The forests of Finland are glowing with autumn tints – yellow, red and brown. The days are sunny and chilly or grey and rainy; the days are getting shorter and shorter. After a couple of weeks Finland will be waiting for snow – although nowadays it might take until late January because of global warming.
Here, in the middle of Finnish lakes and forests, is the new, modern WAIMH Finland Office. With wonderful memories of the Yokohama Congress in mind it was easy and inspiring to continue our work for the transfer of the office functions from Michigan to the Kauppi campus – the campus of the University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital, Finland.
As the Executive Director of WAIMH, I feel deeply honored to serve WAIMH and the wellbeing of infants all around the world. The former, long-serving Executive Director and current Honorary President of WAIMH, Professor Hiram Fitzgerald, has for sixteen years led the office with such a great wisdom, superb efficiency and wonderful innovativeness that it is impossible for one person ever to equal this. After his long and splendid term we will need at least two people to do the tasks he did alone. I’m happy I had the opportunity to orientate myself to the WAIMH office work while serving as an Associate Executive Director for three years. As Executive Director now I will get support and supervision on the one hand from Hiram Fitzgerald and the WAIMH Michigan Office colleagues and, on the other hand, great help and warm cooperation from my coworkers Kaija Puura and Minna Sorsa in the WAIMH Finland Office and also, of course, from the Past President of WAIMH Tuula Tamminen.
The transfer of the office is proceeding smoothly. The WAIMH Finland Office is already well organized for preparing the Signal, starting to take care of the membership and affiliate issues and in building up WAIMH congresses together with our Program and Local Committees. What we still have on our agenda are the WAIMH web pages and the financial and administrative issues. The WAIMH Michigan Office is currently generating new technical solutions and a new modern layout for our web pages before transferring their maintenance to Finland. In addition to these reforms, WAIMH is also to have a new beautiful and modern logo, too. Hiram and WAIMH Membership Secretary Dolores Fitzgerald and WAIMH Administrative Assistant Tina Houghton and also our new President Antoine Guedeney and our President Elect & Editor of Signal Miri Keren are coming to Tampere in November. We are going to have office transfer meetings and to work hard in order to complete the transition process.
Current important issues for all of you are firstly, the membership renewals and secondly, the forthcoming election of new Board members. Please remember to visit our web site and renew your membership for 2009. Remember also to recommend WAIMH membership to your colleagues in the field of infant mental health. Increasing our membership would enrich our resources to work globally for infants and their families’ psychosocial wellbeing.
In recent years the WAIMH Board has worked on renewing its organizational structure. The Board prepared a proposal for a new structure intended to increase the role of Affiliates. The new model includes an Affiliate Council, a Board of Directors and an Executive Committee and you – the members of WAIMH – voted Composition of the WAIMH Executive Committee (Annual meetings, also email meetings. Manages the business, affairs and property of WAIMH) • At large member / President • At large member / President Elect • At large member / Secretary – Treasurer • At large member • President’s Executive-at-Large • Affiliate Council Chairperson • Affiliate Council Elected Representative • Executive Director, Ex Officio in favor of the proposal. At the end of this column you will find the new organizational bodies of WAIMH as described by Hiram Fitzgerald at the Board Meeting in Tokyo last summer. The election of the new Board members is due to take place during the coming winter. I hope you will start to think about good candidates.
WAIMH is undergoing many transitions – structure, President, Central Office, Executive Director, web pages and even our logo. All this means lots of work and readjustment, but it also means continuity and regeneration. It is typical for “baby people” to do all of this with shared enthusiasm and joy – as you can see in the picture of our three Presidents in Yokohama, August 2008.
From the gloom and beauty of the northern autumn,
Kaukonen, Pälvi, Executive Director of WAIMH,
Department of Child Psychiatry,
University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital,