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ESOPRS 2023 Christmas Reflections

In September this year we had the pleasure of meeting friends and colleagues in the ancient setting of Naples, during our 41st Annual Meeting of ESOPRS. The host, Diego Strianese had been a fellow to Prof Jack Rootman in Vancouver, Canada more than 20 years earlier and had invited his mentor to give a keynote during his Meeting. A tribute to his hero, who he owed so much. As Prof Rootman could not make it to Naples, he gave a beautiful online lecture. He was very thoughtfully introduced by Diego’s other hero Giulio Bonovolanta, who reflected on their past careers during which he became good friends with Jack Rootman.

As I had been a visiting fellow to Prof Rootman myself in 1997 I was moved by the images of this great teacher and artist, whose books and publications have inspired so many of us. After the video of his lecture had been shown to the audience, some young colleagues clearly were unaware of the greatness of this lecturer: they did not know him …nor were aware of his work!

That reminded me of meeting Jack Rootman at a Thyroid symposium in Pontresina, many years earlier, where he spoke about the heritage of his mentors and the limited time that one is relevant in our world. He had been very disappointed when one of his fellows had once asked him who Fred Jakobiec was. Rootman had been trained by Jakobiec in New York and admired his personality and his achievements. So, now he had started to realize that the names associated with scientific heritage may already fade after one generation.

During the writing of the ESOPRS textbook, which will be published early 2024, my coeditors Francesco Quaranta-Leoni, David Verity and I felt that we needed to include a section on the history of ESOPRS. In Europe we have our own heroes, so we asked Richard Collin, Serge Morax and Giulio Bonavolonta to write a chapter on the foundation and history of ESOPRS. A preface was written by Prof Richard Collin and another giant and Past-President of our Society: Geoffrey Rose.

Some of us, who attended the 2001 Annual Meeting of ESOPRS in Santiago de Compostela, will remember the Mustarde lecture entitled “The Founder’s Flap” by Richard Collin in the presence of one of his mentors, Jack Mustarde. In the meanwhile, Jack Mustarde’s legacy has survived two generations.

It is important to remember and celebrate our heroes’ contributions to research, their innovative teaching methods, intellectual leadership, and dissemination of ideas. The new generation should appreciate their profound impact on our subspecialty and the broader academic community. It is good to be respectful and thankful for the legacy they have left and to continue building upon the intellectual heritage they have established.

In 2024, we look forward to the full members’ ski meeting in Zell am See in January. But most of us will meet again during the 42nd Annual Meeting of ESOPRS, which will take place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. At this point in time, preparations are underway to make this Meeting an unforgettable experience. The local organizers (Peerooz Saeed and I) have invited Daniel Rootman from the US to speak at our meeting. Dan Rootman, a gifted surgeon and speaker, has had an incredible career himself in Los Angeles. He happens to be the son of Jack. So, the legacy goes on.

ESOPRS looks forward to organizing the second EBO-ESOPRS exam on the Wednesday before the Meeting and we invite all who are keen to take this exam to closely look out for further notice.

The Council of ESOPRS has made promising plans for educational projects. Apart from an ESOPRS textbook, we will work on the development of formal ESOPRS fellowships and teaching events such as ESOPRS’ cadaver workshops. In the meanwhile, our Society continues to grow and include members from European countries, which were never represented at Meetings. In addition, we continue to welcome new international members from all over the globe.

The Christmas time and end of season holidays will hopefully provide some time for reflection. 2023 has been a very difficult year due to tragic global events, which have also directly affected our members. Our thoughts are with those, who have suffered or have been affected by these events. And those and their loved ones, who were confronted with disease themselves.

May the holiday season bring you and your family health, love, prosperity, and peace! Wish you a bright and merry holiday season/Christmas and New Year!”

Dion Paridaens, President ESOPRS,
Rotterdam, December 2023

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