Message from Prof. Thomas Deserno, the new EFMI President

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Being elected as EFMI President 2022-2024, I took over the position in September this year at the STC Conference in Cardiff and would like to use the chance of this EFMI newsletter to send you all a warm welcome address.

Let me shortly introduce myself: I studied electrical engineering and communication technology at RWTH Aachen University then worked in medical image processing and later in data management in clinical trials. In 2006, I was visiting faculty at the National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, USA. Since 2017, I am chairing the Peter L. Reichertz Institute of Medical Informatics of TU Braunschweig and Hannover Medical School in Braunschweig, Germany, as the successor of Reinhold Haux. Chairing the EFMI working group Medical Image Processing, I have been active in the EFMI Council for about 10 years.

Founded in 1976 as the autonomous European Regional Council of IMIA, our European Federation for Medical Informatics aims at advancing international cooperation in Europe, promoting high standards in applications, research, and development, and establishing high-level education. I am proud to step into the footprints of the former EFMI presidents.

For instance, our past president, Catherine Chronaki had a vision for 2020-2022: Renew, Connect, and Grow. Accordingly, she has started many activities to transform EFMI. Opening EFMI to non-academic institutions and establishing the YoungEFMI initiative are just some examples of the transformations that Catherine has started. I would like to thank her for all her work.

EFMI is a society that since its foundation suffers from its purely institutional memberships. Therefore, my vision for 2022-2024 is to augment the individual’s experience of being part of the EFMI Family. Therefore, I aim to

  • Continue: I will continue transforming EFMI to better serve our Family members.
  • Change: I will try to bridge the gap between organizations/institutions and individuals/persons; and
  • Consolidate: I will focus on the most effective actions that support this transformation.

As a result, EFMI will have an EFMI Family Database of persons affiliated with member societies as well as institutions, including their contact information, fields of expertise, and function within the affiliation. This database will be open to anybody in our Family and allow simple updating of the collected information. With your support, we will successively extend its functionality to further benefit the EFMI Family.

Moreover, if I say we, I am referring to Persephone Doupi of Finnland (EFMI Vice President), Petter Hurlen of Norway (EFMI Secretary), and Patrick Webber of Switzerland (EFMI Managing Director). I am happy to be part of such a team of strong individuals.

In near future, we will address all member societies and institutions via their secretary and in the second stage all presidents and CEOs, board members, and working group chairpersons to enter their contact information and expertise directly into the EFMI Family Database. Please support us in transforming EFMI into a federation of institutions and persons. This will allow, for instance, the EFMI working group members to reach out directly to individuals in the local societies or institutions, interconnect, collaborate, and maybe organize EFMI STC meetings together.

Let me end this welcome address with a picture taken at the closing ceremony in Cardiff. Catherine handed over the EFMI President’s Medal. Its collar holds all the names of previous EFMI presidents.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas Deserno