Welcome to your new role in TTS.
What do you think members need most from TTS?
Education and scientific interaction is a great part of the society mission. The next TTS Congress will be in Berlin 2012 with Dr. Peter Neuhaus as the chair of the local organizing committee. Then we will have the 2nd joint congress with AST and ASTS in San Francisco in 2014 and the following TTS Congress in Bangkok in 2016. The TTS team working with preparations of these events is led by the TTS President, Dr. Gerhard Opelz, and the DMA is part of his team. Another very important person is Filomena Picciano, TTS Director of Society Operations, and head of the PCO activities for TTS. To keep the CME accreditation for the TTS meetings is of major concern and demands enormous efforts by the organizing teams.
During this year, 2011, a great number of smaller meetings are taking place. Transplantomics 2011 in Barcelona in March, initiated by TTS, is an important event gathering researchers in translational issues of vital importance for future clinical practice. The TTS Global Forum on Education on Organ Donation and Transplantation for Schools will take place in Montreal in May. TTS along with ESOT will jointly have their Basic Science Meeting in Cape Code, USA in June. The TTS sections: IHCTAS is having their meeting in Atlanta, Ga in April; IPITA will host their meeting in Prague in June; ITA is having their meeting in Washington, DC in September; Transplant Infectious Disease will have a meeting in conjunction with ESOT Congress in Glasgow in September; CTS and IXA are having their joint meeting in Miami, FL in October in which CTS is celebrating its 20th Anniversary; and the ISODP will have their congress in Buenos Aires in November.
Society operations, events and projects are to a great extent run by the staff at the TTS International Headquarters (IHQ) in Montreal – under the leadership of the President and the Executive Officers. Filomena Picciano is the Director of Society Operations, Lucy Brunetti is the Operations Manager, and the staff includes Catherin Parker (PCO), Frank Lindo Verissimo (Membership administration), Mariko Nakanishi (Assistant accountant), Roman Believski (Multimedia), Robert Colarusso (Communications/Programmer), and Alexandra Murphy (Reception and Newsletter). It is one of the most important roles of the new DMA to support the staff and their work on a daily basis.
One important recently innovated function led by the TTS Education Committee (chair Dr. Marcelo Cantarovich) is the webinars. That is real time lectures on various topics by renowned experts and membership participation in discussions. This feature has not yet found its final format. Time zone differences amongst the membership might be one major obstacle. Another current issue is that the publisher of Transplantation has deleted the TTS membership link to the journal (and all other society/journal links they had). We have negotiated a reduced fee of $50 USD for our members to regain online access to the journal, and TTS will support colleagues from emerging economies and trainees who are without institutional access.
What interests you most in the portfolio of TTS activities?
To minimize transplant tourism and organ trafficing has been a major focus of TTS global mission in recent years. TTS has been successful in achieving the Declaration of Istanbul, the WHO Guiding Principles and the Madrid Resolution. One of the main contributors to this success has been Dr. Francis Delmonico in his role as TTS Director of Medical Affairs (DMA). Since the beginning of this year, I have been appointed the new DMA – but I do not replace Dr. Delmonico because he remains in his new role as president-elect, continuing his efforts in concert with his network of fellow professionals and governmental authorities around the globe. The other major contributor in the team has been, and is, immediate past-president Dr. Jeremy Chapman. I would suggest that you listen to his account of the current status of ethical issues in the world of transplantation in his Presidential Address on the first page of www.tts.org. I would also suggest that you visit www.declarationofistanbul.org for the latest updates on these issues. Despite all success – there is still much more to be done.
What do you see as the main current challenges for TTS?
The end of transplant tourism will not be accomplished until every country is self-sufficient in organ donation. That is the focus of TTS mission today and in the years to come. This may be successfully achieved with the contribution of all members of the Global Alliance for Transplantation, the Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group, the national transplantation societies of the countries in question, the TTS members and the leadership of TTS including the members of TTS Council. As DMA, I will be one person in this great team and assist in every project as much as I can. We are currently working with plans for events in South East Europe, Latin America, and South East Asia.