Message from ISCT President Catherine Bollard
Thursday, February 2, 2017
From the President's Desk, Catherine Bollard, MBChB, MD
Affirming our Commitment to our International Community
From the depths of winter in the north and the heights of summer in the south – I wish you all a very Happy New Year as we start 2017 full of energy and charged for action! It is with this spirit of renewed invigoration that we continue to implement our 2017-2019 ISCT Strategic Plan. Many of our goals for the next two years are focused on reaching out to the global cell therapy community at large through current and new collaborations and enhanced communication strategies. To ensure our sustainability as a dynamic and growing society, it is important that we maximize our recognition as a global leader in cell therapy. To this end, we have formed the ISCT Communications Strategy Committee, led by Lynn O’Donnell and comprised of myself, President-Elect John Rasko, Past-President Kurt Gunter, and two Early Stage Professionals, Crystal Ruff and Athena Russell. This Committee is charged with two goals: (i) to develop a global communications and media plan to optimize the relevance of ISCT, and (ii) to reach out to all our members to ensure we are meeting the needs of all those who we serve.
While the Committee is very early in its inception, I see its role as critically important – especially now. In the 25 years of its evolution, ISCT has clearly emerged as a global organization with the unique mandate of promoting cell therapy as a means to improve the human condition. It is apolitical and will always remain so. Equally, the presidential newsletter is not and will never be a vehicle for the expression of political views. That said, it is impossible to avoid the realization that 2017 is quickly becoming a year of growing worldwide uncertainty. Political changes in a number of countries with an increasingly “isolationist” viewpoint may herald changes that impede the free exchange of ideas and movement of members of the cell therapy community, and may therefore impact the operations and efforts of our Society.
Members of an international academic society such as ISCT enjoy the privilege of being a global network precisely because our aims, goals and ideals transcend international politics. The realization of our mission, “to drive the translation of all cellular therapies for the benefit of patients worldwide,” necessitates international collaboration. In the months ahead we will all need to work together to do our best to maintain the free flow of ideas and people – patients, as well as ISCT investigators and physicians. I promise as ISCT President that I will do all in my power to ensure that our altruistic goals are not violated. I am extremely proud as always to be a part of our ever growing, highly innovative and electrifying cell therapy community. It is therefore imperative that we preserve and protect our core and fundamental values as a truly global society and ensure that ISCT always maintains its place as a beacon of international collaboration to “connect, communicate and translate!”
Catherine Bollard, MBChB, MD
ISCT President, 2016-2018