Dear OARSI colleagues,
I hope you are all doing well. The pandemic has created an unusual situation in terms of our ability to hold gatherings and to meet each other in person for the last few years. While we had concern and reservation in promoting an in-person congress this year, we decided that, after no face-to-face meeting in last 3 years, an in-person meeting would be an absolute necessity this year for the sake of the society, while also offering a virtual attendance option. We had 517 in-person attendance and 410 virtual at the World Congress in Berlin. While the figure is lower than usual attendance in annual meetings held in Europe, it is still an impressive figure considering the pandemic-induced cautiousness for travel in the mindset of our members. I expect that we will return to normal level for the 2023 World Congress in Denver, Colorado.
A society is only as strong as its membership. As I indicated in my inaugural presidential message, I will strive to increase the membership of our society during my tenure as the OARSI president. A couple of initiatives are now underway, which will be announced in full format in next presidential message. OARSI leadership also wants to encourage the promotion of regional meetings hosted by our members under the OARSI umbrella. We expect that these small-to-mid size conferences with focused topics will raise interest and recognition for OARSI in the region and nearby. Be assured that I am ready to visit any remote corner of the world for OARSI-branded events.
I recently received an e-mail message Nataliia Grygorieva, an OARSI member in Ukraine. Despite the ongoing war, Nataliia and her colleagues attended the full program of our annual congress virtually. They shared the critical new information obtained from our congress with Ukrainian doctors and scientists through their online platform, OsteoHub (https://OsteoHub.info), dedicated to the recent OARSI Congress ("OARSI-2022 News: Highlights", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xgsut_Coz28).
I was deeply touched by the unparalleled sincerity and fathomless passion of Nataliia and her colleagues that led them to pursue science and academic activity even in such an unexpected and unwanted grim situation and would like to pay my utmost tribute and profound respect to them. We also look forward to seeing our colleagues from Ukraine physically attending the OARSI annual meeting in near future. These people are probably the most loyal members of OARSI.
In closing, I wish nice and happy summer days for all of you and hope to meet you soon.
Gun-il Im, OARSI President
July 1, 2022