Dear colleagues and friends,
It is becoming more and more difficult to summarise our many SIOP activities in a single newsletter. Fortunately, we can count on various contributors to keep us updated on the world of paediatric oncology. In the meantime, I will focus on three topics.
The first is the forthcoming annual congress that will take place in Lyon this October. As some of you might know, Lyon holds a special place in my heart. It is the city where I was trained as a doctor, and where I first discovered my passion for paediatric oncology. After 23 years away (time flies…), it will be both touching and invigorating to return to the place where it all began. The meeting also looks nothing short of highly promising! Dr. Bergeron and his local organising committee have dedicated hours and hours of their time to shape this congress into an amazing event. Nearly 2000 delegates have already registered and we expect a record number of participants for this 51st edition.
The second topic I want to address is the board meeting that took place in Chicago this June. The face to face brought together all members of the board of directors (formerly known as the extended board), including all continental presidents. The agenda was rich with discussions, and a number of decisions were made. The most important concerns the detailed review of our Society’s goals and objectives. Indeed, a majority of those present wanted to adjust SIOP’s goal and mission in order to better reflect certain evolutions in our work and its environment. However, be assured that none of these changes impact on the everlasting spirit of SIOP. The discussion was led by our SIOP President elect, Pr. Kathy Prichard Jones and we hope to circulate the updated document in the near future before submitting it for approval at the Annual General Assembly. Another important topic discussed in Chicago was the role of continental presidents. This is a work in progress as we are planning to meet and further discuss certain details when we meet in Lyon.
This third and last thing I wish to discuss is the WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC). As some of you may know, the WHO initiative was launched via a first workshop in Myanmar in May and a second workshop in Peru in June. The list of selected countries is growing and we expect the impact of this initiative to be truly transformative for children and adolescents living in low to middle income countries. However, while several members of our Society are actively involved in various working groups and/or in the implementation of this initiative in selected countries, the specific role of SIOP remains unclear. We are in ongoing discussions with the WHO GICC team to better clarify their expectations regarding input from SIOP and SIOP members, in order to maximise our contribution towards the success of this initiative.
As I mentioned in the opening of this letter, the amount of activities going on in our Society is increasing. To deal with this, we are looking at whether there is need to change the way our Society is organised, or fundraise for stronger administrative support and other activities. I flag this discussion as it will likely persist over the coming years, and be the source of major changes in the future. However, no change will ever detract from our core mission: that “no child should die of cancer”.
On that note, I wish a wonderful summer to those in the north, or lovely winter to those further south, and look forward to seeing all of you in Lyon in a couple of weeks!