It is now November, which in Finland means mostly gray skies, rain and days that keep getting shorter and shorter. During this dark time of the year it is nice to think about the upcoming 17th WAIMH World Congress in Brisbane taking place from 7th-11th June, 2020. The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) chaired by Elisabeth Hoehn and Libby Morton, and the Scientific Program Committee (SPC) chaired by David Oppenheim have both been working hard, and together with the Professional Congress Organizer have managed to get over 900 submissions for the Congress. These submissions include new research findings and, as has been our unique feature, also lots of examples of clinical programs and interventions from all around the world.
In addition to the submissions, the Brisbane Congress will have a large number of international experts presenting their research and clinical work. Prior to the official Congress program, the local Australian Affiliate will have a pre-congress event running for the whole day, and a group of our Affiliates from different parts of the world will be organizing a half-day pre-congress event. We warmly invite you to attend these pre-congress events as well.
The four plenary speakers, who have already been introduced to you on the Congress website and in the social media postings, come from different countries, and the topics they will be covering are varied and interesting. In Brisbane our traditional Master Classes are for the first time included in the Congress participation fee, and I can tell you that the Master Class speakers all represent the best in their individual fields. And as a novelty at WAIMH Congresses, the Scientific Program will also include three State of the Art lectures with distinguished researchers and clinicians as speakers.
As many of you may know, preparing a WAIMH World Congress is a long process with a lot of stages. Now, with the Congress about half a year away, both the submission and review of the abstracts are completed. The next step is the meeting of the Scientific Program Committee here in Tampere at the beginning of December, where the Committee members will go through all the abstracts one more time in order to make the final acceptance. During the four-day meeting the Committee, together with the WAIMH Office staff, will create the Congress Program from the accepted submissions – I can tell you from experience that it is hard work! You can visit the Congress website at the end of December to see what the final program will look like. This time you don’t have to print anything from the website in order to have the program with you in June as we will have it in an electronic app that you can install on your smartphone or tablet.
We will also keep you posted in social media on how things are proceeding with WAIMH Brisbane 2020. The registration pages are already open, and when you register you will also be able to donate to our Sponsor a Delegate program. The Sponsor a Delegate program has been a WAIMH tradition since the Cape Town Congress, and with it we want to help colleagues from low income countries to participate in the Congress.
Brisbane and Australia offer many opportunities to combine the Congress with leisure. The Congress website at www.waimh2020.org gives you many ideas on what to do if you have some time for a holiday as well.
The WAIMH Office will have its stand at the Brisbane Congress, with Minna, Sari, Reija and myself present. Come and say hello to us!
Kaija Puura, Tampere, Finland, WAIMH Executive Director