A wonderful adventure

Béatrice Cochener-Lamard talks to EuroTimes about her experience as President of ESCRS as she approaches the end of her term in office

Dermot McGrath

Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2019

It is almost two years now since you became President of the ESCRS. How has the experience been for you overall? Has it turned out as you imagined it might be?
I confess that I put all my heart and energy into the work, giving me the impression that time has passed very quickly and will not be enough to accomplish all the projects that have sprouted, but most probably my close entourage would answer you that this mission has taken most of my time.

This is undoubtedly a wonderful adventure and I confirm that it is a privilege and an honour to serve as President of this beautiful society that is ESCRS.

I saw it as a duty to maintain our position as an academic leader in the world, to best meet the expectations of our members, and to continue to integrate innovations, develop research and charity activities, and to maintain our friendship and partnership with the international Societies.

But above all on a personal level, this presidency has given me the opportunity to meet the exceptional people that the board brings together, to develop a sincere and lasting friendship with the ESCRS Board and to build strong links with the very effective Agenda team that assists us on a daily basis. It is indeed the woven human bond that remains the primary and enduring value.

What innovations or changes in the ESCRS have you initiated or helped to initiate in your two years as president?
It would be pretentious to take credit for the developments that have been observed over the past two years, because each president follows in the footsteps of the previous one and does his or her best to continue on the path set. Moreover, he or she fulfils this task not alone but with the support of the ESCRS Board and the Agenda Communications team.

That being said, I would like to mention the main projects that have emerged under my initiative: the establishment of a strategic plan defining the main lines of development to be achieved over the next five years, the establishment of free paper forums to create a more open, intimate and rewarding space for this presentation format; this in support of the success we had recorded around presented posters and the poster village.

The introduction of the tracking badge is also part of our concern to better identify the interests of our participants. The possibility this year of identifying oneself with one’s badge is intended to meet the soon-to-be-generalised need to identify one’s individual activities and collect CME points, while respecting GDPR rules.

Research and training are very important. Talk about the recent initiatives in these areas.
We continued our support for young ophthalmologists, by focusing, beyond the specific programme dedicated to them at conferences, on optimising our website and our presence on social media. Thus, the content of symposia, surgical videos, interviews with experts and the follow-up of the multi-sponsored educational programme are available online or even podcast. In partnership with academic societies in various countries around the world, we are increasing the number of Academies dedicated to teaching organised by the Education Committee chaired by the past President, currently David Spalton. Most importantly, we have increased the number of scholarships offered to trainees.

In the field of research, two levels of grants have been structured with a multi-centre project focused on a public health theme or a search for scientific evidence on a current practice (funded up to €750,000) and individual projects by young doctors under 45 years of age, exploring innovations (funded up to €50,000).

Finally, as one term of office ends, a new one begins. What are your feelings as you look forward to 2020?
Bringing the ESCRS winter meeting to Marrakech in February 2020 is a very personal initiative. We had never been to this part of the world before, although we have regular members from the Maghreb and Middle East countries. I hope that this congress will be a great success.

In 2020, we will also have the great pleasure of welcoming our new President Rudy Nuijts, whom the whole world knows and whose taste for perfection, scientific rigour and transparency, guarantees us that he will make a magnificent President.

Good luck to him in writing a beautiful new page for ESCRS.

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