as a general neurologist and clinician. My research field is movement disorders where I have contributed to the classification of tremors and I lead a large research group on deep brain stimulation of movement disorders which has done several pivotal studies in the field.
This Society cannot be led by an individual subject; instead we need a truly European board which you will choose today. I am a team-worker and where I work I try to build up this spirit. In this board I would like to act as the president and stand as a European for the idea of a European Neurology. As an individual I remain a German and I don’t feel bad for this – although frankly spoken I often have more sympathy with the German football team than with German politics.
This organization will represent 19.000 European Neurologists. You have been elected as the leaders of these 19.000. Our countries together have more than 400 million Europeans. And these 19.000 are serving this large population. We have different cultures in these different countries and we don’t want to make them all equal but we want to stand together to define what neurological standards are. Therefore the guidelines of the European Academy are so important. If we have well defined and justified guidelines we can go back to our national health systems and negotiate for ways how they can be transferred into clinical practice in our countries. On the long run we may even develop models for health care in different settings as we did in the past for example for the stroke units.
In order to unify European Neurology we also need modern teaching with all the e-learning facilities which are nowadays available. We have very different standards in the European countries and it will be one of the major goals to develop educational tools for all these needs. Education always needs exchange and the already existing exchange programs of Neurologists should be extended.
The EAN is not coming out of the blue. Two excellent Societies have done very successful congresses; excellent education and translational research were among their strengths. These strengths need to be integrated into this new Society although with a duty for reconsideration. There is another leftover of these two Societies which are the bylaws of the EAN. I don’t know if you have studied them but in my view this is a masterpiece of farsightedness and vision. The new board will simply have to implement all of this – but this is not easy and will be the challenge of the next years.
There are many more topics which I would like to address, like the congress which is the most important annual event of this Society, the European Association of Young Neurologists and Trainees, the Journal which will be the flagship of this Society or the lobbying for research money and better support for neurological care in Brussels.
But given the time constraints just let me touch one last aspect. We want to be on par with other Societies and we should not be shy in setting the aim high: America has 280 million inhabitants and the AAN is taking care of them. Europe has 400 million inhabitants and we are happy that we have now one united EAN which will take care of Europe. I am available for this job with my heart and my brain.
Thank you very much!
Prof. Dr. Günther Deuschl