by Irena Rektorova, EAN Education Committee Chair
Dear EAN Members, colleagues, and friends,
I am delighted to be addressing you for the first time as a member of the EAN Board. It is a great honour for me to take on the position of EAN Education Committee Chair and follow in the footsteps of Hannah Cock and Riccardo Soffietti, who have conceived, established, and built upon so many fantastic projects for the EAN. The harmonisation of education in neurology across Europe remains one of the EAN’s most important objectives and although there are obstacles on the path to that aim, it is ultimately at the core of everything the EAN Education Committee does. The standard for leading this branch of EAN activity has been set exceptionally high, but it is a privilege to take on this challenge.
Having already been a member of the EAN Education Committee as Chair of the Teaching Course Sub-Committee for two years, it has been my pleasure to play a part in maintaining and increasing some of the range of educational opportunities we offer. A huge amount of work has gone into keeping all events up to our high EAN standards over the last two years, as we navigated the global pandemic, during which so many events were held virtually — but the Education Committee, led by Riccardo Soffietti, has also managed to create and start several new initiatives during that time that are already proving successful.
In 2021, the Student Teaser Fellowship was launched, from which we now have the first reports from grantees. The feedback within these first-hand accounts shows how much this opportunity is appreciated as a way of giving medical students a fully immersive experience of day-to-day practice in neurology.
The Mentorship Programme for junior neurologists also began last year, originating from a proposal by our very own Residents & Research Fellows Section (RRFS). With 39 pairs of mentors and mentees being matched so far, this has also proven to be an excellent idea, as we begin to observe the positive feedback and outcomes from the programme.
Of course, I must also mention our greatest new achievement: the online learning platform, eanCampus. Barbara Tettenborn, the platform’s Editor-in-Chief, and her team of associate editors, along with the eLearning sub-committee, head office staff, and EAN Scientific Panels have all contributed to this and I hope you will appreciate its content and enjoy the full extent of this learning resource. New content is being uploaded constantly, with new episodes of our podcast airing every Monday, new webinars being scheduled, and masterclasses being added regularly. Click here to find out more
On a personal note, one of the projects I have been most closely involved in has been undertaken by the Teaching Course Sub-Committee. The sub-committee has reviewed past congress content with reference to the newly updated European Training Requirements for Neurology, to ensure that future educational sessions at the EAN Annual Congress will cover the necessary content over the course of five years, in addition, of course, to the many other emerging teaching requirements.
As well as all of these additions to the EAN’s educational catalogue, there are many longstanding courses, sessions and grants we offer, some of which were even launched by the EAN’s predecessor societies, EFNS and ENS (see our Archive for more info). During the past seven years, EAN has kept those initiatives running, and raised them up to a new level, thanks in part to the great involvement of the RRFS. Both previous Education Committee Chairs have been fantastic in heading all of these projects and keeping the EAN quality standard so high – not to forget the amazing support of the head office team.
My role now is to continue the great work already in progress, finalise initiatives that have been started, and pursue new ones that are needed. For example, we now have a task force working on a pre-graduate curriculum, which can eventually be used as a recommendation and guidance paper for our many neurological member societies and medical universities when looking at teaching in neurology. The EAN felt that the pre-graduate curriculum would be a natural successor to the residency curriculum (ETRN) but with a slightly different aim. The European Training Requirements in Neurology are more detailed, with the EBN examination serving as the final test of knowledge. We will look deeper into what is needed for students and what the EAN can do in addition to the options we already offer.
Finally, everyone on the Education Committee is extremely happy that our Spring, Autumn, and Science Schools are back with face-to-face courses. After two years of holding these events online only, it is lovely to be able to bring participants together in person again, as they are so often the start of great networks and lifelong friendships.
The next deadlines on the horizon are 15 September for the Mentorship Programme matching round, and 31 October for the Clinical Fellowship applications. Please pass these dates on to your colleagues! And keep an eye out for our quarterly education newsletter in your inbox, compiling all the latest announcements, deadlines and reports, just for our neurologists in training.
Until next time, I wish you all a pleasant end to the summer.
Chair of the EAN Education Committee