Finnish Congress Heroes: EuGMS 2023 Helsinki

The 19th European Geriatric Medicine Society Annual Congress was organized in Helsinki, Finland in September 2023.

Timo Strandberg, Chair of the EuGMS 2023 Local Organizing Committee, shares his thoughts after the successful congress:

This congress has proven to be outstanding and highly successful, with a record-breaking number of participants. Academically, our program has been exceptional. In a conversation with the academic board of EuGMS, they expressed high praise for Finland. Despite the congress being tightly scheduled, spanning only two and a half days, it offered a rich array of programs and activities. Even with this packed agenda, I've heard that the participants found time to explore the beautiful scenery of Helsinki which I think is also important.

The opening ceremony proceeded smoothly, and we were honored to have Dr. Pekka Puska and a Member of the European Parliament Sirpa Pietikäinen as our distinguished speakers. Furthermore, we hosted a reception at the City Hall and a dinner at Restaurant Pörssi, attended by approximately 800 colleagues. An essential element of these congresses is that colleagues can hold their own smaller meetings and informal gatherings to foster collaboration. During my tenure as the president of this society, one of my objectives was for this congress to become the leading geriatrics congress globally, and I believe we are certainly on a promising path toward achieving that goal.

Helsinki appears to be an appealing destination for many, and even its weather has proven better than its reputation suggests. During the European summer, amidst heatwaves, the slightly cooler climate in Finland is just perfect. Additionally, the cuisine is outstanding. We hosted a dinner for the academic board at Restaurant Nokka, and their praise for the food carries weight, considering that they are from Italy, France, Spain and so on. All in all, we take great pride in being here!

I do hope that there are good effects and the congress has a long-lasting legacy! The society aimed to attract younger, more engaged individuals, and they offered ticket discounts to students. This strategy appears to have been effective, as I've noticed a substantial number of young attendees at the congress. I believe that for many of the participants, this is their first visit to Finland, and through this congress, Finland has gained visibility across Europe. I see great potential for Finland, and hopefully, our visitors will return to this beautiful country!

In terms of sustainability, the EuGMS is deeply committed to this cause. As a small anecdote, we once pondered over the prizes awarded to winners and decided against giving flowers, as they would wilt during participants' travels back to their home countries. Our emphasis is on maintaining most materials in digital format, thereby reducing paper waste. I believe Finland is an excellent choice for hosting a conference if your aim is to do so with a strong commitment to sustainability.

The European Geriatric Medicine Society Annual Congress convenes leading researchers in the field of Geriatric Medicine. Given the significant role geriatrics plays in addressing the challenges posed by Europe's aging population, this congress holds a special place. The Helsinki congress marked the 19th international EuGMS congress. It was held in Helsinki after being postponed once, and the remarkable level of attendance seemed to satisfy Timo Strandberg, the Chair of the Local Organizing Committee.

Read more about the congress on Finland Convention Bureau website: