Written by Kim Cordell | Product Development Administrator, European Medical Journal | @EMJ_Kim
If you had asked me what the word congress meant to me a year ago, the connotations would have been extremely different to those which I picture today. The word congress, a word often associated with American politics, denotates something completely different in the medical world, where thousands of medical professionals come together to discuss the latest medical research and developments within their field. Organised by a prominent association within the industry, congress provides an opportunity to network and learn more about progression within a field, whilst exploring a different hosting location each year.
As an open-access medical journal, we attend those associated with the therapeutic areas we cover, and provide a full review within our publication 6 weeks after attending. I recently attended my very first congress for EMJ: European Academy of Neurology (EAN) 2017, held, this year in the vibrant city of Amsterdam, Netherlands, from 24th–27th June where I was on our stand in the exhibition hall, and I could not have asked for a better first experience.
Before attending, I really didn’t know what to expect of congress, but as I walked into the exhibitor’s hall the night before the event was due to start, I was in awe at the size of the room, and the sheer effort that medical companies had gone to in order to present their latest drugs, research, or devices. With our trusty mascot the EMJ Cow, at the ready to be sent home with our new subscribers, I was on the stand over the three and a half days we were there to share more about ourselves with the attendees. It was great to hear from those who already knew who we were, those who had previously met the EMJ team at other congresses, answer questions from those who wanted to know more about us, and meet with our EMJ Neurology Editorial Board members who wanted to just come and say hi!
We attended the Opening Ceremony at the end of the first day, where we heard some fascinating talks from Prof Bas Bloem who spoke about the fine balance between the art of neurology and the need for some form of quality control. Dr Ra’ad Shakir then spoke about the lack of medical professionals trained in neurology in under-populated countries, the importance of supporting training of such professionals, and a change in the classification of ‘stroke’ from a vascular disease to a neurological one. Ending with an acrobatic display to portray a day in the life of Amsterdam, the audience then moved outside to a beach bar located conveniently near the congress, for a spot of networking which was great to be a part of, even if I did have to spend the next few days emptying sand from my shoes!
Over the remaining time at EAN 2017, the EMJ team spoke to hundreds of people, distributed dozens of EMJ Cows, sampled a range of coffees from around the exhibitor’s hall, and tasted a few cheeky Heinekens (it would be rude not to!) whilst enjoying a spot of sightseeing in the ‘original city of cool’. Even though we were rushed off our feet, and unable to catch a glimpse of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands who visited the congress (which I’m still not quite over), it was a great opportunity to meet with readers of EMJ Neurology, and I’m glad I was able to experience it with Stacey Rivers and Max Roy.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the next publication of EMJ Neurology, which will be out in the next few weeks and will contain a full review of our time at EAN 2017.
Here’s to the next congress!