One of the great joys of being IASP president, indeed of being an IASP member, is connecting with pain clinicians and scientists from around the world. At the recent 37th annual scientific meeting of the Australian Pain Society (APS), held in beautiful Adelaide, I enjoyed meeting many Australian IASP members and learning more about pain treatment and education in that country.
The Scientific Program Committee, led by Councilor Michele Sterling, created an exceptional program, which included plenary lectures by international and Australian speakers and topical workshops on a broad array of topics.
I was honored to give a lecture in recognition of Sir Sydney Sunderland, an Australian neurologist and anatomist who made major contributions to the field of neuropathic pain and to the founding of IASP. Sir Sunderland was a vice president of IASP and served on the first IASP Council, elected in 1975. A photo of him sitting next to former IASP President John Loeser at the first IASP Council meeting in 1976 can be found on page 14 of Louisa Jones’s book, First Steps. I encourage those of you who haven’t already done so to read this interesting history of the early years of IASP. It can be downloaded from free from the IASP website.
At a “Meet the Speakers” breakfast session and during breaks throughout the meeting, I enjoyed talking with many delegates. These individuals ranged widely in disciplines and pain interests but had in common a passion for expanding their knowledge about pain and taking new knowledge back to their research and clinical settings.
Given our upcoming 2018 Global Year for Excellence in Pain Education, I was pleased to observe in these conversations, as well as in the content of many lectures, a keen interest in improving education about pain at all levels, including health-care providers, patients, and the public. Indeed, one group of particularly dedicated delegates spent the week preceding the meeting riding bicycles 970km from Melbourne to Adelaide in an effort to reach out to the public and health-care providers to improve pain education and treatment in rural communities!
Judith A. Turner, PhD