Message from the President, November 2020 

Lyn Chitty, PhD MRCOG

Welcome to the October-November 2020 edition of Global Updates. I am honoured to be the new ISPD President and know that these are going to be very challenging times for us as we learn to live in the COVID era. I would first like to thank our Past President, Louise Wilkins-Haug, who worked tirelessly to further the aims of the Society advancing the science and practice of genetics and fetal care worldwide to promote the health of children, their mothers, and their families. Louise is passionate about education and supporting the next generation, and she has been instrumental in engaging the younger generation in ISPD. We now offer complimentary membership to all trainees, whether they are scientists, clinicians, or counsellors. In the first year of Louise’s presidency, we actively continued our global outreach programme working with the American College of Medical Genetics, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology to deliver joint sessions in various parts of the globe. We now also have a well-established Corporate Council who are helping to further support ISPD educational projects.

This year our educational activities have been seriously curtailed as travel is no longer an option. We sadly had to cancel our International Conference in Montreal but hope that we may meet together there in 2022. This year we have ventured into virtual education with our Virtual Education Series of educational talks, including two of our very popular debates. These have been well attended, and I hope you have managed to join and enjoy them. If not, view the recordings here. We also managed to deliver a joint virtual workshop with ISUOG in October.

With the second wave of COVID hitting most countries now, meeting in person in Edinburgh in May 2021 is looking less and less likely. If we do move the meeting entirely online, we plan to hold a two-day virtual meeting together with some short educational courses. These are very challenging times, but they offer exciting ways of reaching out to a wider audience. We welcome feedback from you, our members, with any ideas you may have, suggestions of topics for educational sessions or other pieces of work you think may be useful (for example, surveys of how we are working in these strange times so that we can learn from each other).

I am looking forward to working with you and the new ISPD Board over the coming years. Of note we now have four of the Associate Editors of Prenatal Diagnosis, our Society journal, on the ISPD Board. Thus, one of my objectives is to work more closely with Prenatal Diagnosis to support the educational work of ISPD. The two years of my presidency are going to be very challenging as it is hard to see the light at the end of the COVID tunnel at the moment! We will need to get used to working, learning, and networking differently. Some of this will offer exciting new prospects – if we can avoid the Zoom-fatigue that is certainly a side effect I am suffering! If you are not already a member, we invite you to join ISPD and help us shape the "new normal."