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General Assembly, Wednesday 28th May, 2003, 4.00-6.00
Venue, Congress Centre, Crete. 


AGENDA

1. Welcome from Chairman

2. Attendance:       
Verschuure NL (V),  Vanzanten, NL (NV), de Laat NL (NV)
Pascu, RO (V)
Stephan, AU (V) & Welzl-Mueller, AU (NV) 
Lenarz, GE (V),  Kiessling, GE  (NV)
Tavartkiladze RU (V)
Kise LV (V)
Walter DE (V)
Govaerts BE (V)
Dauman FR (V)
Barajas SP (V)
Prasher UK (V)
Sulkowski PO (V)
Mikic, SE & MO, (V)
Vatovec SL (V) and Alcin SL (NV)
Attias IS (V)
Mia-Holgers SW (V) Moeller SW (NV) and Arlinger SW (NV)
Farkas HU (V)
Gavalas GR (V)
Laukli NO (V)
Spillmann CH (V)
Pitt IRE (V)
Grandori IT (OBS)

Apologies - Hungary (Pytel).

3. Minutes of GA 2002 (Como) were briefly discussed and approved without a vote.


4. Chairman's Report (Lenarz) - commented on genetics studies and also bids for conferences - method of voting.  Council meeting in Goteborg - site visit discussed.

  • Structure of EFAS: need to improve communication links.
  • Website and e-mail contacts need strengthening.  ?Newsletter, similar to Audiology online, to keep information current.
  • Need for research activities; EFAS needs to offer initiatives on important issues in hearing loss, see below.  (E.g Kajsa-Mia Holgers (Sweden) suggested Noise effects upon children.)  EU and Governments give high profile to other diseases - concerted actions would enable Audiology to develop a higher political profile.

5. Activities of working parties and links with other bodies in Audiology:
a)  Working Parties in EFAS - suggested new groups (KMH -Sweden) - EFAS would act as a network for a collaborative multi-disciplinary project on the consequences of Noise in Children and Adolescence.  This would include representatives of Health Boards.  Problems today are the lack of normative data; definition of NIHL and Confounding Factors.  Deepak Prasher and Joseph Attias made supportive comments; if anyone else wishes to join in, they can contact Kajsa-Mia by e-mail.
b)  EFAS Society links in Europe (Lenarz):  UEMS - Laukli and Dauman have been looking at this.
Contacts with a number of societies - Lenarz did send out some literature, and also to the EU bodies, who need to be aware of European representation for Audiology.
c)  UEMS (Laukli report on Barcelona 2002; Dauman);  2 years ago, EFAS invitation to UEMS was extended to a non-medical audiologist (Laukli).  Barcelona was basically an inspection visit of ENT facilities but not geared for discussion of the relationship between ENT and Audiology.  Laukli delivered (by hand) a short paper on training to the UEMS-ORL representative.  He suggested that a non-medical Audiology representative should attend when there is a guaranteed slot for presenting on Audiology.  Dauman also expressed disappointment with the attempts to link the groups; he felt the professional relationship would have to change.
d)  Collaboration and other projects especially 'Hear.com' (Verschuure) - call for framework on 'EI' (electronic inclusion) is coming up.  Diagnostics and rehabilitation which may be at a remote site - so the communication is either by internet, e-mail or by telephone (e.g. advice services)  This should be applicable throughout Europe.  EFAS is a collaborator; if grant is made available, this will show the potential for EFAS members to work together with GSM/Internet/University/Speech Synthesis companies etc. 24 companies appx. are involved.
&
e)  Possible links to World Health Organisation  (Verschuure) - new developments in the WHO mean that the process of recognition/affiliation for Societies is being reformed this year.  They have asked interested organisations to complete a questionnaire prior to being considered for affiliation.  International Society of Audiology has applied to Geneva; EFAS should apply to Copenhagen (the European Office).  First letter of interest has been sent to the 'contact person'; a further application will be sent soon.

6. EFAS Conference 2003, Crete (matters arising)
Gavalas presented, stressing the difficulties encountered.  Particular problems with website via the FREI Congress agency.  Also, the location, company contacts have proved problematic between local and international offices.
Also problems of large numbers of conferences this year in Greece, clashes with other conferences, and the Iraq war may have affected registration.
Scientific programme and costs of speakers were a major consideration, and the need to improve representation from all countries.  There were last minute difficulties with round table organisation.  1st time for courses during the conference.  Information needs to be conveyed to future organisers.

