On 8 February 2018, the EAHAD Annual General Meeting took place in Madrid, Spain. Among other important matters that were discussed, the members voted and elected Professor Mike Makris as the association’s new president. Professor Makris succeeded Professor Cedric Hermans and will hold the position for the next two years (February 2018-January 2020).
To get some insight into Mike’s background as well as his vision and plans for EAHAD over the term of his presidency, we asked him to answer a few questions.
Many people know you already, but for those who do not, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Cyprus and moved to the UK as a refugee in 1974 following the Turkish invasion of the island. I trained at the universities of Oxford, London, and Sheffield. I have been in Sheffield, in the North of England, since 1987. I am a clinical academic and 60% of my time is involved in direct clinical care.
You have been on the Executive Committee of EAHAD for a few years now, what motivated you to first become involved?
I was invited in February 2005 to join a newly formed group called the Interdisciplinary Working Group (IDWG). One of the outcomes of this group was the decision to form a European scientific society for haemophilia and EAHAD was launched in June 2007. Another IDWG outcome was to set up a European adverse event reporting scheme and I have been involved in EAHAD and EUHASS ever since.
Currently what are the main priorities of EAHAD?
We would like to move our base from the UK to Belgium, to increase our employee base, to expand the involvement of non-doctor health professionals within the organisation, and to maintain the success of the annual meeting.
What do you hope to achieve during your two years as president?
Brexit has been one of the biggest disappointments to me, both personally and professionally. In the field of a rare disorder like haemophilia, we are much stronger together as Europeans. I hope that by the end of my term, EAHAD will have set up formally as a non-profit organisation in Belgium, all our finances and banking arrangements will be in Belgium, and the scientific content of our annual meeting will have increased. Furthermore I hope that EUHASS will move from my institution in Sheffield to Brussels, to be run from within the EAHAD office.
What are the main challenges you will face?
As we have already found, the bureaucracy involved in moving organisations and banks between countries is incredible, so I am grateful for the enormous help from our past president Cedric Hermans and our managing director Aislin Ryan in making this a reality. I am hoping that the UK will continue its good working relationships with our European colleagues post Brexit.
Finally some questions about issues people may not know about you?
a) Have you had any jobs other than being a doctor?
I have worked as a cashier in a supermarket, as the only member of staff in a mortuary, and I once ran a small 15-bedroom hotel where I had to do all the cleaning and cooking as well as being the manager.
b) What are your hobbies outside work?
I like hill walking (Sheffield is next to the Peak District National Park), watching football (I am a long suffering fan of Sheffield Wednesday and have held a season ticket for 27 years), photography, and bird watching. I love tasting new foods and trying out different recipes in the kitchen.
c) Which publication are you the most proud of?
The publication of a series of my photographs by Cosmopolitan. Getting photographs published is much more difficult than publishing in medicine.