9th INoPSU Scientific and Executive Committee Meeting, Vancouver, Canada


On August 16, 2016 INoPSU held its 9th Scientific and Executive Committee meeting at the Marriott Vancouver Pinnacle Downtown Hotel, 1128 West Hasting Street, Vancouver, Canada. The meeting was organized by Melanie Laffin Thibodeau and Charlotte Moore Hepburn from CPSP together with Mirjam Mäusezahl from SPSU and generously sponsored by the Public Health Agency of Canada. 

The INoPSU executive chose the meeting venue to align with the Congress of the International Pediatric Association (IPA) to allow leading surveillance scientists from around the world to participate in both forums.  The themes of the INoPSU Scientific Meeting were “Aligning for Impact: The power of international surveillance research collaboration in the study of rare disease” (Session 1) and “Optimizing Zika Virus Surveillance” (Session 2).  

The first session highlighted the importance of integrated knowledge translation in paediatric surveillance research, and included excellent presentations from Michael Sgro (CPSP) on severe Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia, Shazhan  Amed (CPSP) on Non-Type 1 Diabetes mellitus, Elizabeth Elliott (APSU) on foetal Alcohol Syndrome, Yvonne Zurynski (APSU) on early Onset Eating Disorders and Christoph Rudin (SPSU) on impact of studies in Switzerland.

The second session provided the opportunity for four countries (Australia, UK, Canada and New Zealand) to showcase how their PSUs were able to rapidly respond to an epidemiological emergency, launching similar studies within a very short time, on congenital Zika syndrome and microcephaly. A representative from each participating unit presented their project, emphasizing the value of aligned international case definitions and data capture. 

The Scientific Session also saw the opportunity to launch the Danielle Grenier Prize, an award that recognizes excellence in paediatric surveillance research and knowledge translation.  The INoPSU meeting was honoured that Dr. Luc Charette, Danielle’s husband, was at the meeting to award the inaugural prize. We congratulate Yvonne Zurynski, the first winner of the Danielle Grenier award, and thank Luc Charette for his moving tribute at the conclusion of the scientific meeting.

The INoPSU Business Meeting followed the Scientific Session.  Executive delegates from six different member states discussed various country activities, future directions of INoPSU 2016+, and current finances.  The present delegates also elected the new INoPSU chair for the term 2016-2018 -- Mirjam Mäusezahl from the Swiss Paediatric Surveillance Unit. Highlights of the executive meeting included a report that finances are back “in the black”, after 2 years of hampered activity following the tragic loss of former co-chair Danielle Grenier in 2014 as well as a comprehensive review of the INoPSU Terms of reference with a plan for a formal revision and re-authorization process to follow.

A wonderful dinner at one of Vancouver’s most renowned seafood restaurants, the charming Cardero’s, was also generously sponsored by the host (CPSP) and rounded off this successful day.  This event gave the paediatric surveillance community the opportunity to catch up with dear colleagues and friends. We are looking forward to meeting everyone in two years, in Europe, for our next productive meeting. 

Our thanks go out to the CPSP for making this such a wonderful experience!