7. 2005, EFAS Conference, Goteborg - progress report (Kajsa Mia-Holgers).
Site for 7th Congress, 19-23rd June 2005; a considerable amount of organisation has occurred in collaboration with the Swedish Society of Audiology and with extensive academic support.  Many topics, the congress venue (Chalmers University) and the Website are already organised - www.congrex.se/EFAS2005.  Various topics including:  Genetics,  CAPD, Protection against Inner Ear etc..Audiological Education and Rehabilitation, CI, Sound Propagation, Noise & Health Effects. 
Former Nobel Laureate Arvid Carlsson will give a presentation; Queen Silvia has been asked to be Patroness.  The location and tram services were mentioned.  The Scientific Committee were listed.  Suggestions for new candidates for an International Scientific Committee were sought.

8. Consideration - host countries for the 2007 EFAS conference. Bids from:
a) Germany - Heidelberg (Lenarz, Hoth and Dillier), Germany in September 2007.  Close to Frankfurt border, and accessible by train; a joint Austrian/Swiss/German bid.
Heidelberg is a 'Romantic' city with the oldest University in Germany, old castles.  Conference venue close to the old bridge with everything within walking distance, near the University.  Congress fee will be close to €400.  Interior of the Congress venue is a grand olde-world building.  The outline of the programme was given - e.g. translational research (to get real products), rehab., epidemiology etc.etc. 

b) Italy - Florence (Martini & Grandori) - summary:  Florence Congress Centre. 5 minutes from Railway Station, and a wide range of hotels and restaurants at varying prices.  Opportunities to visit classical monuments. (? Palazzo Vecchio) & to Tuscany etc.  Municipality very supportive.  Developing the spirit of the Congress and collaboration with other Societies such as FEPEDA, EUDeaf, EbureauDisabilities etc.etc.
From UNHS and other conferences, a mailing list of over 10000 addresses is available and a more international profile will be developed (eg developing countries).
From 2004-2007 no other international conferences are planned in Italy, so this should not be a problem for sponsor companies on limited budgets, or for clashes.
Registration fees around €400.

c) Tenerife (Barajas).  Proposing Puerto de la Cruz, at Hotel Semiramis (5-star).  Barajas stressed the extensive experience in organising large congresses.  He also raised the opportunities for excursions to Mount Teide; congress tours to La Gomera (communication via whistling).  Flight connections are very strong - charter flights are very reasonable. 
Registration fees proposed are in the region of €400.

Attias asked if bid organisers can be contacted directly and it was suggested that any such questions should be made available to all voting representatives by circulation to the mailing list. Arlinger commented that 2006 ISA Congress will be in Innsbruck, Austria.

ALL VOTING REPRESENTATIVES SHOULD CLEARLY INDICATE THEIR PREFERENCE WITHIN 1 MONTH - I.E. BEFORE 1ST JULY 2003 - TO THE SECRETARY BY E-MAIL, AND THE RESULT OF THE VOTE WILL THEN BE CIRCULATED BY E-MAIL.

9. Adoption of guidelines for future host countries (Lenarz) - the question of the process of selection for future venues was discussed.  A letter of details for future bids was circulated on 5/5/03; however, the Council considered that it was more appropriate to present a TEXT-ONLY  document with specific costings and a scientific programme outline (as well as the presentation at the GA), which would be voted on some time after the GA by e-mail.  A proposal to change the current voting system was made by the Council.  Comments were invited; generally it seemed that presentations of bids should be given at the GA, but there would be a specified time to reply and vote by e-mail - Govaerts suggested a time of at least one month (replies by 1st July 2003).  In addition, for future bids after one for 2007, bids should be received about 2-3 months in advance and then the vote could take place again at the GA meeting.

10. EFAS accounts and Treasurer's Report – Spillmann
Spillmann mentioned that transferring the bank account had cost about €170 and it would be inadvisable to change the account in future, given the expense.
Total received in membership was €3700 this year.  A map showing the countries who had paid was displayed.  Swiss banks would not accept Israeli cheques.
2002 report:  Balance c/f:12276
Income 2002: 3691
TOTAL: 15968
Expenditure for 2002 was €2287 which was mainly the cost of the trip to Barcelona and the Website fee.  Thus the Balance at the end of 2002 was €13681.

