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In recent years at the EULAR annual congresses the standing committee has put together several interactive workshops on methodological issues in clinical epidemiology. This year we offered a mini-symposium on practical issues in descriptive epidemiological studies in the EULAR region. The symposium aimed at obtaining knowledge on various available sources, methods, and screening instruments; understanding the goals, advantages, and pitfalls of the various methods; contributing to the improvement and updating of knowledge on the distribution and determinants of rheumatic disease; and facilitating the generation of hypotheses.
In the autumn of 2001 the standing committee organised a successful course on clinical epidemiology, including clinical trials and selected topics. This was done in close cooperation with the Standing Committee for Education and Training and the Standing Committee for International clinical Studies, Including therapeutic Trials (ESCISIT). The EULAR executive board has agreed to support a second course in the spring of 2005. The venue will soon be announced. The number of participants will be limited to 40. Young rheumatologists from Eastern European countries will be granted priority to participate.
After two terms in office as chairman of the standing committee, the current chairman of this committee will leave and Professor Francis Guillemin from Nancy, France, has now been ratified as the next chairman. Members of the committee mostly meet only once a year. It would facilitate the work if members were able to meet more often, but electronic communication can be used as substitute. Until now, time has been too short to get an e-journal club up and running among the members of the committee.
The prevalence study—a standing committee project—is progressing steadily. This project was discussed at the committee’s meeting in Lisbon. Other topics that were dealt with included the EROS project (Dr T Roussou) and the World Health Organisation International Classification of Functions, Disability and Handicaps (WHO ICF) project (Professor G Stücki). Furthermore, EULAR has recently provided a grant for an international epidemiological study on the development of appropriate criteria for the psoriatic arthritides. At the Lisbon meeting of the standing committee Dr P Helliwell discussed this project with the members. Clearly, the current chairman leaves the committee in good shape.