World Congress and restructuring of the AC of the IFMBE

May 26th-31st 2012 will be the next World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering. Apart from being an important scientific gathering there will be a General Assembly (GA) of the delegates from all member societies of the IFMBE to discuss maters and take decisions for the next three years. Our society can have three voting delegates in that GA. One of the VvB-BMT board members will be there (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Any other member that plans to be there and is able to go to the GA is invited to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., so we can have all three votes at the meetings.

One of the things that will be proposed at that GA is to change the composition of the Administrative Council (AC). This will among other things mean that also in between our triannual congresses the delegates of the societies will play some role.

The current composition of the administrative council is president, president-elect, past president, secretary general, treasurer, and 8 ordinary members. There are also a number of committees of which the Societies Committee (SC, formerly the National Secretaries Committee) is the most relevant here.
The proposal by the current AC is to change the SC into a council, the Council of Societies (CoS), with one chair and a number of 'regional chairs', one for each of the regions of the world. The regions will more or less coincide with the regions of the major regional conferences. I.e. Asian-pacific, Latin America, Europe and USA/Canada. There are only two countries in Africa member of the IFMBE, Nigeria and South Africa. For the time being Africa will be considered part of the European region. Later when there will be more countries within the IFMBE Africa might become an independent region.
The four regional chairs and the CoS-chair will in the proposal become automatically members of the administrative council of the IFMBE. To keep the size of the AC manageable the number of general members will be reduced by four to four.

At all IFMBE endorsed conferences there will be meetings of the delegates of that region, presided by the regional chair. Matters to discuss are regional issues and all matters currently discussed by the AC. All regional chairs and the CoS-chairwill be in contact regularly (probably electronically) at least two times a year and probably more.

Some reasons why:
Voting is done once every 3 years at the GA by delegates. This is almost the only thing the delegates do officially.
The IFMBE does important things for BME and biomedical-engineers internationally, e.g. at the WHO and the ICSU, but not all biomedical engineers around the world are aware of that.
With the current system the flow of information from AC to societies to individual members and the other way around is too slow and fragmented. Meeting once every three years for a couple of hours might have been the best we could do in the 20th century, nowadays there are so much more options to keep in contact.
The current AC contains 8 members chosen by the GA. In practice at the elections delegates tend to vote in such a way that all regions are represented, but there is no guarantee. OTOH someone with a particular know how that could be useful to the AC might not be elected because there are other people from the same region on the list. The proposed change split the 8 general members of the AC in two groups. Four will be selected mainly geographically and four mainly on know how. Thus reducing unwanted interaction between the two reasons to elect someone.