In this interview, Professor Guy Joos, ERS President, discusses what he enjoys about working in lung health and shares his views on the growing role of patients within the Society.
Can you tell us about your area of work?
As a respiratory physician, I see patients with different lung conditions, with a focus on asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). As a Professor in Medicine I am responsible for the education of medical students and young medical doctors, specialising in respiratory medicine. As a researcher I focus on various aspects of how asthma and COPD develop and can be treated. As Head of the Department I lead a group of academic physicians that work on asthma, COPD, lung cancer, sleep medicine, cystic fibrosis and respiratory infections
How did you become involved in this area of work?
As a medical student I was already attracted to internal medicine, and especially respiratory medicine, as it is a discipline where both clinical and basic medical sciences meet in daily practice.
What are your priorities in your role as ERS President over the next year?
During my presidency year, I will be continuing to implement the ERS 5-year strategic plan, which is now in its fourth year. I am keen to build on the changes to our membership structure by welcoming new societies into our growing network. This year, we will join forces with paediatric societies for the first time.
I am also keen to expand our advocacy activities as we continue in our mission to advocate for better lung health for all. We will continue with our Healthy Lungs for Life campaign and strengthen our partnerships with other key European and international organisations. Our goals are to promote lung health, clean air and a smoke-free world.
The ERS International Congress will travel to Milan, Italy in September this year. We will be enhancing the role of cutting-edge science within the programme and introducing new educational offerings. We will also be developing a range of digital tools to allow professionals to follow the Congress remotely.
How do you see the role of patients within the ERS developing?
Our mission is to improve lung health. Interaction with patients is crucial to understand the real impact of lung conditions and to understand the real unmet needs of living with these conditions. Moreover input of patients (and caring for patients) is essential to drive inspiring research, especially translational and clinical research.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy being able to help individual patients, for example achieving control of asthma, especially among people with difficult to control, severe asthma.
I have had the privilege of working for some 30 years in clinical and academic respiratory medicine, and seeing the big scientific advances being implemented in daily practice (e.g. medical imaging, targeted treatments).
What are you most proud of about ERS?
Being part of the big international respiratory community, full of enthusiastic people, who from different angles, are working hard to advance lung health. ERS provides a nice platform to all of us working in the respiratory field.
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