26 October 2018
Anita Simonds, consultant in respiratory and sleep medicine at Royal Brompton Hospital and professor at Imperial College, has been elected President of the European Respiratory Society (ERS).
Nearly 23,000 attendees attended the ERS Congress in September where the election results were officially announced; the attendance reflecting the society’s standing as the largest respiratory society in the world – covering not only Europe, but forging strong global links, particularly across Asia and Australasia.
Professor Simonds follows in the footsteps of recent ERS presidents trained in the UK – Professors Peter Barnes, also of Royal Brompton and Imperial College, and John Gibson of Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
She has previously been ERS Education Council Chair and set up the society’s first open access online publication, ERJ Open Research, as its inaugural editor-in-chief in 2015. She will spend two years as Vice President and President Elect, before becoming President in 2020.
“I see this as a real opportunity to forge closer ties with our respiratory colleagues in Europe, at a time when many conversations seem to be about the UK going in the opposite direction. It is critically important to maintain our EU research links, which are hugely productive.” Professor Simonds commented.
“The ERS genuinely effects change – it has a compelling voice on the environment, on smoking and chronic respiratory disorders for example, which has acted as an important lever on EU policy-makers. It works closely with the European Lung Foundation and has strong engagement with patients, working alongside them to prioritise the research and training the society focuses on.
“We want to see the society become even more international, fostering links with low-income countries, for example, and running international exchange programmes for clinicians and researchers.
“I’m also very keen to encourage multidisciplinary team members to take active roles in the society: nurses, clinical scientists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists, have such vital roles in treating patients with respiratory conditions and carrying out research.”
Professor Simonds has been instrumental in further developing respiratory and sleep medicine at Royal Brompton since she joined in the 1990s, including leading the first team in the UK to use non-invasive ventilation in children and young people with inherited neuromuscular disorders, in turn influencing the way patients all over the world are cared for.