Breaking down borders: the European Society of Endocrinology
AJ van der Lely & Djuro Macut | Features
In principle, political, economic and technological developments should provide greater opportunities for people to live and work across borders. Therefore, with increasing populism, protectionism and shifting political paradigms throughout the world, it is essential that learned societies recognise and adapt to the changes that such increased freedom of movement should bring. This is even more important in the field of medicine, where differences in clinical practice between countries have very real implications for the outcomes of patient care.
The European Society of Endocrinology (ESE) works with the national endocrine societies of Europe to unite, support and represent clinical and research endocrinologists, with the ultimate goal of improving diagnosis, treatment and support for patients with endocrine disorders.
At ESE, we recognise the importance of co-operation in achieving a better outcome for patients. It is fundamental to continued progress in our field that endocrinologists across Europe are united in their efforts to drive research and improve clinical practice. While such collaboration forms an essential component of our core strategy, we acknowledge the added strength and advantage that come from the diversity of backgrounds, attitudes and approaches which exists across Europe.
BRINGING SOCIETIES TOGETHER
In 2013, the ESE Council of Affiliated Societies (ECAS) was formed. This provides a forum for ESE’s 47 National Affiliated Societies to discuss opportunities, challenges and developments in endocrinology. Through ECAS, we have fostered regular communication and collaboration between the National Affiliated Societies, initiating pan-European programmes benefiting endocrinology and bringing European endocrinologists closer together.
We feel that endocrinologists benefit from representation at the national and European levels. By working closely with ECAS, we have recently developed National Affiliate Membership, so members of our National Affiliated Societies pay a discounted ESE membership fee, and receive the full member benefits provided to our standard members. In this way, we demonstrate our continued support for the national endocrine societies of Europe.
HARMONISING EDUCATION AND TRAINING
‘We acknowledge the added strength and advantage that come from the diversity of backgrounds, attitudes and approaches which exists across Europe’
At the request of and in association with ECAS, ESE has created a ‘Recommended Curriculum for Specialisation in Clinical Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism’. This document highlights the key areas of clinical endocrinology in which a practising clinician should be competent. It is intended as an aide to both students and education providers to promote a more complete education in clinical endocrinology.
ESE hopes to build on this document, ensuring it forms the backbone of continued efforts to harmonise clinical endocrine education in Europe in the future.
It is important that education providers are given support and guidance, allowing them to develop their educational programmes accordingly. In addition, trainees need the opportunity to demonstrate their level of knowledge and experience. To this end, again in conjunction with ECAS, ESE is working with the Society for Endocrinology, the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists, the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK and the European Union of Medical Specialists to create certification in clinical endocrinology. We plan to hold the first of these voluntary examinations in 2018, providing candidates with an opportunity to assess and report on their knowledge and understanding of endocrine healthcare.
UNIFYING GUIDANCE AND SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT
Through our Clinical Practice Guideline programme, ESE brings together experts on key endocrine topics to produce consensus guidance on the best clinical management of endocrine conditions. To have the greatest clinical impact, these guidelines are made available publicly, and we invite input from our National Affiliated Societies to ensure that they remain relevant throughout Europe.
Scientific progress, through basic research, forms the foundation upon which clinical advancement enables new treatments and new strategies for tackling challenges in endocrine healthcare. ESE’s direct grants, training courses and funding opportunities support basic scientists working on endocrine research. We also ensure that basic research is present throughout our congress, publications and other core activities. We work with our basic scientist members to enhance future understanding of our field, recognising the clear link between good research and improved clinical care.
WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP
‘Through our direct membership of over 3,500 individuals and our support of the National Affiliated Societies, ESE represents more than 20,000 endocrinologists’
ESE is not alone in working to improve patient care in Europe for endocrine disorders. We routinely collaborate with other pan-European organisations, focusing our efforts to bring greater success.
In December 2016, the European Commission confirmed the successful application to establish a European Reference Network for Rare Endocrine Disorders (ERN-ENDO). This was supported by ESE and the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology. It will be formed from more than 70 nationally recognised healthcare centres across Europe, focusing on ensuring that expertise in the treatment of rare diseases is provided locally to patients.
Representation enables individuals within a society to benefit from the combined voice of the society members. Through our direct membership of over 3,500 individuals and our support of the National Affiliated Societies, ESE represents more than 20,000 endocrinologists. Our involvement with European advocacy bodies, such as the European Medicines Agency, the Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe and the Initiative for Science in Europe, alongside our own advocacy initiatives, ensures we can address the issues of greatest concern to European endocrinologists, combining our influence to drive real change in policy.
There are many consequences of internationalism, and the approaches required to ensure that this social development continues to have a positive impact on patient lives are numerous. ESE, through collaboration with the national endocrine societies of Europe, continues to develop initiatives for harmonising education, facilitating collaboration, raising standards of clinical care and furthering our understanding of endocrine disorders. These initiatives all serve to better prepare scientists and healthcare providers for a truly international future.
AJ van der Lely, ESE President
Djuro Macut, ECAS Representative to the ESE Executive Committee
Find out more at www.ese-hormones.org