This year in October marks thirty years since the first IGCS Biennial Meeting which was held in Amsterdam October 4-6, 1987. I have been involved with this great society since it was formed all those years ago – I am proud of the work it has done in the past, the present commitment of the leadership and the promise the future holds. IGCS started with 370 attendees at that first meeting and has steadily grown over time. At our most recent Biennial Meeting in Lisbon, Portugal October 28-31, 2016, we brought over 2,500 gynecologic oncology professionals together from over 80 countries to share knowledge, exchange ideas and to make lasting connections.
Education, training and mentorship has always been at the heart of IGCS’s mission. IGCS brings people together at its Biennial Meetings, and previously at Regional Meetings. We now work extensively with local societies by participating in more frequent, smaller collaborative meetings across the globe. Just this year, we have participated in six such regional meetings and we plan to collaborate with several more in the near future by providing guest lecturers and/or educational forums.
IGCS has a history of facilitating education and training to doctors in regions that do not have a formal training program in gynecologic oncology. The society has provided financial support to countless scholars over the years so they could travel to a host institution to observe and receive training and mentorship. This program has transitioned into the IGCS Gynecologic Oncology Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program, a comprehensive two-year education and training program. With this new program, it is our goal to train even more doctors and have a greater positive impact on the global women’s cancer community. Fellows at pilot sites in Vietnam and Mozambique have begun the curriculum and received visits from their mentors. We are still seeking additional volunteer mentors to participate in this program and I will be sending out a survey to you soon about this.
IGCS is proud to have always welcomed and encouraged a multidisciplinary team of health care providers dedicated to the treatment of women’s cancer. Lasting connections have certainly been made among our members, primarily though attendance at Biennial Meetings. Presently, also, there is a unique opportunity for growth to carry our global community into the future. The new Strategic Alliance Partnership Program will welcome regional organizations and groups to join the IGCS as a unified cohort. Belarus has recently become a partner and we hope to see more networking among our members with this new model.
Through communication and collaboration among IGCS’s individual members, leadership, industry and partner organizations, IGCS will continue to thrive in the coming years and beyond. The newly designed IGCS website provides our members with easy access to educational resources such as the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, recordings of presentations, surgical videos and much more to come. IGCS is taking the next step in virtual connection and is currently exploring methods to allow members to discuss topics in an online social community. Meanwhile, the Education Committee is working hard to develop innovative programs to enhance our online learning opportunities.
We are currently working to create photo galleries on the new IGCS website which we will share with you all in the coming weeks. I am delighted to let you know that Professor Peter Heintz from Holland who hosted the very first meeting of IGCS 30 years ago has agreed to chair a new Archives Committee. Archives are much more than memories. They remind us of where we came from, where we have been and how far we have developed in our outreach to women.
We invite you all to share your photographs and memories to help IGCS celebrate its 30th Anniversary. We are seeking written quotes and videos from members and I ask that you please email the IGCS Communications Manager, at Debbie.email@example.com if you would like to share a quote, send photographs or record a video.
Thank you for being a member of the IGCS. We look forward to continuing our mission to enhance the care of women with gynecologic cancer worldwide through education and training and public awareness for many more years to come. It is interesting to conjecture just how the care of women with gynecological cancers will have changed in 30 years’ time. Let’s hope it will be unrecognizable!
Michael Quinn, MA, MGO
2016-2018 IGCS President