Education activities to meet future needs and challenges

30 August 2010

The European Association of Urology (EAU) is committed to supporting the development of urological practice in Europe and its environs and the fostering of strong ties with other urological associations worldwide. With the EAU’s strategy anchored on the three pillars of research, communication and education, the Annual EAU Congress, the Section and Regional Meetings and the activities of the European Urology Research Foundation attest to the EAU’s success in supporting and disseminating urological research not only at the national level but also internationally.

The Platinum journal European Urology, this newsletter (European Urology Today) and the EAU web portal Uroweb clearly speak for themselves as well established media. These publications allow the wide dissemination of the latest research findings and consensus opinion within urology and provide sounding boards for the latest developments within the EAU, and the expression of views and opinions by EAU members.

My colleagues on the EAU Executive Walter Artibani and Manfred Wirth (who also oversees the Finances as treasurer) are responsible for coordinating Research and Communication-related activities, respectively, but none of the achievements of the EAU would be possible without strong team work in both the Executive and Board of the EAU and the enormous devotion and hard work of all of the chairmen and members of individual Office Committees, the strong support of EAU members, and the unceasing and tireless efforts of the Central Office in Arnhem under the leadership of Secretary General Per-Anders Abrahamsson. A clear example of the strong teamwork which exists within the EAU was emphasised during this year’s volcano eruption in Iceland which disrupted the 25th Anniversary EAU Congress in Barcelona.

The principal focus of this article is to emphasise the current strategy and developments underway within the Education ‘pillar’ of the EAU. This comprises the EAU European School of Urology (ESU), the EAU Guidelines Office, the EAU Scholarship Programme Office (EUSP), the EU-ACME and the EAU Residents Office (http://www.uroweb.org/about-eau/ organisational-structure/offices/).

New developments
Again I must first acknowledge the hard work and devotion of all of the chairmen and members of these Offices and that of the ESU faculty. Clearly the track record of developments within EAU Educational activities emphasises the importance that the EAU places on Education, as reflected by the large proportion of the annual budget which is reinvested in these activities. So what have we achieved and what new developments are underway in these five offices?

The ESU Office under the chairmanship of Hein Van Poppel now has a robust and well established educational programme, encompassing a wide range of heavily subsidised activities; annual courses at the EAU Congress (http://www.eauvienna2011.org/), National Courses and keynote addresses; Masterclasses in Medical Oncology (http://esubarcelona.uroweb.org/), General Urology (http://esusalzburg.uroweb.org/) and Female and Functional Urology (http://esuberlin2010.uroweb. org/); Hands-on Training; The EAU Winter Forum with its well established programme of ‘Challenge the Experts’ (http://davos2010.uroweb.org) and The European Urology Residents Programme (EUREP) Course (http://eurep.uroweb.org/).

Other educational meetings fully organised by the EAU are arranged, supported by unrestricted educational grants as evidenced by the meeting ‘Leading Lights in Urology’. A very recent initiative also supported by an unrestricted educational grant which represents a collaboration between the ESU, the EAU Scholarship Office, the journal European Urology and the European Association of Academic Urologists is the inaugural meeting of a forum in Milan designed as having a particular emphasis for younger urologists – ‘Innovation in Urology’ scheduled on September 17 to 19. But there is no resting on laurels!

The ESU not only continues its tradition of maintaining a high standard by carefully reviewing the quality of lectures, but continues to strive to develop new media for educational activities. The EAU Education Online has been established and is developing on-line courses in addition to the existing webcast programme; the initial courses based on presentations from the Winter Forum in the “Challenge the Experts’ forum can be accessed; a comprehensive modular laparoscopic training programme will soon be available- using the latest developments in current technology; a comprehensive web accessed video-library is available and much more will follow with the development of selfassessment tools. New initiatives to provide structured practical hands-on training courses are also being developed at present, and more information relating to these will be forthcoming in the near future. Online courses, the online library and future information on the European training in basic laparoscopic skills are to be found at EAU Education Online – http://educationonline.uroweb.org.

Practising lapararoscopic skills at an ESU/ESUT HOT Course
Practising lapararoscopic skills at an ESU/ESUT HOT Course

Training fellowships
The European Scholarship Office (EUSP) under the chairmanship of Claude Abbou has for a number of years provided a comprehensive programme of supported short and long-term travelling fellowships and research scholarships. The Office has recently developed a more structured approach to fostering young researchers by identifying several tailor-made projects in well established research centres for periods of one to two years (http://www.uroweb.org/ education/scholarship/). The scholarship office is also working closely with the EAU Research Foundation and section offices such as the ESUT to develop training fellowships.

The EAU Guidelines Office under the chairmanship of Keith Parsons and vice-chairman Jacques Irani continue to supervise undoubtedly the most successful and comprehensive portfolio of practicebased guidelines for urology. These are each regularly updated and recent initiatives include the establishment of close links with the Cochrane Collaboration and the introduction of an increasingly structured approach to information searches and data retrieval.

The EAU Guidelines Office, in addition to long-form and ‘short’ guideline formats (http://www.uroweb. org/guidelines/), has also arranged in collaboration with the editor-in-chief of European Urology, Francesco Montorsi, for an abstracted review of each new guideline to be published in a timely fashion. To emphasise the pivotal role of the guidelines, close links have been established between the Guidelines Office and the supra-specialist sections of the EAU and the ESU. This reflects the importance of identifying the underlying evidence base and using it to underpin all educational activities.

EAU-EBU joint activities
We have a strong and effective collaboration with the European Board of Urology whose principal mission is assessing and maintaining the quality of urological education in Europe. The EAU strongly supports the EBU by integrating its system of Credit Points and examination (FEBU), in all appropriate EAU activities. The two organisations staff a joint office, the European Urology Accredited Continuing Medical Education Office (EU-ACME) chaired by Helmut Madersbacher. A recent initiative has been the trialing of MCQs at the Annual EAU Congress in teaching courses.

Via the important forum of the EU-ACME, both societies are striving to develop education of the highest possible quality. Important current ongoing initiatives include development of a comprehensive Urological Curriculum for Training, Accreditation of Urological Reference Centres and the Formal Assessment of ESU Masterclasses, and EUSP supported fellowships. (http://www.uroweb.org/ education/continuing-medical-education-cme/ and
http://www.eu-acme.org/)

Resident’s Office
With the increasing number of junior members in the EAU, increasing attention is now being directed to better represent their requirements and, in particular, their access to educational initiatives within the society.

The EAU Resident’s Office (ERO), chaired by Tarik Esen, is being further developed in collaboration with the European Society of Residents in Urology (ESRU) and representatives of junior EAU members. The intention is to have this office exercise an increasingly important role in interacting with the other educational offices to further strengthen the development of the next generation of urological practitioners, and by providing them with a formal representation within the EAU, allowing us to tailor our activities to better meet their educational requirements. http://www.uroweb.org/about-eau/organisationalstructure/ offices/