VdGM Pre-conference 10 years of history, many more to grow
The Vasco da Gama Movement (VdGM) Pre-conference started yesterday with as undisputed feeling of renovation and growth, in a time when the movement celebrates its ten years of existence. Several of the key figures in the birth of the movement, like the Dutch doctor Fons Sips, as well as the president of WONCA Europe, Job Metsemakers, and the President of WONCA World, Michael Kidd, were present in this historical occasion.
It was in fact the Australian family doctor that leads WONCA World that said one of the most memorable sentences during the opening ceremony of the Pre-Conference: “this organization continues to regenerate itself, which is just wonderful!”. Michael Kidd also mentioned the fact that the VdGM has been working closely with young colleagues from other parts of the world, a collaboration effort that has resulted in an historic achievement: all the WONCA Regions now have an interest group of trainees and young family doctors.
For Job Metsemakers, president of WONCA Europe, it was very important to see «new blood» in the audience: “it is very important to every organization to have new and young members, who are energetic and that want to build upon what is already a reality”.
The president of the VdGM, Harris Lygidakis, described the importance of the Pre-Conference: “the VdGM Pre-conference is very important for many reasons, but specially to welcome the newcomers, those who have never been in contact with the WONCA Family before. Here, we try our best to guide you and to introduce you to all the activities that lie ahead”.
In his visionary speech, João Sequeira Carlos (chairman of the 19th WONCA Europe Conference and one of the first presidents of the VdGM) recalled the VdGM mission, established in 2009: “the VdGM mission is to extend the knowledge of GP/FM in a European perspective and to exchange ideas and experiences with the purpose to develop and improve GP/FM in Europe and at home”. Several year after leaving the leadership of the VdGM, João Sequeira Carlos stills carries the major values of the movement: “I’m already a senior doctor and I might have grey hair, but I think I’m still a part of the VdGM, and that shows in the way I think and practice medicine”.
New generation of family doctors discusses challenges in a changing society The construction and discussion of visions for the future is one of the main aims of the VdGM Pre-conference. This year, the work group sessions focused on practice improvement, quality, teaching and research, the development of the specialty in order to meet the needs of the patients (in an increasingly complex society), the present working conditions of the new generation of family doctors and, finally, the issues associated with exchange programs and opportunities.
It is important to remember that today there will be a VdGM plenary session, (at 3h30 p.m.), where the conclusions from all the work groups will be presented. These conclusions will also form the basis of a statement document, where the major strategic ideas of the movement for the future of General Practice/Family Medicine will be summarized.
The Pre-conference is now clearly marked by enthusiasm, mostly due to the tenth anniversary of the movement. A celebration of the work done so far and of the future paths chosen by the young European family doctors. Besides the Photo Exposition, already present at the Lisbon Congress Center, the VdGM is planning to commemorate its 10th anniversary with the launching of a book, today, at 01h00 p.m., baptized with the suggestive title: “10 years sailing, much more to discover”.
Also today, after the VdGM Europe Council meeting, a new Executive Group will be selected to guide the movement during the next three years.