Welcome from the President of PANLAR
Dear Friends and Rheumatologists,
It’s hard to believe that I once again find myself writing a letter of invitation to a new PANLAR Congress.
Images of the 20th PANLAR Congress in Buenos Aires are still fresh in my mind.
It was there that PANLAR held a record breaking Congress in every conceivable respect. The response of PAN AMERICAN and, especially, LATIN AMERICAN rheumatology was phenomenal and immensely gratifying.
This response, and the conviction that we need a space to express ourselves, present our research results and listen to international experts as well as to our own (each speaking in their own language!) has led us to make the PANLAR Congress an annual event.
The Ecuadorian Rheumatological Society has taken up the challenge of organising the next congress, and the first of this new annual series, with barely a year to do so. And judging by their work, we are sure it will be a great success.
To answer the following questions: Is a yearly event really necessary? Has enough progress been made to justify this? We are convinced that the answer is a resounding yes. We have seen the enthusiasm of our researchers and experts when presenting their results and experiences to the PANLAR community with our own eyes. We know we have superb researchers and academics who sometimes are not given the platform they deserve at other international events, more often than not due to language barriers. It is the intention of the PANLAR Congresses to give them the platform and the welcome they deserve!
Once again the next event will feature a Patients’ Congress. We feel proud to have organised the first PANLAR Patients’ Congress and we found the response to and repercussions of it deeply gratifying. We would like to congratulate its organisers and thank them for already being hard at work on Quito 2019.
Thanks to the work of the previous steering committees PANLAR is much more than a big Congress. PANLAR’s study groups formalise agreements and make recommendations, design and implement online educational programmes via their website, award research prizes and grants, organise fellows exchange programmes with the ACR, promote patient education, and support the events held by member societies, to name but a few of their most important activities.
Thanks to the support of the member societies, and all of you, we will continue along this path and work even harder.
Nothing we have achieved would have been possible without the backing of the pharmaceutical industry. The relationship between the scientific societies and individual medical practitioners and the pharmaceutical industry is both complex and full of nuances. We cannot deny, however, that many of the major advances in the field of rheumatology and, above all, in its treatment, have been made possible by the industry’s research and investment. We at PANLAR believe that regardless of the fact that they are companies whose purposes and obligations include making a profit, we do have numerous interests and goals in common. We are counting on their support to continue providing medical education, educating patients, and carrying out independent and balanced research.
We look forward to seeing you at Quito 2019. Let’s make this next PANLAR event one that we will remember forever!
Enrique R. Soriano
President of PANLAR