The neurology world changed dramatically since I became website editor in chief in 2015. Joining the EAN in its infancy, just after it was founded in 2014, it was an exceptional creative time to build on the foundations of the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS) and the European Neurological Society (ENS) a joint society. Starting to develop the new website opened a great opportunity of scientific and – with today’s perspective – personal development. Identifying topics which reflect our ambition and attract not only our members but neurologists all over the world, we started many initiatives including the guideline reference center, neurology updates and breaking news, resources such as registrars reading list as well as scales and scores. Together with the EANpages editor in chief, Prof Elena Moro and later on Dr Thomas Jenkins, and the e-communication editorial board, we focused particularly on contact and connecting with our members. Website and EANpages are the home of neurology outside of our congress days. To provide networking opportunities we developed the members’ area of the website, including spaces and groups allowing communication within preexisting organizational structures, such as committees and scientific panels, but also individual groups. Adding the option of web-conferencing for all members should stimulate communication between members and beyond to enhance clinical and scientific exchange. We did not know at the time how important this would become.
Within the years, activities of scientific panels, education and scientific committees increased and so did the content on the website. Not to forget the EAN congress and the European Journal of Neurology, which were embedded with their websites into the ean.org web structure. The Home of Neurology at the tip of your fingers.
The pandemic changed the world early on last year. Whilst the first wave was hitting Europe, the existing structures and web resources allowed to react very quickly. EANcore COVID-19 was set up within days with the help of the EANcore COVID-19 taskforce, the EAN Board and the Scientific Panels. To have response and support from hundreds of neurologists in Europe within days was an exceptional experience. In parallel, the Paris congress was changed to the virtual congress, the first of its kind, which was only possible as we had previously provided the online structure with webcasts, and online streaming for our meeting even in a much smaller scale. However, the virtual congress was a master achievement of the Programme Committee and the headoffice! We are still fighting the pandemic all over the world and at present most parts of Europe are in lock down. Although our initial aim was to support clinical neurologists with information on neurological aspects of the pandemic and COVID-19 (e.g. EAN survey and EAN recommendations) during a time with almost no evidence available, we are now supporting navigation through the emerging and quickly rising flood of scientific information on the disease. Since the end of last year, vaccination is a hot topic as well. We will only beat the pandemic if people are motivated for vaccination on scientific grounds and if we see this on a global perspective. Within EAN we have further built solidarity during the pandemic. EAN website is even more our home of neurology, as we do not know yet, when meetings in person will be possible again.
It has been a joy to see more and more activities relating to our online resources, which also includes more input from many sources within EAN. There are several exciting developments in preparation. I will not give away the details but I can reassure you that online resources of ean.org will grow exponentially with exceptional new features.
At this point, it is my pleasure to hand over the website editor in chief to Dr Thomas Jenkins, who has successfully developed EANpages over the last couple of years. Moreover, I am honored to be invited to serve as co-chair of the Communication Committee. I have to thank all members of the e-communication editorial board and all staff from head office! We would not have accomplished all these tasks without the input and commitment of each and every one of you. In my new role, I will focus together with the communication committee chair Prof Dafin Muresanu on the wider aspect of communication and of course continue to support the e-communication agenda.
Priv-Doz Dr Tim J von Oertzen, FRCP, FEAN
Co-chair Communication Committee