Aparna Hegde
Aparna HegdeChair, IUGA Publications Committee

Dear IUGA Family,

The human spirit prevails in the most trying of times. Our ability to adapt and innovate in uncertain circumstances was demonstrated by the successful organization of the International Urogynecological Association’s first hybrid Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, in collaboration with the American Urogynecologic Society. While many among our membership experienced the wonderful privilege of meeting and sharing knowledge and ideas in person, the prevailing circumstances made it inherently necessary to add a virtual arm to the proceedings, in keeping with the zeitgeist. And boy, did it all work! We have still not descended from the high of the wonderful academic feast that the meeting proved to be. There was something for everyone, whether attending in person or virtually, every participant could prioritize and choose sessions according to their special interest. The sessions were invigorating and informative, and we thank the Program Committee for putting together such an eclectic meeting.

This issue of the Spotlight is an attempt to capture the gist of the proceedings and the take-home messages as best as we can. Our talented committee has put together a highlights reel of the meeting as a go-to reference guide to help you prioritize sessions you would like to watch later. We have captured the inspiring message of our President, Dr. Jorge Haddad, in his Presidential Address in which he discussed the three pillars for achieving IUGA’s goals of promoting women’s health, namely integration and collaboration, multidisciplinary approach and patients as partners. In a timely nod to the climate change crisis, Frank Willem Jansen gave a thought-provoking keynote address on the carbon footprint of surgery, which has been succinctly captured by Carmen Ortiz-Roque. I also implore you to read Catherine Hudson’s summary of Dr. Abdul Sultan’s inspirational Ulf Ulmsten Lecture, Acute Obstetric Anal Sphincter Injuries – the Tale of Two Sphincters. The lecture beautifully details a lifetime of devotion to prevention of perineal trauma.

No meeting can be complete without a fun debate, and this was proved by the balloon debate on surgical management of stress urinary incontinence, such a necessary topic given the prevailing controversy around the use of mesh summarized by Catherine Hudson. We have also included summaries on the award-winning abstracts, the basic science program, the surgical tutorial on fistula management and the concurrent panels on clinical relevance of imaging studies and personalized medicine by Abhishek Sripad, Judith Goh, Karishma Thariani and yours truly. In keeping with the commitment to incorporating patients’ voices within the organization through the creation of the IUGA Patient Advisory Council, Amr Sherif El Haraki has summarized the plenary session on how to develop patient and public involvement in urogynecology services. Lastly, the issue details the fun events held to raise funds for the missions of FIUGA and the AUGS PFD Research Foundation. I hope the amazing fundraising efforts of our members will inspire you to get involved!

I hope you find this issue stimulating and inspiring in equal measure and I thank our hardworking committee members for their efforts in putting it all together. I would also like to express my humble gratitude and thanks to the IUGA President, Dr. Jorge Haddad; the AUGS President, Dr. Elizabeth Mueller; the Program Committee and everyone who made this Annual Meeting a success – together we are truly stronger!

Thank you, our esteemed readers, for the constant support! Please stay safe!