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A few words from your President

Stephan Gielen, EACPR President 2012-2014

The incoming EACPR President looks back on the association's beginning and shares his vision for the future and the hope that "Together we will be able to meet challenges and establish the EACPR as one of the great voices of preventive cardiology on a global scale."



Dear Friends and Colleagues,

When I joined the Working Group of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Exercise Physiology about a decade ago it was a small family of about 200 enthusiasts from diverse backgrounds such as cardiac rehabilitation, cardiovascular prevention, exercise physiology, and physiotherapy. When we organized one Spring Meeting of the Working Group in Leipzig in 2002 we did not have the support of a congress division, there were no industry exhibitions and satellite symposia. We printed the invitations and the session programmes in our offices and went to local restaurants to taste the best food for social events.

When the Working Groups of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Exercise Physiology and on Epidemiology and Prevention came together in 2004 to form the new European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (EACPR) it was not just the founding moment of one the largest international professional organizations for cardiovascular prevention but also the end of the cosy niche in which we had previously lived as working groups. All of a sudden – as an ESC association – our development and growth was closely viewed and supported by the ESC. Our congresses have become large international conferences professionally managed by the ESC Congress Direction; our sections set standards of care in cardiac rehabilitation, sports cardiology, and exercise physiology through their position papers and scientific activities. Many of our members have high-ranking positions in the ESC – in the Board, the ESC Congress Programme Committee, the Research Committee, Guideline Task Forces, and other official institutions. Our Association now contributes about 1/5th of all scientific sessions to the ESC congress. Finally, one of our Past Presidents is now running for ESC Presidency. We have a lot of things to be proud of and huge progress has been made regarding our scientific output, the standard and the size of our congresses, and our global visibility as a professional organization.

However, a lot of challenges still lie ahead, and with our greater international role come greater responsibilities. “We cannot escape history” Abraham Lincoln once said. For the EACPR this means that we cannot go back into the cosy niche of the former working groups. We have to meet the challenges that we face and rise with them. Let me just highlight a few of the projects that I believe are essential for our success and development in the next two years:

  • To define the clinical and scientific areas we cover as EACPR and to set clinical standards of prevention and rehabilitation we are in the process of writing the EACPR Textbook of Preventive Cardiology. Three volumes will be produced in the next years: (1) Preventive Cardiology – Clinical Implementation, (2) Sports Cardiology, and (3) Integrative Biology of Cardiovascular Prevention. The books will be written by an international group of authors from the EACPR and beyond. They will be closely linked to the growing ESC eLearning Platform with case-based learning and CME multiple choice questions.
  • The huge public health impact of cardiovascular prevention also implies that we cannot act as scientists in the ivory tower, but also have a public and political responsibility to work for better implementation of simple preventive measures promoting a strict non-smoking policy in public places, and EU legislation to promote healthy diet and adequate health education including physical activity in the EU countries. The EACPR has to go global and political side by side with the ESC Board and the ESC European Affairs Committee. Together we aim to improve international cooperation between professional societies in the area of prevention and rehabilitation in order to develop a common voice in response to global cardiovascular health problems.
  • As an ESC Association we should not limit ourselves to epidemiology, sports cardiology, and rehabilitation, but should open the EACPR to all ESC groups taken an interest in preventive cardiology.

All these areas demand a great deal of dedication and input. But together we will be able to meet those challenges and establish the EACPR as one of the great voices of preventive cardiology on a global scale. At the same time we should not forget where we come from: It is always the personal enthusiasm, the individual research input, the dedication of those of you who work in the sections, committees, and beyond that forms the foundation of any professional society. It is my vision that the increasing role of the EACPR will also give us the funds and structures to better support your important contributions to prevention sciences and to our association.

I hope you enjoyed EuroPRevent 2012, the showcase of the EACPR, and that you will become personally involved in our mission: "To promote excellence in research, practice, education and policy in cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation in Europe and beyond."


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