December 17, 2021

A message from the ESICM President

A remarkable recognition for ESICM in 2021!


In 2021, healthcare professionals have been, and still are, at the frontline of the pandemic. Most people I speak to around the world tells me the same thing: we are tired, but we are still here, considering it a privilege helping patients and families in intensive care.

Throughout the year, the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine has supported its intensive care community. Not only did we provide access to the latest research and education, but we also developed video resources explaining all about Intensive Care Units for patients and their families. Families were even the special guests of our LIVES 2021 opening. Furthermore, we launched an open survey to detail ICU family-centred care worldwide, a stepping stone for a series of studies that aim to provide the best possible care for ICU patients and families.

While the vaccination roll-out has been one of the pillars of the global fight against COVID-19, the pandemic is far from over. Therefore, as a Society, we have been advocating fair access to vaccinations everywhere in the world. First of all, it is only equitable to do so. Second, it is the only way to end the pandemic, minimising the chances of new variants emerging.

We have to thank citizens for listening to science and getting vaccinated. This has helped our battle against COVID-19 immensely.

Despite this effort, several waves have hit our world in 2021. Unfortunately, this meant that travel restrictions would have prevented a large part of our community from attending our events. To ensure that everybody can benefit from our resources, we have digitalised all activities and events.

Our annual congress, LIVES Digital 2021, has allowed global access to the latest ground-breaking research in Intensive Care, with one of the eight channels open to free streaming. Moreover, we have held a second edition of the COVID-19 Marathon to bring together and share all knowledge accumulated while fighting the pandemic.

We did not stop there. We hosted 38 free webinars throughout the year ranging from clinical topics to human resources and crisis management. Each collected an average of 10,000 views and reached more than 100,000 people worldwide, demonstrating how necessary new information was for intensive care professionals.

To further meet the needs of our community, we have also expanded our educational offer. We count new free and self-paced learning pathways, such as the COVID-19 ALIVE course for managing COVID patients in low- and middle-income countries and the C19_SPACE training programme.

The COVID-19 Skills Preparation Course (C19_SPACE) was initially opened from September 2020 until May 2021 and involved more than 20,000 healthcare professionals across Europe. Thanks to a partnership with the European Union, it was the most extensive training ever provided in a health emergency context.

Given the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic, the programme is now open again to provide basic Intensive Care training to Healthcare Professionals not regularly working in ICU worldwide.

We have worked with the European Institutions to offer our expertise and participated in several webinars with the European Parliament. We want to make sure that the voices of our patients, families and healthcare workers are heard. We have increased our efforts to ensure that intensive care will be one of the pillars of health in Europe in the future. The Free Movement of Intensivists remains a priority. In this regard, we are delighted to have reached a great milestone in our work with the European Parliament, and we are very excited to share with you all the information about it at the beginning of next year.

We have published the new Surviving Sepsis Guidelines with our American partners SCCM and have produced new ESICM guidelines on Blood Transfusions and Ultrasounds. In addition, the newly formed Methodology Group and Guidelines Group are actively working to bring new approaches to bedside clinicians.

We know that we can face this crisis better if we all stand united and vigilant. Still, we look forward to 2022, which will mark the 40th anniversary of ESICM and what a journey it has been!

We now count nearly 10,000 members from 132 countries: physicians, nurses, allied healthcare professionals, scientists or trainees from Europe and beyond who comprise our global intensive care community. In addition, we have a new position for a country outside Europe for the first time, with India having its council representative. The newly formed Global Intensive Care Group has a Chair from South Africa and is working to increase the collaboration with low and middle-income countries worldwide.

We believe that education can save lives. Therefore, education has been a significant focus of our activities, with record numbers of masterclasses, EDIC and EDEC preparation courses and new projects on the pipeline. In addition, our online interactive formats have received overwhelming positive feedback and have allowed us to reach thousands of people outside Europe.

This year we have made significant changes to the Society’s structure to reflect better the diversity of its members and the values of Diversity, Respect, Inclusiveness, Vision and Excellence that DRIVE the actions of the Society. As a result, nearly 100 candidates from very diverse backgrounds applied to our last elections. This result is a testimony that our members supported the new changes.

We are excited to celebrate this milestone with our community face-to-face, May 12-14, at LIVES 40. It will be a 3-day live event in Madrid to network, hear thought-provoking multidisciplinary talks and participate in educational workshops. If you and your colleagues have been working on research projects, I encourage you to submit your abstracts to the congress and seize the chance to present and discuss them with peers worldwide. We are also enthusiastic to have a EuroAsia conference in India, May 26-29, and a LIVES Forum on Trauma and Brain Injury in Greece, June 23-25.

This year we will continue to monitor the situation, make decisions accordingly, and keep advocating for fair access to vaccines for all. One thing is sure: if in 2022 you are unable to travel, the Society’s doors will remain wide open to you, allowing you to connect to the global intensive care community as we have done in 2021.

I want to end this note with my heartfelt thanks. All our efforts would not have been possible without the time, energy and passion that our Intensive Care community has dedicated to patients and families with excellent and compassionate clinical care and offering state-of-the-art research and education while still going above and beyond in their daily practice.

My vision is clear: we want to be a Scientific Society that fosters clinical excellence, research and education and gives equal opportunities based on merit to everyone working in Intensive Care Medicine. I know that with your help, we are doing that and that we are helping many patients and families worldwide.

I’m also delighted to share with you that our efforts to help patients, families and healthcare workers have been just recognised with the European Health Leadership Award 2021. The award spotlights organisations that have showcased exceptional leadership in safeguarding or improving the health of people in Europe and the actions taken by the Society were perceived as timely and impactful initiatives.

This is a remarkable recognition of the work done by the Society and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your contribution to the 2021 team effort of ESICM.

Thank you for all your work. We should be proud of being part of this global community. Together, we are Intensive Care.


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