Thank you to all 1,600 persons who participated in the WAIMH 15th World Congress in beautiful Prague and created such an enthusiastic and warm atmosphere. The event was truly special thanks to the work of the Organizing Committee, co-chaired by Dr. Miri Keren and Dr. Sam Tyano and their colleagues from Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Scientific Programme, which included many outstanding presentations, was collated by the Programme Committee, chaired by Professor Campbell Paul. Feedback on the Prague Congress was positive regarding the congress program, and we wish to thank all of you who filled in the evaluation form.
During the four congress days, there were eleven parallel sessions. Moreover, the two pre-congress events also provided insights into current important topics, such as the role of infant mental health policies under stable and peaceful conditions and during humanitarian crises and the Diagnostic Classification DC 0-5 (in collaboration with Zero to Three).
At the congress, we also had the opportunity to celebrate new awardees: Pia Risholm-Mothander was presented with the WAIMH Award in recognition of her significant contributions to the World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) as well as her work with WAIMH Affiliates. Geoffrey Nagle received the Sonya Bemporad Award, which is given in recognition of significant contributions to the advancement of social and public policies that contribute to the mental health and overall benefit of infants, toddlers, and their families. Bernard Golse was the recipient of the Serge Lebovici Award in recognition of significant contributions to the international development of infant mental health. Alicia Lieberman received the René Spitz Award, which is given in recognition of significant lifetime contributions to clinical research. Sarah Bergmann received the New Investigator Award. Congratulations to all awardees once again!
The abstracts of the presentations are available on the WAIMH website as an Infant Mental Health Journal supplement (IMHJ). The editor of IMHJ, Paul Spicer, wants to thank everyone for their contributions to the 2016 Congress and he extends an invitation to submit to the journal. The journal has been included in MEDLINE/PubMed since 2015, guaranteeing free search access for a global audience. Please contact Paul Spicer at email@example.com to discuss your ideas.
We were especially happy with the success of the Sponsor a Delegate Programme, which aims to provide colleagues from developing countries with the chance to participate in the WAIMH World Congresses. You can read more about the 2016 program in Maree Foley’s text, where the sponsored colleagues also talk about their experiences participating in the congress (ADD LINK). This year, the Sponsor a Delegate Programme received 3,000 euros from 47 individual donors, which helped altogether 14 infant mental health professionals from low-income countries to register for the congress and covered their accommodation during the event. WAIMH also participated as a donor so that more applications could be approved. We wish to extend our warmest thanks to all of you who donated money to the programme! Encouraged by the success of the program, we will in due course open the Sponsor a Delegate Programme also for the 16th World Congress in Rome in 2018.
Changes in the Board
The Prague Congress was a time of changes in the WAIMH Board: We want to thank Karlen Lyons-Ruth and Antoine Guedeney for their efforts on the board and for infancy worldwide. WAIMH President Miri Keren stepped down from her four-year position and the new president, Kai von Klitzing, started his term. The new board members starting their four-year terms are Hisako Watanabe (elected by WAIMH members) and Jody Manly (appointed by the president). The WAIMH Board has an important task in guiding the association in new directions and properly managing its economic responsibilities.
WAIMH has an ongoing social media project. The objectives for the World Congress were to prompt visitors to engage in conversation with one another via social media and to make WAIMH’s social media presence more visible to WAIMH members and other visitors. In general, there was much active conversation and WAIMH posts were very popular, so that WAIMH and the World Congress were quite visible on social media. Facebook is clearly the main channel used by WAIMH. Twitter was actively used by visitors; for example, the congress hashtag #WAIMH2016 was used 145 times. Instagram as a new channel did not achieve the same level of use as Facebook and Twitter, but it was still used by visitors and created a good base for future usage.
We ask each of you to participate in WAIMH activities via social media: You can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We intend to offer brief glimpses of presentations at the World Congress in the months to come.
Kaukonen, Pälvi, Executive Director,
Puura, Kaija, Associate Executive Director,
Sorsa, Minna, Administrative Assistant,