- What is the short history of the EMEUNET?
In 2009, EULAR made a strategic decision to establish a platform for young rheumatologists, by entrusting three young rheumatologists – Maya Buch, Laure Gossec and Daniel Aletaha – with the task to laid the foundation for the development of a formal young rheumatologists’ network, called EMEUNET – the EMerging EUlar NETwork, with the aim to “Bring on board high quality, young generation contributors in all EULAR activities“.
To this aim, they invited 25 young rheumatologists to join the first EMEUNET working group. Over the years, our working group was structured into subgroups, each taking care of a key strategic area. One of our first products was the EMEUNEWS, a newsletter to reach out to our members. With time, as our community grew bigger, we diversified our communication, with a website (emeunet.eular.org) and expanding our presence on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. At the same time, we organised educational activities, such as the first Epidemiology course, together with mentoring and networking activities. 2019 marked a special year for EMEUNET as we celebrated our 10th anniversary, while our membership went over 2000.
Today, EMEUNET is a large network of young rheumatologists and researchers in the field of rheumatology in Europe and beyond, with a total of 2470 registered members.
While growing in numbers, our spirit did not change. Our main aims remain to i) promote education, ii) foster research and collaboration and iii) facilitate the integration of young rheumatologists and researchers within EULAR.
However, these objectives cannot be achieved alone. One of the most important developments in the last years has been the expansion of our collaborations with other international young rheumatologists’ organizations worldwide, such as PANLAR Joven, APLAR Young Rheumatologists, and ACR Young, and with other Young Specialists’ Organisations in Europe, such as nephrology (YNP), pediatric rheumatology (PReS EMERGE), immunology/allergy (EAACI Junior members), gastroenterology (Y-ECCO), internal medicine (Young Internists), oncology (YOC), and, last but not least, ECTS!
- Who is it open to and how to get involved?
EMEUNET is open to young rheumatologists and researchers with an interest in rheumatology who are less than 40 years old. Our members include clinicians, basic scientists, epidemiologists, health professionals, everyone with an interest in Rheumatology is welcome!
Registration is free and just requires a few steps on our website.
Once registered, EMEUNET members become part of a large community, with the opportunity to take part in our mentoring, educational and networking activities, including many opportunities from EULAR, such as bursaries and travel grants.
However, this is only the first level of involvement into EMEUNET. Annually, all our members are invited to apply to join the Working Group. As a Working Group member, you are directly involved in the organization of our activities, while also participating to our bi-annual business meetings during EULAR and ACR. Importantly, we welcome projects and ideas from all our members, and many of our most successful activities were proposed by our working group members.
- What kind of activities EMEUNET organizes/takes care of?
An easy way to summarise our activities is to describe our subgroups and their work: the Education subgroup organizes live and online courses in collaboration with the EULAR School of Rheumatology, the Ambassador programme for first time EULAR attendees, the “What is New” initiative including recent publications in various thematic areas, recently also in the form of podcasts. The Country Liaisons subgroup manages our country liaisons network, with a representative in each of the 46 EULAR countries. Then we have our own editorial team, the Newsletter Subgroup, publishing a monthly newsletter on various topics, including overview of our activities and highlights from conferences. The Peer Mentoring subgroup takes care of mentoring activities, such as the peer review training programme and post-doc mentoring initiative. The Social Media subgroup acts as our voice to the outside world for most of our activities on social media, including our website, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Last but not least, the Visibility&Global Affairs subgroup takes care of organizing networking activities, such as meetings for our members at conferences and, very recently, the first EMEUNET speed dating to be launched at the next EULAR. At the same time, our global affairs activities include interaction with other societies, including the ECTS, that started with my participation as EMEUNET representative at the ECTS 2019 and is now continuing with this interview and the participation of ECTS to our upcoming Newsletter on scientific societies, which you will be able to find on our website in May 2020.
- Can you give some examples where EMEUNET made a difference?
One of the most successful activities has been the peer review mentoring, in collaboration with ARD and RMD open, now in its 5th edition and with a 6th edition coming up very soon. Another success worth mentioning is the inclusion of two EMEUNET members in all EULAR task forces to produce recommendations, as per EULAR standard operating procedure, which represented an invaluable learning opportunity for many of our members. Finally, the EULAR-EMEUNET journal club has been another recent success. Follow the links to discover why I think these activities have been so successful!
- What do members say about EMEUNET? (personal opinion why it is great to be there)
When I talk about EMEUNET and describe such large number of activities, many people ask me how we can sustain our organization on a voluntary basis. I think the secret is in the enthusiasm of members, who are willing to dedicate their free time to our community. This works because upon joining EMEUNET you become part of a community of colleagues and, most importantly, friends. Networking is the secret of a successful scientific and clinical career, but EMEUNET goes way beyond networking. I realised this last year, during our 10th year anniversary celebration, as meeting our past chairs felt like a group of friends getting together. This is the true secret recipe of EMEUNET success!