Foundation of the “European Society of Head and Neck Radiology”

provided by Hermann F. Wilbrand, Uppsala, January 2004

What was the reason for the foundation of the European Society of Head and Neck Radiology?

During a period of a few years, there was an “International Collegium of Radiology in ORL”, with which internationally recognised colleagues in ear, nose and throat radiology were affiliated. This rather informal society had arranged a few meetings and congresses in different countries, including the USA, Germany, Mexico and elsewhere. lt was planned that in 1985 a congress should be held in Venezuela. However, as there was political unrest in that republic, and also as only 71 participants from Europe had applied to attend, and only a small number from the USA, the congress was cancelled. The planning of the congress had involved a number of costs which could not be defrayed by the national radiological association and they were therefore borne by the American Society of Head and Neck Radiology (ASHNR). I was a member of ASHNR and took up the question of the costs of this cancelled congress in Venezuela with some of my American colleagues. In this connection, colleagues in the USA encouraged me to arrange for the formation of a European sister organisation to ASHNR.

I did some reconnoitring for a few months in order to find the two most suitable specialists in each country so as to get an optimal composition of interested colleagues for the establishment of a more solid European society. It would be a professional event if about 20 colleagues from Western Europe could come together to form a society of common interest. The colleagues that I had contacted had become recognised in their respective home countries in the field of ear, nose and throat radiology. From Uppsala I contacted colleagues in our subspeciality who were well known to me, two from each West-European country, and asked them if they would come to Mortsel, in Antwerp, to form a European society of Head and Neck Radiology. Prior to this I had contacted Agfa-Gevaert to find out whether they could provide premises for this meeting during the actual founding of the society, and they had generously offered to participate in the formation of a European society with premises and other arrangements. In this way a number of practical problems were resolved.

On the 21st of January 1987 Sven Göran Larsson and 1 flew from Stockholm to Amsterdam. The weather was grey and dreary. After changing planes we finally reached Mortsel, where a Mercedes limousine was waiting to take us to Agfa-Gevaert. Our colleagues had already had their lunch and greeted us latecomers welcome for coffee. In a dining room at Agfa-Gevaert our colleagues had already gathered.

Then the proceedings began. Those colleagues who were to be members of the board were elected on the first day, so that on the next day they could take up these positions.

After we had discussed the structure and regulations of the society (which were essentially similar to those of ASHNR), an Executive (interim) Committee was elected. It was decided that the society should be called the “European Society of Head and Neck Radiology”, abbreviated to ESHNR, analogously to the “American Society of Head and Neck Radiology” (ASHNR). I was elected president of ESHNR. I had hardly imagined that the founding proceedings would go so smoothly and that the participants would be so satisfied with the actual process. The establishment of ESHNR became a successful event for me.
The negotiations proceeded in a pleasant and harmonious spirit, so that without delay we could decide upon the course of events of ESHNR in the following years. After two days of meetings practically all problems were solved and the executive committee had also been chosen without any difficulties. Now that the meeting in Mortsel had been so successful and the European Society of Head and Neck Radiology had been founded, on January 22, 1987, I was able to begin preparations for an international congress in our subspeciality in Uppsala 1988.

One question remained, however: What was to happen now about the “International Collegium of Radiology in ORL”? The Collegium was not a corporate society in itself and as far as I knew it had no set of roles or regulations. There was no chairman and no secretary. We left the question open.

At a meeting of the Collegium in New Orleans in 1980 it had been decided that Dr. Jacqueline Vignaud should organise the next international congress in France ( she chose Fontevraud) and that subsequently the next international congress of the Collegium should be held in 1985 in Caracas in Venezuela and be organised by our colleague Dr Chiossone. At the same meeting in New Orleans I had offered to organise the following international congress in 1988 in Uppsala. In the meantime the ESHNR was established.

From the rear left to right: Dr Lloyd, Dr. Valavanis, Dr. Schubiger, Dr. Trujillo, Dr. Guirado, Dr. van Waes, Dr. Zonneveld, Dr. Damsma, Dr. Chiesa, Dr. Reisner, Dr. Lenz, Dr. Veillon, Dr. Vignaud, Dr. Guillen, Dr. Brünner, Dr. Cornelis, Dr. Klaus

After the cancellation of the Venezuela congress and the foundation of ESHNR, both ASHNR and ESHNR decided that every third year a common European and American international congress should be held, organised alternately by these two societies.
The years following 1987 would show whether the newly founded society ESHNR would compete among all the subspeciality associations in radiology. For me it was not entirely certain that the prerequisites for success of the ESHNR would be fulfilled by the patterns of radiological practice in other West-European countries. At home in Sweden I and a colleague in Gothenburg had noted that the neuroradiological subdiscipline did not fulfil the needs of the ear, nose and throat departments satisfactorily.
lt was at the large Radiology congress in Paris in 1989, where our colleague Jacqueline Vignaud played a prominent role, that the Swedish neuroradiologists first noted that ESHNR contributed to the content to a major extent and thereby decisively showed the justification of this new society.
At the international congress in Uppsala in 1988, organised in cooperation with ASHNR, it became evident that our European society for ear, nose and throat radiology was going to be successful. In Paris 1989 it became clear that the European Society for Head and Neck Radiology had a clear place among other associations of different radiological subspecialities. Further, there is no doubt that those colleagues who participated in the founding of the ESHNR in Mortsel ‚ Antwerp, with their pioneering scientific papers, had contributed to a major extent to clear justification of having a European society in our subspeciality
When the proceedings had been completed and ESHNR successfully founded in Mortsel at Agfa-Gevaert, the guests were invited to a fine dinner by Agfa-Gevaert´s Roentgen Division under the leadership of Dr Conix. All participants were pleased that the negotiations had been so successful.

It was evident in the early phase of the proceedings that most colleagues present already had so much experience that any questions and problems could be discussed quickly and constructively and thus rapidly resolved.
The founders of the American society were our friends William Hanafee MD (Lös Angeles), Daniel Johnson MD (New Orleans), Guy Potter (New York) MD and Gaidino Valvasori MD (Chicago)
As one of the founders of ESHNR, I would like to thank all colleagues who were present in Mortsel. Since that time there have been two corporate societies in our subspeciality, i.e Radiodiagnosis in Oto-rhino-laryngology, namely the American ASHNR and the European ESHNR

Hermann F. Wilbrand, Uppsala, January 2004

ESHNR Past Presidents

2020 Bert De Foer
2017 Agnieszka Trojanowska
2014 Christian Czerny
2011 Martin Mack
2008 Minerva Becker
2005 Stephen Golding
2000 Herwig Imhof
1999 Jan Casselman
1997 Francis Veillon
1994 Antonio Chiesa
1991 Klaus Reisner
1988 Hermann Willbrand