ISGlobal researcher and Head of the Non-Communicable Diseases and Environment Programme Judith Garcia-Aymerich has been elected secretary-general of the European Respiratory Society (ERS), the world’s largest respiratory health organisation. The epidemiologist, who specialises in chronic respiratory diseases, will work for the next four years to ensure the smooth operation of the society, which brings together nearly 30,000 members from more than 150 countries and 130 respiratory societies.
“I am very excited about this appointment because it will allow me to give back to the ERS and contribute to improving people’s respiratory health,” commented Garcia-Aymerich. As secretary-general-elect, Garcia-Aymerich will spend the first year participating in the duties of the position; for the following three years, she will fully assume all of her responsibilities.
Garcia-Aymerich has been involved in the activities of the ERS for more than 20 years. “I attended my first ERS congress in 1998,” she recalled. “Since my research focuses on physical activity and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), I have been involved in the activities of many different ERS assemblies, learning and communicating with different members.”
She was named an honorary member of the ERS last year and was awarded the title of Fellow of ERS in 2016. In 2003, she received the ERS’s Young Researcher Award (the first ever given by the society). She co-chaired the 2013 ERS Congress and has been a member of the Fellowships and Awards Working Group since 2014, among other responsibilities. “All this has given me a broad perspective on the research carried out by ERS members,” she commented.
As for her contribution as the organisation’s new secretary-general, Garcia-Aymerich noted that her goal is to “promote multidisciplinarity through collaborations, contribute to a global vision by cultivating partnerships with other respiratory societies, and incorporate a gender-sensitive standpoint—for example, including a gender perspective in ERS policies and programmes.”
The ERS promotes research in the field of respiratory medicine, develops clinical practice guidelines and carries out continuing education and advocacy activities. Its sister society is the European Lung Foundation, which promotes patient and public involvement activities in the field of respiratory health. The ERS publishes four peer-reviewed journals on respiratory subjects, as well as monographic books.