Last blog of President Roland Vermeiren

After 6 years and 3 terms of chairing and building up our wonderful Association, ESAM, time has come for me to pass the ship to a new captain, Kevin Herbert, Chairman of the UK AME Association and current Vice-president of ESAM. It has been an intensive and time consuming period, but it has given so much back in the richness and warmth of contacts from all over Europe and the joy of harnessing the desire, which was fundamentally there in all national associations, to work together in a pan-European setting.  

Aerospace medicine is really a special specialty where colleagues combine their medical knowledge with their interest in aviation, and it is a worldwide “family” different from other medical specialties. I could never have dreamed at the beginning that on such a short time ESAM would grow so rapidly and gain respect and influence in aero-medical issues both on the scientific and political fields.

It says a lot about the enormous capacities and enthusiasm of all my 3 teams. Our work has also set Europe on the international scene as an important contributor in aerospace medicine, not only to aerospace doctors, but also to aviation professionals outside the medical profession. We can all be proud of this accomplishment.

Almost all existing aviation medicine associations in Europe are now ESAM members but the momentum will have to be kept to stimulate them to get actively involved in the rapidly growing activities of the Society: We need all of you to keep such an association constantly alert to the rapidly changing business of aviation! I’m very confident that my successor Kevin has the right skills to perfect the organisational structures and working procedures of ESAM to make the ship ready for very interesting, but maybe stormy waters ahead.

I will not abandon the vessel, but stay active as liaison officer to EASA which has an important influence on how we, as AME’s and other aero-medical professionals, will enjoy our work and passion in aerospace medicine. We’ll meet again, everywhere in this world except at home! Many thanks for your support and patience with me.