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Message from President
Stepping Up: Innovate, Collaborate, Integrate

By: Raymond L. Rosales, MD, PhD
President, AOMC

Chairman, Dept. of Neurology and Psychiatry
Head of Neuromuscular Unit, The Neuroscience Institute
University of Santo Tomas Hospital
Manila, Philippines

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Our 16th Asian and Oceanian Myology Center (AOMC) Annual Scientific Meeting in Singapore, 6-8 August 2017, once again demonstrated AOMCfs high level scientific inquiry and relevance in research landscape of nerve and muscles. All presentations as well as discussions contributed new knowledge and expertise in diagnosing and treating muscle disorders. We are very grateful to our host Singaporefs National Neuroscience Institute (NNI) for competently and efficiently organizing the Meeting. It took a year of preparation and coordination with AOMCfs Executive Board whose exceptional advice and support we value greatly. We owe our debt of gratitude for the success of our 16th Annual Scientific Meeting not only to NNI, our Executive Board and all participants but also, and supremely so, to the indefatigable leadership of Dr. Ikuya Nonaka, my predecessor. Young scientists were encouraged to participate in our Annual Meetings through travel fund grants organized by Dr. Nonaka. AOMCfs continuing strength through the years stems from Dr. Nonakafs hard work and passion in building AOMC. Domo Arigato Gozaimasu, Nonaka-sensei!

I am very deeply honored and privileged to be the third President of the AOMC. Taking this role, I acknowledge the collective efforts of the founders, previous Presidents, officers and members to propel the growth of AOMC. With your kind support, I see an acceleration of pace in the achievement of AOMC goals: promote clinical scientific research and achievement of clinical practice standards; provide for scientific forum while also opening education opportunities for young investigators and; encourage multidisciplinary collaboration.

When I searched gmuscle disordersh in Pubmed Central last 28 March 2018, I found 255,320 articles compared to a similar search in 13 April 2015 (Giovanni Nigro and Luisa Politano, Increasing awareness of Myology: it's time for its recognition as an independent discipline within the Medical Sciences, Acta Myol. 2015 May) where there were 168,931 articles. This is a leap of 86,389 more articles from April 2015 to March 2018 which could mean that for every year from the past three years, about 28,796 articles had gmuscle disorderh mentioned or studied. Of those numbers, how many research articles did AOMC members contribute in research and authorship? How many collaborated outside our region? It will not be a surprise to find out that many research works of AOMC members were in those numbers. As we increase in membership, we also need to see leaps in research and collaboration. Ultimately, the more we study muscle diseases, the more we are able to address our patientsf quality of treatment and care.

When we become more accessible digitally, we innovate and step up with collaboration, and integration to achieve our goals.

Collaboration. The momentum is on for us to set up centers of excellence for multidisciplinary research on muscle disorders. With an innovative technology platform that opens space for dialogue and interaction, it is more possible and even faster to form regional, global and multidisciplinary partnerships for research. Consensus documents that are of regional or global scope and relevance could be developed from the sharing of ideas or case studies. Our scientific forum would be even more robust with efficient exchange of ideas and collaboration in research papers. We could develop a repository of our research works available for our membership. Online learning and certifications will also be a reality. It will not be a farfetched idea if we start considering as early as now a peer reviewed journal of myology that is global and publicly accessible.

Integration. The time has come for Asia Oceania to step up and encourage university hospitals to establish and integrate a Neuromuscular Center in the usual row of specialized medicine centers. Teamwork is advantageous in diagnosis, treatment and research of neuromuscular disease. Training of young doctors and other healthcare professionals involved in the care of patients, is strong component of the Center. We shall also increase our efforts to pursue more opportunities for integration in global initiatives to increase awareness about muscle disorders, patient support including research and surveys on burden of disease.

These are not new concepts but new territories for a digitally smart AOMC. Stepping up requires that we are sustainable as an organization. With partnerships, grants, sponsorships and even subscriptions when we set up a journal, will certainly generate resources to help sustain our initiatives.

I fully expect ample discussion but also alignment leading to points of action. I plan to send quarterly updates henceforth. An update that you will see in the next quarter will certainly be about the 17th AOMC Annual Scientific Meeting, hosted by and in coordination with Malaysian Society of Neurosciences on July 27-29 at Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur. The theme is gSynapses and Beyondh and we expect another well-attended event.

Thank you all for the opportunity to lead this organization into the next stage of AOMC. For now, I shall leave you with a thought from celebrated theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, a patient of a neuromuscular disease of more than half a century until his passing last 14 March 2018: As scientists, we step on the shoulders of science, building on the work that has come before us - aiming to inspire a new generation of young scientists to continue once we are gone.