President's Blog

President’s Blog: August 2017


Dear HTAi Community

The HTAi annual meeting in June 2017 gave new meaning to the expression: “Tutte le strade portano a Roma“!   Over 1200 people from 69 countries made their way to Rome for several wonderful days of professional and personal enrichment.  I imagine that many of you are now enjoying some well-deserved summer holidays, and that those of you who are not relaxing somewhere are wishing that they were!   This is the first of what I hope will be monthly updates about various things going on within the HTAi organization and community, and it’s very nice to be starting off this series of messages by having a lot of good news to share!

As there is so much good news, the headlines are as follows:

HTAi 2017; Successes, my gratitude but still room for improvement!

The Growth of the HTAi Secretariat

HTAi Board Member updates 

Future updates and how to get in touch

HTAi 2017; Successes, my gratitude but still room for improvement!

The Rome meeting was among the best annual meetings HTAi has ever organized, combining rich content with a large and engaged group of participants, convened in one of the world’s most exquisite and welcoming cities.   The sessions I had the privilege of attending covered a wide range of topics, including lively presentations and discussions on HTA-regulatory alignment, core outcomes sets, medical device assessments, patient involvement and other key issues.   The last session of the meeting included several well deserved awar

ds, including presentation of the Egon Jonsson awarded to Chris Henshall, HTAi’s first president, and the person most responsible for several highly successful HTAi initiatives. The Jill Sanders Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Evidence Nymadzawo, an HTA expert and dentist from Swaziland, who seems to be well on his way to making great contributions to the field of HTA in Africa and globally.

It would be easy to fill the rest of this message with well-deserved thanks for the success of the Rome meeting.  Americo Cicchetti played a huge role in almost every aspect of conference planning and content, working closely with his LOC co-chair Marco Marchetti, while Rabia Kahveci invested an enormous amount of time and energy in developing the scientific program along with Americo and the other members of the scientific program committee.  The HTAi Secretariat devoted countless hours to planning and supporting the meeting.  We are also deeply indebted to the generosity of the meetings sponsors, exhibitors, and volunteers, and look forward to working with all of them again for many years to come! My apologies to those who I have inadvertently excluded from this list.

Accolades aside, there will be opportunity to build on our successes and improve future HTAi annual meetings.  But the Rome experience offers many reasons to look forward to the meeting in Vancouver in 2018, the Cologne meeting in 2019, and somewhere in the Asia-Pacific region in 2020.

The growth of the HTAi Secretariat…

Perhaps of greatest significance for HTAi’s continued progress are the recent additions to the Secretariat staff compliment in the past few months.  As you know, Daniel Lalonde joined HTAi as the new Executive Director just prior to the Rome annual meeting, and in true Alberta fashion, has really taken the bull by the horns (apologies to non-Canadians for this obscure reference).  Laura Varga also joined at around the same time as the Annual Meeting Administrator. Rebecca Trowman’s track record of successes with the Policy Forums led to an expansion of her portfolio where she is now also supporting the HTAi Interest Groups.   And most recently Chris Carvalho, an experienced and respected healthcare project manager will add substantial strength to the Annual Meeting team as he assumes the role of interim Manager.  We are also fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with Chris McCabe as the new director of the Institute for Health Economics, the organization that has hosted HTAi for many years, and which promises new opportunities for growth and synergies.   The new “guard” will be relying heavily on the ongoing support and institutional knowledge of their more seasoned Secretariat colleagues, including Anna Williams and Marlene Hanke.

HTAi Board Member updates…

The growing strength of the Secretariat, and the rapidly improving financial condition of the Society, are in large measure the result of the remarkable efforts of HTAi’s past-President Guy Maddern.   Guy took on this pivotal role at a time when HTAi faced many organization and budgetary challenges, including major staff transitions within the Secretariat, increased central management of the annual meetings, changes in oversight of the HTAi Journal, an expansion in the number of Policy Forum Meetings, and more.  His role was made more complex by the fact that Edmonton is located in the Northern hemisphere, while Adelaide is more sensibly (according to Guy) positioned further south.  The two cities have a small number of shared hours of the normal work day, resulting in many off-hours calls and emails.   I want to sincerely thank Guy for his tremendous accomplishments in this role.

At the HTAi Board level, we are fortunate to have further strengthened our roster with the addition of Inaki Gutierrez-Ibarluzea (Spain) as the new vice-president, as well as Karen Facey (Scotland/UK) and Isao Kamae (Japan) as new Board members.   They will each have very big shoes to fill to match the important contributors from those that completed their terms on the Board this year – Francois Meyer (France) and Jeonghoon Ahn (South Korea).

In my September message, I plan to go into greater detail about the great things happening with the HTAi Interest Groups, Global Policy Forum and Regional Policy Forums (Asia and Latin America), and the expanding HTAi partnerships with WHO and EUnetHTA.   In the meantime, you can keep abreast of key evolutions within the Interest Groups and Policy Forums on the HTAi website, such as the first Policy Forum Newsletter.

Future updates and how to get in touch (feedback welcome)…

In order to advance our messaging to the HTAi community, I would welcome your feedback on this message, comments or suggestions for future topics , or highlighting of noteworthy activity within the wide world of HTAi that you feel deserves additional visibility.   Please send me a note at [email protected].  

I look forward to hearing from you and working with you over the next couple of years.

With thanks,

Sean Tunis, MD, MSc

HTAi President

Founder, President and CEO, Center for Medical Technology Policy