I started working for the EFNS un-officially at the time of the Marseille conference in 1995, and as assistant to Prof. Luigi Amaducci when he took on his position as EFNS Vice President in 1997 as well as the chair of the European Affairs Committee. The work grew steadily.
Just Prior to the 1996 congress in Rome, I met Mrs. Uschi Tschabitscher and Prof. Jes Olesen and I do consider this the “turning point” in my EFNS career.
After Prof. Amaducci’s death in January 1998, Prof. Olesen invited me to work with EFNS on a full-time basis, an invitation I happily accepted. I worked as a consultant to the EFNS for a few months until, in January 1999, I became an EFNS employee.
I continued the work with the European Affairs Committee and was asked to set up a “sister-federation” to EFNS that would bring together the European based patient associations in the field of neurological disorders. A first meeting of some of these federations took place during the EFNS Congress in Seville in 1998. EFNA – European Federation of Neurological Associations www.efna.net) was officially launched at the European Parliament in 2001 and is steadily growing, with about 20 Pan-European patient associations currently involved. EFNA has been very active at the European level and works in close partnership with EFNS, EBC and the EC.
Lobbying activities at the EU level showed that there was an urgent need to “speak with one voice” for the brain and its diseases. Together with Jes Olesen and Mrs. Mary Baker, President of EFNA, the basis for the European Brain Council – EBC www.europeanbraincouncil.org) was laid out.
The EBC brings together all the major stakeholders in the field of “brain research” ranging from basic to clinical sciences, psychiatry, neurosurgery, patient associations in the field of neurology and psychiatry as well as the pharma and medical device industries. EBC lobbies at the European level for more and better brain research that will benefit the quality of life of those living with brain disorders.
In 2007, I was invited by Prof. Jacques De Reuck, EFNS’ President, to work on a new initiative expanding our work to those countries bordering the Mediterranean. Together with Prof. J.M. Vallat, chair of the EFNS Task Force “Neurology & Africa” I am working on the first EFNS Regional Teaching Course in Dakar, Senegal that will take place in late June 2008. Hopefully this Regional Teaching Course will be the first of a series to follow.
|Evelyn Sipido, Florence|