Обращение руководства Европейской ассоциации гематологов к профессиональному сообществу

Personal message by the Executive Board of EHA

Charting the unknown with EHA25 Virtual

When Elizabeth Macintyre became President-elect of EHA in June 2019, she knew she had 2 years to « learn the ropes » before facing a crowd of thousands during the plenaries of the annual congress in June 2022. Two months into the COVID-19 shut-down, this seems like another world.

Our congress has been fine-tuned over the years since the first EHA Congress in Brussels (1994) and we were excitedly preparing special innovations for our 25th anniversary in Frankfurt in June 2020. Kimmo Porkka (Helsinki), EHA25 Scientific Program Committee chair, had chosen Artificial Intelligence as a priority theme, but no one dreamed just how premonitory he was being.

From vain belief that COVID-19 would not hit Europe, to hopes that everything would have blown over by June, to realizing that we were going to have to take action, the EHA Board and Office have transformed from one in which everyone knew their, time-tried and perfected, role, to one requiring daily invention in uncharted territory.

Cancelling the EHA Congress this year was never an option, since facilitating human communication is the corner stone of a medical society. So we set sail for the vast, varied virtual-reality realm. Rapidly realizing that the EHA Board was under-represented by millennials, we thanked our lucky stars, and Tony Green (Cambridge) and Shai Izraeli (Tel Aviv), for having spearheaded the creation of our YoungEHA group. We pride ourselves on being forward looking, but choosing, wisely and rapidly, just how far we can delve into virtual communication within 3 months is an eventful, insightful voyage, as is COVID-19 in general.

Some transformations are easy: all plenaries, educational sessions and selected oral and poster abstracts will be ready for virtual presentation by the opening day on June 11 and we are doing our utmost to include almost everything that normally constitutes our program. Our industrial partners have shown remarkable readiness to accompany this transformation. Other questions are more difficult and daily decisions have to be made, requiring almost military planning from a group which little resembles an army.

We are aware that it does not make sense to use a virtual congress as we did a physical one. Each day brings novel realizations and one thing is sure: we will have learnt much by the end of September 2020, when we plan to close the virtual EHA congress platform (although partial access will remain available to members via the EHA website). You have many questions, which the FAQ at the EHA25 website is designed to answer.

We hope that the discoveries brought by virtual collective learning and exchange will make this rapid learning curve worthwhile. We will perhaps not get everything just right first time, but we are doing our best to make sure that the 2020 EHA Virtual Congress will make this recently charted voyage an exciting and constructive one.

Elizabeth Macintyre
EHA President-elect
Kimmo Porkka
Chair, Scientific Program Committee 

John Gribben
EHA President
Join us in the Virtual Edition of the 25th EHA Annual Congress and register now.EHA is standing by hematology professionals in the COVID-19 crisis.
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