If you live in London you may have had your life interrupted over the last two weeks by the Extinction Rebellion protests. This is a serious environmental movement that wants us to act now to save the planet from environmental catastrophe.
As part of the protest, my daughters have been giving me a hard time about my carbon footprint. They want to know if I am offsetting my air miles, which I do occasionally, that is when I personally book my flights. But in general, I am sure that most of my air miles are not offset. However, there is one initiative I am proud of that is addressing climate change and that is TriMS.online.
The aims of triMS-online are multiple. The objective is to do punchy, short, themed MS-related conferences online that can be viewed as a live event, or asynchronously, i.e. when you have the time. This is particularly useful for people who can’t travel for family reasons, for example, you may have young children or you are a carer. Or you simply don’t have the time and/or resources to travel to large international meetings.
triMS-online is environmentally friendly; imagine how many air miles we are avoiding by not having to fly people to conferences?
The other advantage of triMS-online is that it takes high-quality MS research and education to resource-poor environments across the globe. We want a new generation of MS researchers and HCPs to have access to the latest MS research and teaching.
As founding chair of the scientific committee of triMS-online, I wanted to use the opportunity to shake things up a bit. When you go to ECTRIMS it is generally the same-old faces and KoLs on the platforms; the English refer to this as the ‘Old Farts’ syndrome, which includes me. We, therefore, invited a diverse group of ‘young’ MS academics from across the globe to run triMS-online and we made a strategic decision of having at least an equal number of women on the steering committee; in fact, 6 out of 10 of members are women.
The following is our second triMS-online programme, which addresses paediatric MS. We plan to run about 2-3 triMS.online conferences a year and have many ambitious plans for the triMS-online platform going forward. One idea is to host regional meetings on the platform, for example, a Latin American meeting in Spanish. Why not one in Polish or for that matter any other language?
I urge you to register for the next meeting and to submit posters. The platform is like a real conference with meeting rooms, social events and exhibition spaces.
We will be need feedback, including suggestions for future meetings. Don’t be shy and join the revolution, even though it may not be a rebellion.
We would encourage young academics, in particular, those who are from under-represented groups to submit posters for this next meeting.