Spillmann proposed that the fee should remain at €250 and that there should be a vote on this.GB  New invoices will be sent before the Summer Holidays.  Lenarz commented that there may be more website expenditure if a more professional Website image is required in the near future.

11. EFAS Website and e-mail contacts - consideration of online newsletter?
Hazell has retired but there have been problems with the e-mail address host.  A change is urgently needed to a more professional organ, updated regularly, with a regular circulation of information & a link to the Congress website.
Lenarz suggested that an existing Society Website might be able to take on the EFAS site, for a fee (eg BSA or GSA) on a long-term basis.  Grandori volunteered his Institute as a possibility. (Subsequently, Linda Luxon from UK said that she would approach BSA Council about taking this on - which would be a better solution).

12. Other meetings in 2003/2004.: 
  • EUFOS - Otolaryngology Societies - Rhodes 2004 - have invited EFAS to present some Audiology topics.
  • Rehabilitation in Europe, Slovenia, 2004; EFAS proposed some Audiology topics.
  • Nordic Audiological Society - 6-10th June, 2004, Stockholm.  'Hearing in the Elderly'.
  • UNHS - Como, Italy, May 27-29th, 2004.  (16 voting reps. Hope to be present).

Due to the fact that Como was likely to have the most Voting Representatives present during 2004, it was decided to hold the Annual General Meeting at Como in 2004.

13. Any other business.
Verschuure wished to talk as the ISA representative; all EFAS representatives will be approached about ethical and educational issues during the coming year.  A 'worldwide curriculum' for Audiology will be proposed; EFAS curriculum may not be applicable worldwide but is a useful basis for discussion with international societies.

14. Report of Nomination committee for the General Assembly 2003 (Govaerts); introduction and presentation of candidates.
Discussion took place about the current late circulation of the names of the nominees for the vacant positions on the Council, and the adoption, role and function of the Nominations Committee which has remained unchanged for several years. Suggestions for changing the Nominations Committee (should it also be elected periodically or is there a need for one at all - could not countries simply nominate candidates?), the procedures (i.e. putting the candidate CVs forward some months before the GA) and making the process of election more transparent and ensuring democracy were made.  {NB: A further issue is the local democratic processes which ensure that Voting Representatives are elected to represent their own Audiology Societies - has this been properly established within the EFAS structures?).
It was suggested by the Secretary that further consideration of this aspect was required at the next Council meeting/GA, or by e-mail between Voting Representatives.   Voting then took place.

Vote to maintain the Treasurers and Auditors:  general show of hands revealed that the current Representatives were willing to continue.

  • Vice President: Joseph ATTIAS (Israel), George TAVARTKILATZE (Russia), Milan PROFANT (Slovak).
  • Secretary: Ligija KISE (Latvia), Ingrida ULOZIENE (Lithuania)

Results: 
1. Attias - 11 votes, Tavartkiladze - 9 votes, Profant 1.  Attias accepted the position of vice-president.  Joseph's e-mail address is:  attiasj@netvision.net.il
2. Kise - 16 votes, Uloziene - 5 votes.  Kise accepted the position of Secretary.
Please not that Ligija's e-mail address is:  ligija@vide.lv
and that in the future all Secretary mailings, including the e-mail voting for the destination of the 2007 EFAS Congress, should be directed to her, with a cc to the new Chairman, Hans Verschuure (j.verschuure@erasmusmc.nl) where appropriate.
 Treasurer: Thomas SPILLMANN (Switzerland)
Auditors: Alexander PASCU (Romania) and Wieslaw SULKOWSKI (Poland)
*******Election of vice-president and secretary to new EFAS Council******

Please note that Branka Mikic is new member for Serbia & Montenegro.  branmi@eunet.yu  And  Dr. Sonja Zarkovic is the new representative for Bosnia: sonja_zarkovic@yahoo.com
Dr. Zsolt Farkas has replaced Josef Pytel as the Hungary Voting Rep. (drfarkaszsolt@yahoo.com)

15. Introduction of New EFAS Council and transfer of Chairman's post.


16. Vote of thanks to retiring Council members by Hans Verschuure.
Arlinger suggested a change in the Nominations Committee and this will be discussed shortly. Verschuure proposed that the next GA be held again in Como, Italy, in May 2004.

17. Closing:  Lenarz suggested a further meeting after the Cochlear Implantation session tomorrow at 1 p.m. to further discuss proposals.

18. Minutes of this meeting were approved, and the meeting was closed.