On the 22nd of this month we will open the first ICAM. It will be held in Paris. A meeting of four great associations with different philosophies but a common focus; Aerospace Medicine. ASMA, ESAM, IAASM and SOFRAMAS will come together under one cupola.

How appropriate, as the first medical meeting of the FAI took place in Paris 100 years ago in 1922!

We had planned to have the Conference two years ago but none of us anticipated what visited the world in 2020 and the lasting impact it has had on everyone. But we have survived the pandemic and we are of the 99% who will die of something else another day.

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This was a lively and fruitful meeting, with discussions mainly centred at improving the communication with our member associations/societies and associates, and with the wider public. We established a working group with the task to develop a communication strategy, to find ways for ESAM to be more visible not only through its website but also by using popular social media channels. 

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As the snow is falling in front of my house in Oslo and the fog has obliterated the normal view of Holmenkollen - the venue of ECAM 5 in Oslo, I embark on my first blog as President of ESAM. I have just sent out the Agenda for the Executive committee´s next meeting in Prague. The venue is not a coincidence, as The Czech Association of Aviation Medicine together with the Institute of Aviation Medicine in Prague has offered to organise ECAM 6 in 2018 in Prague, Czech Republic. In the centre of Europe, Prague is a beautiful city and a magnificent proposition for ESAM as a possible venue for our next congress. The meeting in Prague will give us  more insight into the opportunity which has been offered us for 2018 - and I really look forward to meeting our local colleagues.

The congress in Oslo was very successful, so successful that there are some worries around the world of Aerospace Medicine that our congress might be competing for delegates in other congresses in Aerospace Medicine. This is, of course, not an intention, but rather a function of the need for a European regional congress. This is natural, as Europe now has 24% of all departures, and 50% of all international airline departures in the world (ICAO figures). Even though we must have a strong regional profile to our work in ESAM, we also need to co-operate with our partners in aviation medicine across the globe. Specifically, we are having discussions this spring with the Aerospace Medical Association and the International Academy of Aviation and Space Medicine on how we in the future can organise conferences in Aerospace medicine in the best way for us all, in synergy rather than competition. As you all know, our friends in the Aerospace Medical Association supported us greatly in the Oslo congress last year, bringing a global flair and competence to the organisation which set its mark on attendance and quality - this is a partnership we wish to repeat in the future. 

The European Pilot Peer Support initiative (EPPSI - see more on this under News and Press releases) culminated with a strong and convincing launch event in Frankfurt on the 2nd of February. I am proud that ESAM has played a major role in this work, which might be the most imoportant flight safety initiative following the tragic Germanwings accident. It is also of interest to note the power of cooperation when organisations in Aviation representing pilots, psychologists and aeromedical specialists come together around a common cause.

The upcoming meeting of the Executive committee and the Advisory board will be held in the Institute of Aviation Medicine in Prague. I look forward to visiting this institute, one of many important institutions of Aerospace medicine in Europe. I hope that, moving forwards, we will to a greater extent than up to now, be able to bring together also the military institutes in active roles in ESAM. Military and Civilian Aerospace medicine have many synergies which we can capitalise on.

Anthony Wagstaff
President, ESAM

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.  

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As the lambs frolic in the fields, and the flowers in the garden burst into bloom, it is a good time to reflect on ESAM’s rapid growth, and future direction. Just like a plant, an organisation like ESAM needs to ensure that it has strong roots to sustain its growth and development. For this reason the Executive Committee (EC) have recently agreed a strategy document, to set the direction for the coming years.

It is not a weighty tome, being a few pages long. It will appear on the site shortly after this blog, so we would be very grateful if you could read it. You may have to forgive the references to Monty Python and Star Trek, both major influences on my writing style! Read more ...

A summary of Fly safe Fly well has been posted onto the website by our webmaster because I was having technical difficulties with my blog. These are now resolved.

The EC finalised our thoughts and plans for the project at our meeting in Malta in February. We are grateful to Dr Alfred Bonnici for his assistance in arranging the meeting, and to him, and his wife Elda, for their generous hospitality during our stay.
The project will shape the content of ECAM 2014, in Bucharest, and we look forward to meeting both old and new friends at the congress.

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Christmas has come and gone and I hope you have had an enjoyable and peaceful break, with a chance to relax and meet up with family and friends.
As we approach the New Year I would like to wish you all a happy and prosperous year, and hope to meet as many of you as possible at the European Conference of Aerospace Medicine, ECAM4, in Bucharest, from 5th to 7th September.
I am back at home after a successful EC meeting and the General Assembly in Friedrichshafen, but just for a couple of weeks before departing to Jerusalem for ICASM. Many thanks to our German, Swiss and Austrian hosts for making us so welcome at the Drei-Laender Tagung conference. We covered a lot of work in the EC meeting on Saturday morning, in particular discussing the project to look at aeromedical risk assessment of mental health and psycho-social factors, with an emphasis on a preventive and a partnership approach. This very exciting work is likely to be at the top of our agenda for the next few years. Read more ...

We work together across Europe to promote the health, performance and safety of people who fly, through the use of evidence, science and consensus.

The EC met recently in Paris, and the words above are the outcome of our strategy session in Furstenfeldbruck in February, and further debate in Paris. It is important that we have a concise description of what ESAM does, and after much ‘wordsmithing’, we agreed on the statement. We hope that you approve.

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Sorry for the period of ‘radio silence’ recently. I have been very busy with my daughter’s wedding in Scotland (photos of me wearing a kilt are available for those with a strong constitution !). Plus I organised the meeting of the Association of Aviation Medical Examiners at King’s College in April, which certainly kept me busy. Between these I spoke at the AMABEL meeting in Brussels on an AME’s experience of the new EASA regulations, which seemed to be well received.

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It's been quiet on this blog for a while so it is time for an update. The EC, together with ex-EC members, and some who have been involved since the birth of ESAM, met for the weekend of the 9th and 10th of February at the Furstenfeldbruck base of the German airforce, near Munich. The meeting was very well attended, representing both old and new in ESAM's development.

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A quick reflection on the ECAM in London, as the dust has now settled! Most delegates seem to have enjoyed the weekend. We had 240 delegates on day one, and 190 on day 2, so the largest ECAM so far. The whole event was a lot of hard work and I am grateful to the organising committee from AAME and ESAM for all their support. Thanks also to the selection committee for the abstracts, to 3D Performance our conference organisers, and to the Simulator team from BA.

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