EuroPerio10 took place from 15 to 18 June at the Bella Center in Copenhagen in Denmark. Over 7,200 attendees from more than 110 countries came together for the long-awaited meeting, all eager to learn about the latest in periodontology. Prof. Andreas Stavropoulos, the newly appointed president of the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP), was extremely busy but, nevertheless, made time to answer a few questions.
Prof. Stavropoulos, could you tell us something about your journey from your birth in Greece to your position as a professor at Malmö University in Sweden and to your home in Denmark?
I studied as a dental technician in Greece. At that time, dental technology was not computerised; most of it was done manually. If you made a mistake, you had to start over. I wanted to do something more advanced, and I went to study in Germany. Unfortunately, my diploma was not recognised there, and I would have had to start over, repeating what I had already studied. I then considered studying architecture, in order to do something that would last forever.
I was told I could not do that because it was in a different direction to my earlier studies. So, I decided to do dentistry. I studied for a year and then decided to go back to Greece to finish my degree. I worked as an assistant to an endodontist. He had been trained in Sweden, and this influenced my decision to study for my specialty in Scandinavia. My plan was to go to Sweden, but it was difficult to get a scholarship, and I obtained a scholarship to study in Denmark. I stayed in Aarhus for 17 years. Then I was recruited to go to Malmö, where I still teach as well as practise.
At EFP’s general assembly in March in Vienna in Austria, you were appointed as the new EFP president. You live in Copenhagen, and I believe you have even made the trip to the congress by bike! How do you feel about the coincidence that EuroPerio10 is taking place in your home city?
I would say that it was one of the positive things that came out of COVID-19. We postponed the congress for one year, and doing so made the coincidence possible. I would have not yet been president during EuroPerio10 if the congress had taken place last year as planned. Indeed, I am the first president to be able to travel from home to the congress by bus or metro. I live only 15 minutes away from the congress and can, indeed, come by bicycle.
What are your goals and what would you like to achieve as EFP president?
As you know, the position of president has a relatively short tenure of one year. I will spend a total of five years as a member of the EFP’s executive committee. My third year of the tenure, this year, will be spent as president. So, there is a certain sense of continuity at the helm of our organisation. Our efforts and goals are often collective, and for a president, it is not always easy to implement or achieve as much as one might hope. And this is even more the case if it is a year when EuroPerio takes place, as it is a major congress having its own dynamics.
I would like my term in office to help redefine a balance in our federation about the role, responsibilities, rights and expectations that our 37 member societies should have. Coming back to an understanding of what it means to be part of a federation with commitment and mutual support among our member societies is always the right path. As the number of member societies has increased over the years, the EFP has gone global, and our internal diversity has increased. This has meant that differences in vision, size and approach have also increased considerably. Today, we have an EFP that has notably grown and evolved, so its structure and its governance system need to do the same. Simply put, certain procedures cannot remain the same as when the EFP was much smaller.
Still, I need to mention that every member society of the EFP still feels that it is part of a family, a community having a deep sense of belonging. This has never changed, and that is a major asset of our federation.
Next year, the EFP will hold a new conference, Perio Master Clinic 2023. Is it very different from EuroPerio?
Perio Master Clinic is a clinically oriented conference, smaller than EuroPerio, and organised around a particular theme. It is geared towards practitioners willing to improve their technique from a very practical, hands-on point of view. It takes place every three years, like EuroPerio, but never in the same year as EuroPerio—always in the following year. The first edition took place in Paris in 2014, and then we had Malta in 2017 and Dublin in 2020. It will take place in Antwerp in Belgium in March next year.
After Perio Master Clinic 2017 in Malta, the EFP decided to do an updated version of the event but outside Europe, in line with our global reach. So, we held International Perio Master Clinic 2019 in Hong Kong, and last year, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to postpone International Perio Master Clinic 2022 originally planned for León in Mexico; it will now take place in May 2023. So, exceptionally, clinicians will have a double opportunity to attend a Perio Master Clinic event next year!