Young investigators and the urgent need to interact
By HENK LINSE
Imagine a better than ordinary country house in Rees, a small North Rhine-Westphalian town just off the Rhine river, close to the Dutch border. A band of young men and women occupy the kitchen, making a tasty meal for their respected tutors. With visible effort they go to extremes. They dance around the stove, performing something they were not trained for.
The seniors are renowned professors in child and adolescent psychiatry, enjoying one of their rare reunions and awaiting the well-meant amateur cookery by a group of young doctors, trying to specialise in the same discipline. “You guys make us a meal and we will teach you something”, that was the general idea.
The Rees house was the unofficial re-birthplace of ESCAP’s Research Academy. Back in 1998 Professor Helmut Remschmidt inaugurated the ESCAP Research Seminars – the first session took place in Heidelberg. A series of successful annual seminars followed. This tradition is now being continued – unfortunately, but not deliberately, both the 2015 Madrid sessions and the next Research Academy Workshop in Vienna coincide with the EFPT Forum. Future coordination between the two events would potentially create an inspiring synergy – and of course an important additional focus on youth psychiatry…
Treasure of knowledge
The ESCAP Research Academy promises a dynamic future for the young investigators who perhaps can cook a little bit, but they intend to excel in child and adolescent psychiatric research. The ESCAP knowledge base is their starting point and not so young professor Johannes Hebebrand from Duisburg-Essen is their promotor and the re-founder of the Research Academy. As a senior, he also sat at the Rees dinner table.
Hebebrand: “A total of 33 national child and adolescent psychiatric associations are currently members of ESCAP. Together they represent a huge treasure trove of knowledge and experience. And… they have their particular visions, opinions and attitudes with respect to their work. Still they do not debate like – for example – European politicians involved in a financial crisis. Heated debates, unrest, and turmoil are not common day events within our Society. Child psychiatrists and allied professionals, clinicians and researchers meet quietly every two years and discuss their issues in a polite and peaceful manner.”
– Are you suggesting the child and adolescent psychiatry network has fallen asleep?
Hebebrand: “Within our specialty much is at stake too: we need to come up with the ways and means to alleviate the personal, familial and societal burdens caused by early onset mental disorders. As such, we ourselves but also our patients and their families may very well profit from a somewhat more intense discussion at the European level – we meet at the best venues so let us use them well to pursue our goals. Our discussion could use some continuity as well: a continuum after a common kick-off, instead of two years of silence between congresses.”
Re-founding the Academy
– So how do you intend to reintroduce a dynamic exchange of knowledge into youth psychiatry?
“We perceive the urgent need to foster interactions between young clinicians and researchers in child and adolescent psychiatry at the European level. Based on meetings of a motivated group of young investigators, who are pursuing academic careers in child and adolescent psychiatry, and the ESCAP board we have re-founded the ESCAP Research Academy to fulfill this need.”
“I won’t even try to seduce those young talents with idealism. Of course we are sworn doctors and we want to cure those children out there. But there is nothing wrong with building a steady career in child and adolescent psychiatry and learn the things you need to learn. Including grant writing, leadership, communication strategy and skills, and cleverly composing scientific publications. All of those things are also part of our profession. We will try to fill in the gaps. ESCAP – as an international society – and ECAP – as the ESCAP scientific journal – form an ideal foundation for getting things done with these wonderful young people. They are the future of child and adolescent psychiatry research. And the Research Academy intends to be a ‘super-academic’ breeding ground for youth psychiatry experts with a broad horizon.”
Read more about the 2016 Vienna Workshop (29 June – 3 July 2016).
Henk Linse is the editor of ESCAP Online, the official website of the European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry;
Johannes Hebebrand (University of Duisburg-Essen) is editor-in-chief of the ECAP Journal (European Child + Adolescent Psychiatry), the official ESCAP journal, and associated Board Member of ESCAP.