History of the NDA

100th Anniversary of the Nordic Dermatology Association
Torbjörn Egelrud
Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Dermatology and Venereology, Umeå University, SE-901 85 Umeå, Sweden. E-mail:torbjorn.egelrud@dermven.umu.se

With 59 registered members, the  Nordic Dermatology Association (NDA) was founded at the first Nordic Dermatology Congress, held on 17–19  May 1910 in Copenhagen. The initiative had been taken by the  dermatologists Kristian Grön from Norway, Carl Rasch from Denmark, and Edvard Welander from Sweden when they met at the International Dermato­ logy Congress in Berlin  in 1904. The aim of the association, as expressed in its statutes, was to promote Nordic cooperation in scientific, educational and clinical aspects of dermatology and venereology, mainly by arranging congresses in the  Nor­dic countries. Since then, 31 Nordic Dermatology Congresses (which from 2001 onwards have been called “Nordic Con­gresses of Dermatology and Venereology”) have been held in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden; 8, 6, 2, 7 and 8 times, respectively. Members of the Nordic national associations of dermatology and venereology (at present 1,424 individuals) become elected members of the NDA.

A further effort to promote Nordic cooperation in dermatology and venereology was taken by Lennart Juhlin in 1996, when he started the  Forum for Nordic Dermato-Venereology. At the Nordic Congress of  Dermatology and Venereology in Gothenburg Forum was appointed official  journal of the NDA. It was also decided to recommend that congress organizers print congress books with meeting programmes and abstracts as supplements of Forum, thereby making them widely available, not only to congress participants. The printing of congress supplements is supported financially by the NDA.

Throughout the years  the “Nordic meetings”, held in spring or  early  summer every  third or  fourth year  have been great events. In addition to high­quality scientific and educational programmes, delegates have been offered fantastic social  pro­ grammes and opportunities to learn more about neighbouring countries. And, perhaps most importantly, the congresses have facilitated interaction between individuals, which is the basis of all successful collaborations.

In addition to scientific and professional issues  related to dermatology and venereology, an item that was discussed for some time was the official  language of the congresses. At the meeting in  Bergen  in  1998  it was decided by the  general as­ sembly that at the next congress (Gothenburg, 2001)  English should be used  for all congress information,  abstracts, slides shown in  presentations, and posters. Also,  that least  one concurrent session throughout the meeting should be  held in English. Furthermore,  it was  recommended that English should be  used  in  as many other meeting activities as pos­ sible. Since the Gothenburg meeting the official language of the NDA  has, in fact, been  English. Among  other benefits of  this timely change, we  have seen an increasing number of participants at our congresses from countries outside the Nordic area.

Another question that has  been raised from time to  time in recent years  is whether or not there is still a place  for (or even a need for)  NDA and Nordic congresses in  dermatol­ogy and venereology. Arguments have been put forward that an organization specifically addressing Nordic issues is becoming less important in  these days  of increasing col­ laboration within the European setting. Furthermore, it has  been said, there is an  ever­increasing number of inter­ national meetings competing for attendees, organizers and calendar space. And, of course, there is also the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV). Those who argue in favour of the continuation of regular Nordic meetings point to similarities among the Nordic countries in terms of healthcare systems, medical education, and therapeutic traditions. And, not least, they love to attend Nordic Congresses.

At  every  general assembly of  the NDA  at which the future of  the organization and forthcoming meetings has been discussed, the majority of  delegates have pronounced  their support for continuation. One explanation for this outcome may  be  that the general assembly meets during an ongoing congress, which has so far always  been a success, and that the attending delegates are  already looking forward to the next Nordic Congress of Dermatology and Venereology. Only the future will tell; the  next Congress is scheduled for 2012  in Fin­land. Exact dates and place will be announced in forthcoming issues  of Forum for Nordic Dermato-Venereology.

This article has been published in Forum for Nordic Dermato-Venereology 2010; 15: 6-7. The pdf can be downloaded here.

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