“The ESU train is on the right track”

29 September 2021

Profile: Prof. Evangelos Liatsikos, incoming Education Office chairman, hails strength and reputation of School

 

Prof. Evangelos Liatsikos (GR) has succeeded Prof. Joan Palou (ES) as chairman of the EAU’s Education Office following EAU21. We asked him about his previous experience and his plans for the European School of Urology in the coming years.

Evangelos Liatsikos is currently Professor and Chairman of the Department of Urology at the University Hospital of Patras in Greece. He serves as visiting professor in Leipzig and until recently in Vienna. He is specialised in endourologic, laparoscopic and robotic urological surgery, including single-port surgery.

Liatsikos has previously served as Chairman of the EAU Section of Uro-Technology (ESUT) since 2016 and has also served as a board member of the European School of Urology (ESU) for eight years.

A powerful tool
“I finished my eight-year term at our last board meeting,” Liatsikos says. “They were nice years. My responsibilities centred mainly on laparoscopic and endourological training. I assisted and advised the board in that regard, helping devise new surgical training programmes. My experience as ESUT Chairman for the past four years has also helped in this regard, though I only represented the ESUT informally on the ESU Board.”

Having observed the inner workings of the European School of Urology over the past eight years, Liatsikos has a deep respect for its status and the achievements of his predecessor. “The School is a powerful tool for the EAU. Urological education really makes a difference.”

“The school is well-structured and Joan Palou did an excellent job during his tenure. He has really improved the school, it’s now world-famous and a great ambassador for the EAU. We hold courses all around Europe and beyond, we’ve standardised a lot of the training, and our standardisation procedures have been adopted by many international societies. Working for the ESU is rewarding because you see you have such a big audience, and the potential to reach so many people.”

The chairman’s shoes
Prof. Palou stepped down after nine successful years, leaving big shoes to fill. As to what the ESU Chairman’s primary tasks are, Prof. Liatsikos puts emphasis on assembling a good team around him. “The chairman’s job is to choose a good board! This is not one person’s job. You need to select people who have vision, are motivated and prepared to work hard.”

Around half of the ESU board members are currently at the end of their term and Prof. Liatsikos has been looking for new members to join the ESU after the congress. “We take a lot of things into account when selecting board members. We’ve found people from all around Europe with different backgrounds. It is important to find people who not only seek the glory of being board members but who are also prepared to do the work.” Prof. Liatsikos feels that his work as ESUT chairman, in addition to his day-to-day duties has prepared him for finding a balance between his responsibilities in this new position.

“Also, as chairman you need to be able to work in harmony with the people behind the scenes: the people at the EAU Central Office who work for the School but also specifically for online platforms and training programmes. The same goes for urologists who work for the EAU in the Guidelines Office, the Sections, the Young Academic Urologists and all other Offices. You need to coordinate everyone’s efforts, listen to everyone’s input and decide how to proceed. It’s not an easy job: you have to foresee what is interesting and what new developments in education are worth pursuing.”

Goals
Prof. Liatsikos feels that the school is “on the right track”, going in generally the right direction. “Clearly, we will be seeing some minor corrections to make the track a bit more straight, but it’s already a great effort to keep the train going. With new board members come new collaborations and a new dynamic within the School. Together we will look at expanding our activities, especially beyond Europe.”

Personally and, as former ESUT Chairman, understandably, the new Chairman would like to see the ESU embrace technology in its methods. “During the pandemic we adapted to new online training activities that were really appreciated by our audience. After the end of this unpleasant worldwide experience our online platforms will play a key role in the educational process. After all, we are educating young urologists, those who are always engaged with their phones and tablets.”

“Finally, as incoming chair I would like to encourage the readers of European Urology Today that they need to familiarise themselves with the ESU’s activities, and ideally participate in them. We have so many great things to offer young urologists and they need to get to know our portfolio.”

All of the EAU’s educational activities, including workshops, online education, exchange programmes and scholarships can be found here.

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