CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Yearb Med Inform 2018; 27(01): 001-002
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1641211
President's Statement
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart

Taking up the Gavel

Christoph U. Lehmann , President of IMIA
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
29 August 2018 (online)


Taking on the Task of IMIA President

On my desk at Vanderbilt University, I proudly display the gavel of the IMIA President given to IMIA by past IMIA President Shigekoto Kaihara ([Figure 1]). The gavel is engraved with the names of all past IMIA presidents. The names span 51 years starting with François Grémy, who became president in 1968, and ending with my immediate predecessor Hyeoun-Ae Park and my own. When preparing to write this President's Statement for the 2018 IMIA Yearbook of Medical Informatics, I read over the names and reflected upon what an honor and challenge it is to step into the role of IMIA President.

Zoom Image
Fig. 1 IMIA President's Gavel

Since the founding of IMIA, half a century has passed bringing many changes in health information technology and informatics. In the words of one of my predecessors, Marion Ball from 1993, “The technologies may not be perfect, and probably never will be, but they are sufficiently mature to support real change in health care, far beyond academic settings”[1]. The global movement to implement electronic health records and new aspects of our field like genomics and phenomics with their associated challenges and opportunities make IMIA more relevant than ever before. IMIA serves as the organizer and convener of the international informatics community bridging distances between professionals operating in different spheres. IMIA provides the tools and vehicles to allow free exchange of ideas and research across borders and continents.

I want to use this space to discuss how IMIA will continue to fill this important role and support the dissemination of ideas in our field. IMIA's tools to support its mission include the MedInfo conference, the IMIA Yearbook of Medical Informatics, IMIA working groups, and now the International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics.