On 4 February 2016, EAHAD held its Annual General Meeting where, among other matters, the membership voted to elect Professor Cedric Hermans as President of the association for the next two years (February 2016-January 2018).
To learn a bit more about Cedric and 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 currently head the Division of Haematology, the Thrombosis and Haemostasis Unit, and the Haemophilia Centre at the Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, which is the university hospital of the Catholic University of Louvain, in Belgium.
Like many physicians active in academic hospitals, I try to balance more or less efficiently clinical work, research, and academic commitments, while also spending as much time as possible with my wife, Valérie, and our three daughters, Victoire, Constance, and Augustine.
I have the great privilege of living close to the hospital and not far from the centre of Brussels and the airport, which is a real practical advantage in helping to juggle so many priorities.
You have been on the Executive Committee of EAHAD for a few years now, what motivated you to first become involved?
Many years ago, I was given the opportunity to join the Interdisciplinary Working Group, an innovative European initiative from which emerged the European Principles of Care, the European Curriculum of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, and a multidisciplinary organisation that was named EAHAD of which I became a member.
Very rapidly, I realised that EAHAD would become a unique platform to improve haemophilia care in Europe and beyond. In 2011, I was elected as a member of the Executive Committee, and following the invitation of Professor Philippe de Moerloose and the support of the Executive Committee, I served as Treasurer and Vice-President. Over the last three years, I have had the chance to learn a lot about the daily management of the association.
Currently, what are the main priorities for EAHAD?
One of our key objectives is to further develop and promote the multidisciplinary composition of EAHAD. Our association should provide a unique platform of fruitful and valuable collaborations between all healthcare providers involved in bleeding disorders care, including physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists, social workers, and all other professionals who are committed to improving the care and management of haemophilia, von Willebrand disease, and other related disorders.
Certainly our annual congress provides a major arena to foster such interactions, share and spread knowledge, and generate new initiatives and debates. At the same time, there is a lot of work that goes on throughout the year in EAHAD’s various committees and working groups.
Thus another objective we have is to better communicate with our members and the larger haemophilia community about these on-going projects, while also expanding our efforts in promoting scientific research and education in this field.
What do you hope to achieve during your two years as EAHAD president?
My first objective is certainly to perpetuate the increasing success of EAHAD and ensure that the association plays a valuable and respected role on the haemophilia scene. EAHAD should continue to play a key role in spreading knowledge, fuelling new research, and attracting health professionals to this fascinating area of medicine.
The association has been growing quickly and the time has come to make it totally professional with full-time experts managing the association, a new website, a new trendy logo, and improved communication and interactions with the entire haemophilia community.
In a period of rapid and major change and high flow of information, EAHAD should be constantly active disseminating new data and also serving as a resource to the larger community by providing analysis and position statements on critical topics that can help physicians and other health professionals in their daily practice.
What do you think are the main challenges you will face?
In a competitive environment with several societies and organisations active in the field and an increasing number of scientific meetings, the EAHAD congress must maintain a high standard of quality and attractiveness. It is also critical for EAHAD to keep collaborating and interacting with haemophilia patient associations, industry partners, and political stakeholders.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
My main intention is to run this presidency with humanity, humility, and a lot of respect for those who have played a key role in establishing EAHAD. I hope to foster a very collaborative environment with all my colleagues, most notably Professor Makris, current Vice-President of EAHAD and all my friends and colleagues from the Executive Committee who share a genuine and deep motivation to move EAHAD forward for the sake of our patients and a bright future.