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Belfast Spring Meeting 26 May 2001, listening to doctor, now professor, George Kinghorn’s masterful presidential address, and reality struck. The adrenaline rush accompanied by tachycardia and perspiration was laid to rest by his few words of advice … that each president brings their own individuality to the role, that I would be able to do the job, and I must do it in my own way. But I should always be aware that the role of president is to represent the members of the organisation and the specialty across the United Kingdom.
The president’s job has to be viewed in the context of the role of the organisation. As the Medical Society for the Study of Venereal Diseases (MSSVD) president I viewed the two years as an opportunity to build on the professional, scientific, and educational initiatives and ensure their delivery. Collaborating with the Association of Genitourinary Medicine to influence national and local policy agenda, and to bring the two organisations together under one structure without losing the unique contribution of each, was of equal importance. I never doubted the need for merger. No one anticipated the barrage of change starting with the publication of the National Sexual Health and HIV Strategy in 2001, my first year as MSSVD president, and escalating through the past four years. The benefit of utilising all the talents and having a unified approach from one organisation within the plethora of other “sexual health” stakeholders has become manifest over the past year.
The challenge of being the inaugural president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) was still daunting despite the invaluable experience as MSSVD president. BASHH exists because of its membership and as a charitable institution for the benefit of the …
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