GUY BLAUDIN DE THE
Guy de Thé, founding Co-chair of the InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP), has passed away, aged 84.
IAMP was established in Tokyo, Japan, in 2000 on the occasion of the ‘Conference of the World Scientific Academies’ sponsored by IAP – the global network of science academies, with the aim of focusing on health issues without duplicating the work of IAP.
During the first IAMP General Assembly held in Paris, France, in March 2002 (hosted by the French academies), Prof. de Thé was elected founding Co-chair of IAMP, representing the Académie de Médecine on the organization’s Executive Committee (EC), alongside David Challoner of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the US National Academies.
At its inception, 16 academies of medicine and medical sections of academies of science formed IAMP’s membership roster. Following an invitation to join the fledgling organization sent to the then 80 member academies of IAP, positive responses were received from 37 academies, The IAMP Secretariat was subsequently established at the IOM in Washington DC.
In 2006, Guy de Thé was re-elected Co-chair at the second IAMP General Assembly in Beijing, China, a position he held until the organization’s third General Assembly in 2010, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. During his second mandate as Co-chair he shared his duties with Anthony Mbewu, who represented the Academy of Science of South Africa.
Under de Thé’s leadership, the IAMP Secretariat moved from IOM to The World Academy of Sciences - TWAS - in Trieste, Italy, in 2004, where it resides to this day. He was also instrumental in the launch of the second edition of the Disease Control Priorities Project (DCP2), especially by taking the lead of the Advisory Committee to Editors, which featured numerous experts nominated by IAMP member academies.
During de Thé’s mandate, IAMP membership also grew to 70 academies. At his final General Assembly as Co-chair, in Kuala Lumpur, he was also instrumental in launching several initiatives designed to build capacity among member academies, including the successful maternal and perinatal mortality project. However, the one programme that was closest to his heart was the IAMP Scientific Writing Programme, which has since been a constant fixture among IAMP’s programmes and that continues to this time.
Aware that scientists must become experts in the field of scientific writing to make their work effective, de Thé advocated that IAMP should sponsor and organize a series of workshops and training sessions on scientific writing for young clinicians in developing countries. Hosted by member academies in Kenya, Senegal and South Africa, and with participants from more than 30 African countries, the principal aim was the transmission of appropriate writing skills so as to maximize the number of scientific publications and successful grant proposals. The programme is now moving in two directions, one based at the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the other that continues to be led by the Académie de Médecine alongside the Académie des Sciences et Techniques du Sénégal. The ’Anglophone’ thread has led to the creation an online Scientific Writing website based at ASSAf, while the ’Francophone’ thread continues to work towards creating regional ’writing centres’ in non-English-speaking countries.
Prof. de Thé brought IAMP to become a member of the M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centres, Universities and National Academies, the collaborative network of academic institutions of educational and research excellence founded on the occasion of the inaugural World Health Summit (WHS) in 2009 and which now provides the academic foundation to the WHS held in Berlin, Germany, each year. In conjunction with the WHS, IAMP organizes the annual Young Physician Leaders programme (YPL), which has gone on to become one of the organization’s most successful programmes.
Prof. de Thé stepped down as Co-chair of IAMP at the 2010 General Assembly but continued to be an active member of the IAMP EC, representing the Académie de Médecine until the time of his death.
His energy and insight will be sorely missed.