WSO President's Message August 2017

Dear members, friends and colleagues,
The last few months in office have been very active and successful for WSO. We had led and partnered in a number of exciting events and activities which I am delighted to share with you on our new blog platform.
The Regional Stroke Congress held in Buenos Aires, Argentina on June 11 and 12, 2017 turned out to be a huge success. This was the pilot symposium, testing whether our project to arrange regional symposia in the years between the World Stroke Conferences is feasible and can be conducted within a reasonable budget.

The symposium was co-sponsored by the World Stroke Organization (WSO) and the American Stroke Association (ASA). It was supported by the Sociedad Iberoamericana de Enfermedad Cerebrovascular  (SIECV) and organized by Professor Conrado Estol and myself. The Congress was supported by our corporate partners Boehringer Ingelheim.
The aims of the symposium were to highlight the high burden of stroke in South America, the need to increase advocacy for people affected by stroke, educate health professionals in best practice in stroke care and to involve all relevant stakeholders in the congress including policy makers and government agencies. The meeting was delivered at a very low cost and with a very low registration fee to enable all levels of health professionals and other relevant people to attend. I would like to draw your attention to the performance of the ESPERANZA chorus of patients with brain injuries including stroke, many of them aphasic. At the next Executive Committee meeting we will discuss the potential for future regional conferences.
The preparations of the World Stroke Congress 2018 in Montréal are in full swing. The overall program has been created, the convenors of the main topics have been selected and invited. We will have 11 joint symposia with partner and member societies and we will have a major innovation: Not only that we increased the number of regular oral presentations to 35 sessions, we also will have 300 ultra-short oral presentations of e-posters. The chances that an abstract submission will lead to an oral presentation are higher than ever before. Finally, we have preliminary signals that the results of a few major trials will be presented at the WSC. We look forward to welcoming you to the World Stroke congress 2018 in Montreal. The congress will be held in the Palais des Congrès, a modern center located in the downtown area of Montreal. We are preparing an exciting scientific program and I have no doubt that this congress will be a scientific and educational success!
Preparations are already underway for the World Stroke Congress 2020 in Vienna. The conference will be a joint Congress of ESO and WSO. With the growing success of both the ESOC and the WSC we predict that this will be the largest international stroke conference ever. The congress will be under the co-chairmanship of our current president-elect Michael Brainin, who will become WSO president in Montréal 2018.
Another exciting event is the first World Stroke Day Congress which will take place on October 25-27, 2017 in Moscow.  The Congress will focus on the latest developments in stroke prevention, acute management and restorative care after stroke, as well as on raising awareness about stroke and the need for better resources, sharing experiences in dealing with problems resulting from stroke, providing relevant information to stroke survivors and their caregivers. The WSO will be represented in Moscow by a number of members of the executive committee and the board of directors.
The World Stroke Academy (WSA) is now expanding to host additional modules and widening the topical selections available. Educational quality and peer-review systems are being developed by the Education Committee. The collaboration between the Austrian office, the Sydney office and Multilearning in Canada is running smoothly and European CME Accreditation has been applied for. The WSA has now joined forces with the European Stroke Organisation who hosts exciting lectures and material from the recent ESO Conference in Prague. New interactive e-learning modules are on their way. The content is available both via the internet and via a smartphone app. The WSA will soon be able to offer formal CME credits.  A program to ensure that WSA really meets the global educational needs of the WSO membership is under way. 
Educational activities are of course central to our mission and in addition to our conference and online education materials we are working in partnership with the European Academy of Neurology and other partner Academic societies, to deliver the annual 4-day Regional Teaching Course in Stroke and Neurology in Africa, which will take place in Ouagoudougu, Burkina Faso this November.
This will add to a raft of educational activities that have already taken place this year including the teaching courses in Chengdu, China. in La Paz, Bolivia at the Sociedad Iberoamericana de Enfermedad Cerebrovascular  (SIECV) meeting, and the WSO-endorsed 28th Summer Stroke School – Healthy Lifestyle and Prevention of Stroke and Other Brain Impairment in Dubrovnik. The objectives were to provide the most up to date information regarding acute stroke treatment (ischemic stroke and intra-cerebral hemorrhage, neuroprotection, secondary prevention and strategies to expedite neurological recovery).
The 6th course of the European Master in Stroke Medicine program held at the Danube University in Krems, Austria, is currently going into its second year and hosts 32 medical doctors from 23 countries around the globe. The 7th course will start in October 2018, supported by the WSO.
The World Stroke Campaign is building momentum, towards World Stroke Day Day on October 29th. The new look website is live and World Stroke Day Campaign Toolkit materials, highlighting key issues in prevention, are now all available in English, with several translations in progress. Please do reach out to the Campaign Manager Anita Wiseman on if you have an interesting prevention related story to tell, or if you would like to support the campaign in any way.
WSO is acutely aware that stroke is not given the attention it needs at every level - from individual to policy makers. The  Global Stroke Positioning Project (GPS) aims to address that by using marketing knowledge and research to support develop a strong global 'brand position' for stroke. The goal is to develop a strong shared concept of stroke that supports the advocacy and resourcing efforts of all stroke stakeholders globally.The first steps in project implementation were taken at a meeting with key stakeholders from WSO, ESO and industry partners in London on 28th of July in London. Chaired by Jon Barrick, in his capacity as World Stroke Campaign Chair with administrative support provided by SAFE. The next key event will be a global stakeholder workshop in January 2018, which will include marketing and communications expertise from stroke organizations/stakeholders worldwide and draft a global positioning statement on stroke. We aim to present a final draft of the positioning statement and organize a brand strategy implementation workshop at the World Stroke Congress in Montréal in October 2018.
On a more political level, despite many discussions and letters we were not successful to be represented in the steering committee of the NCD Alliance. It is extremely disappointing to realize that even nowadays other specialties do not recognize the importance of the disease that is the number one cause of disability and the number 2 killer in the world. We will of course, continue our work to push stroke up the global agenda and to work in partnership on areas of common interest with organisations focused on other NCDs.
On this note, we had a very pleasant and successful experience at the 2nd World Summit of Vascular Health in Singapore, organized by the World Heart Federation (WHF). Dr Brainin and I attended this meeting and we established an excellent working relationship with both the WHF and the World Hypertension League (WHL). Both will be partners of joint symposia in Montreal, and a number of other activities, even at the NCDA level are planned.
WSO's global representative role is being strengthened through an increasing number of membership societies. International neurosurgical, neuroradiological, interventional neurology and neurocritical care societies have applied for membership. We are in the process of arranging mutual membership with the World Heart Federation and the World Hypertension league. This brings the number of scientists and medical professionals that we represent as associated members to far over 50,000. Size matters!
Werner Hacke, WSO President 
WSO President's Message August 2017 Reviewed by Anita Wiseman on Wednesday, September 06, 2017 Rating: 5

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