The Executive Committee Members of the European Society for Sexual Medicine (ESSM), of which I have the honor of being a member, have held a virtual meeting to discuss the issues concerning the ESSM in the Covid-19 era.
We are going through a period of difficult changes in the ESSM. The current political scene, with a Brexit in the making; the Covid19 pandemic; the world economy with a global crisis about to hit hard, the scientific situation, with very few resources and focus devoted to our field…An accumulation of circumstances that poses us to redesign our activities.
Brexit has caused the relocation of our headquarters from the UK to Belgium, a fact that is laborious and complex due to the change in legislation and regulations. The economic-financial crisis has impacted on Medicine as well. This is limiting, to a large extent, our research and teaching activities, although we are always on the look for alternative ways of financing and other imaginative solutions.
The Covid-19 era changes everything
Most of the meeting was devoted to think about how to solve the many limitations that this new Covid-19 situation presents. As there are no face-to-face meetings and not being able to celebrate our Annual Congress as we have been doing for the last few years, many questions arise: How do we renew the Board? How shall we proceed and renew the agreements reached with our sponsors? What future do our research aid grants have? How do we maintain our training and educational programs?
A scientific meeting is not only an event for the transmission of knowledge, it is the amount of interacting with professional colleagues, sharing ideas, solving doubts, having access to information, and much more. Therefore, in our intense meetings, we evaluate the different scenarios, the pros and cons, and decide on the new format of our congress, of our educational program, in addition to transform all our activities so they can take place online and be accessible to everyone.
In short, this Board, made up of Carlo Bettocchi, Yacov Reisman, Marieke Dewitte, Giovanni Corona, Mikkel Fode, Maarten Albersen, Asif Muneer, Daniar Osmonov, Nuno Tomada, Koenraad van Renterghem, Emre Akkus, Salvatore Sansalone, Ferdinando Fusco, Ege Can Serefoglu, Arik Shechter and Javier Romero-Otero, is working intensely to respond to all these setbacks and we are sure that we will bring our Association to the best possible status, keeping it at the highest level while this storm clears.
It is an honor for me to be part of this group of people and to be able to dedicate my time and effort to our Association in which I have learned, shared and experienced so much.