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Review: 2019 IPA/ SEPG Joint International Congress

A brief report on the 2019 IPA/SEPG Joint International Congress
By Tzung-Jeng Hwang

The 2019 IPA International Congress was held on 31 August - 3 September in Santiago de Compotela, Galicia, Spain at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Santiago de Compostela, a historic campus of five-hundred years. It was a multidisciplinary meeting with a full range of healthcare professionals including psychiatrists, neurologists, geriatricians, primary care physicians, psychologists, social workers, and occupational therapists et al. The meeting theme “Diversity in research informing excellence in clinical care” is a reflection of both the city and the spirit of the IPA. The city is the endpoint of a network of pilgrim paths (Camino de Santiago), just like the IPA Congress is the convergent point of much psychogeriatric research.

This year, about 450 participants from 40 countries attended the meeting. The program included 8 pre-congress workshops, 24 symposia, 54 free communications, and 148 posters. The exciting and rich program covered a wide range of fields, from basic research to clinical practice, from patient care to caregiver support, and from medicine to technology. The diverse and affluent content triggered active discussions and exchanges among participants. Here we want to thank the program chairs, John O’Brien, Henry Brodaty, and Gwenn Smith, for their significant contributions.

The organizing committee arranged a pilgrim activity to walk along the Camino de Santiago (known in English as the Way of Saint James) before the meeting. For many people, the activity is a form of spiritual path for spiritual growth, just like the IPA Congress is a retreat for intellectual growth. The IPA president Mary Sano and president-elect William Reichman also took this opportunity to hold a whole-day board meeting to review the achievements and challenges in the past, and to set up key explicit goals with implementing initiatives for the future, in the hope that the board of directors can move the IPA to a higher level of excellence.

Overall, the congress was a success, which would not be possible without the contribution of the two organizing committee co-chairs, Dr Manuel Franco (SEPG president) and Raimundo Mateos (the immediate past president of the IPA). We hope that the next IPA congress in Portugal (2020) and Kyoto (2021) will continue to be stimulating events that bring all IPA members together.


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