Jorge Milhem Haddad
Jorge Milhem HaddadIUGA President

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I would like to begin this letter by inviting everyone to attend our virtual Annual Meeting in December. As you all know, with the health and safety of all our attendees in mind, the IUGA Board – in consultation with the Local Organizing Committee – made the difficult decision to convert the IUGA 46th Annual Meeting to a fully virtual event due to the pandemic.

Though we all yearn for a return to meeting face-to-face, virtual delivery means we can reach a wider audience and provide educational opportunities to many members who are otherwise unable to travel to in-person meetings. And the scientific program planned for this year is absolutely fantastic! Congratulations and thanks go to Dudley Robinson, Jan Deprest and the Scientific Committee, as well as Roy Ng and the Local Organizing Committee for their great work.

The meeting will include the high-quality sessions that you expect at our meetings, such as didactic workshops, state of the art lectures, debates and panel discussions, the Annual Ulf Ulmsten Lecture, and more. This meeting will enhance our daily work and prepare us to meet the practice challenges of the future. It is sure to be a great success!

Despite these crazy times, we remain dedicated to our mission to advance urogynecological knowledge and patient care on a global level through education and the promotion of basic science and clinical research on disorders of the female pelvic floor. Here are just some of the initiatives we’ve been working on:

  • We held our first virtual Regional Symposium in August with 290 registrants representing 45 countries, and a great scientific program developed in collaboration with our affiliate society in Thailand.
  • Webinars have been planned and delivered by Special Interest Groups, IUGA Committees, and in collaboration with other societies, with more to come!
  • The IUGA Patient Advisory Council has been established and begun meeting; their first project is to provide feedback and assist in the refresh of the patient website.
  • We continue to add to the base of knowledge in urogynecology through the International Urogynecological Consultation on Pelvic Organ Prolapse; joint terminology papers in collaboration with AUGS, ICS, and SUFU; a new consensus document on enhanced recovery after surgery with AUGS, and a systematic review project.
  • Interactive Networking Sessions have been offered in both English and Spanish.
  • We’ve translated resources into other languages. We now have a full webpage with resources in Spanish, and the COVID Guidance document is available in English, French, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.
  • We have spread our social media outreach with a new Instagram account – be sure to follow us (@iugaoffice)!
  • We are broadening our global reach and collaboration opportunities through the establishment of Regional Advisory Boards (RAB) within large regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America), each chaired by the IAB member from that region. The RABs include the presidents of the national urogynecology societies or the urogynecology sections of the Ob Gyn societies in each region. We have already organized RABs in Europe, Africa, Latin America, Western Asia, and Eastern/Central Asia and held productive meetings. Each RAB will meet every six months via Zoom. As a multidisciplinary society, there is a nurse/midwife/allied health professional representative included on each RAB.

So, despite the pandemic, IUGA is working hard, and I would like to thank the Board of Directors, the Chairs of Committees, the Special Interest Groups, the International Urogynecological Consultation Committees, and the Patient Advisory Council for their dedication and contributions to our mission. I would also like to thank the Editors-in-Chief and the entire IUJ team for their great work during the pandemic, reflected in an increased Impact Factor to 2.894!

And finally, a special thanks to David Casalod, Tessa Benitez, and the fantastic team in the IUGA Office who make all these projects possible. Thank you so much for your support.

Please feel free to contact me with your questions or share your ideas. As I usually say: Together we are stronger!

I am looking forward to seeing all of you at our Virtual Annual Meeting in December.

Warm Regards,