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Hermelijn Smits new president of the NRS

NRS December 2020

Last month I was elected as the NRS president for the coming 2 years, which is a great honor for me. I would like to express my gratitude to all of you for placing this trust in me. After all these years with NRS, starting in the YIS, the scientific community feels like a big family and I’m looking forward to interacting with all of you.

First, I would like to thank our past-president, Anke-Hilse Maitland-van der Zee, for her tireless efforts regarding the National Platform Lung research (NPL) and forging the ties with our sister lung societies leading to a new national agreement ‘Vrij Ademen’ on increased visibility of (the consequences of) lung diseases in these past years. In particular in the last year, under corona restrictions, this has been challenging.

Unfortunately, we were forced to cancel our annual meeting at the Longdagen this year and our other regular meetings were also heavily affected. Nevertheless, we learned that in crises such as the current corona pandemic, developing science-based clinical approaches is of paramount importance and the only way forward. As such, scientific curiosity is remaining high, and exchange of information is more important than ever.

Therefore, it was very inspiring to experience the online YIS meeting last month and learn from the great ideas and virtual flexibility of our younger members. Despite the inability to meet physically, the meeting had excellent scientific speakers and sparkling interactions among the participants and the organizers. It showed that also online meetings can provide excellent tools for scientific exchange and boost our society beyond the boundaries of physical contact.

Even though the vaccines look promising and are smiling at us, it may take a while before we can get back to ‘normal’. The question is whether we want this or whether we should also embrace some of the positive spin-offs of this crisis instead. To use these insights, we aim to develop a virtual NRS-platform, where our members can more easily interact, find, and learn from each other and most importantly, inspire each other. We are currently setting up a new committee with enthusiastic (clinical) researchers that will bring together a great program of (bi)monthly webinars with excellent established keynote speakers, as well as younger talented researchers, followed by NRS-café sessions to boost interactions. In addition, NRS needs to more actively use social media to promote NRS activities, reach a higher level of inclusiveness and provide a platform for achievements of its members.

If you get enthusiastic about these ideas – I hope you do! – please come and help us. NRS activities need input and help from many people to make them into a success. This is fun to do and it provides you the opportunity to expand your network and interact with other scientists in a rewarding way. Looking forward to welcome you!

With kind regards,

Hermelijn Smits