The past three years have been my Editor in Chief years for the European Calcified Tissue Society Newsletter. When thinking of how it all started, the ingredients were an international phone call between Brussels, Amsterdam and L’Aquila, with Anna Teti and Roberta Mugnai, with a faulty connection, and before I could hear or say anything I was appointed as the new Editor in Chief. Anna knew my organizational skills from ITN attempts trying to get Europe’s experts on osteoclasts and the immune system together. The ITN never got funded, even after four attempts, each year improving it once more, but Europe’s reviewers of grants are little consistent, and there is no correlation between improving a grant and improving a score.
For the newsletter, we had to find the right chemistry. What works fine, what does not? How long in advance should we plan our activities, who is responsible for what item? And, very important in team work: how can we exploit the qualities of the individual team members to the advantage of the Newsletter? I have introduced a much earlier deadline, one week before the “real” or old deadline. And that has reduced the deadline stress tremendously: if the article had not reached us by the 23rd of the month, we still had one extra week. Simple but efficient!
When I think of the legacy of the Newsletter, two things come to mind. First of all, we should be proud to be EUROPEAN! That is a great asset, our truly unique selling point and I have experienced how inspiring it is to collaborate on the diverse items of the Newsletter with experts throughout Europe. Providing input on time has never been an issue, demonstrating our members’ conscientiousness and commitment to contribute to our society’s NL. In order to learn from each other and in order to inspire each other, I have introduced the series “Portraits of the National Bone and Mineral Societies”. We learned how Spain, France, Austria, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Italy and the United Kingdom organized their scientific societies. But, ECTS also reaches out to the East. Over the years, ECTS has established fruitful contacts with China, Japan and Republic of Korea. These countries have also contributed to this series.
The second part of the legacy of the past three years is no doubt our team-input for February. Do not get me wrong, it is essential to report on ECTS affairs such as the annual congress, the webinars, the PhD trainings: that is part of what we are here for. But… if you can reach out beyond that with passion, it is just such a nice experience! The 28th of February is Rare Diseases Day and that is relevant for us clinical bone researchers, for us basic scientists in the bone field but above all for those that inspire us even more: the patients who suffer from their rare bone diseases and their caregivers. We have covered fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva in 2019 and osteopetrosis in 2020. The touching stories from caregivers, parents and partners with their unconditional love and affection for child or spouse have touched me deeply and lastingly. These stories make one humble, saluting patients and caregivers all over Europe and beyond for their struggle and natural sacrifice.
As everywhere in society, the past year has been the year of improvisation. Due to Covid-19, many items that were planned quite ahead, had to be rescheduled and reprioritized. But thanks to the lenient and helpful team of first of all Cristiana Cipriani, Antonio Maurizi and Petar Milovanovic, it has all come to pass. Many thanks to Anna Teti, mentor from the first issue and the personalization of involvement. I will miss the wonderful emails between us, the synchronized need of checking. Nearly monthly, I was just composing an email when Anna was just ahead of me, and vice versa. I cherish the shared sense of humor. Roberta Mugnai has always been there for help, for final checks and for ahead thinking. Bo Abrahamsen and at a distance – literally then – André van Wijnen: thanks for your involvement as well.
Thank you for the trust placed in me, I have thoroughly enjoyed this adventure. I wish the team all the best, they are all very capable and dedicated, and since I will be succeeded by a team member, Petar Milovanovic, the transition will be smooth and easy.