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Members of the Foundation staff and medical board at the World Health Organization during the 2012 ISSHP meeting.
The International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy (ISSHP) holds its 19th Biennial World Congress in New Orleans, Louisiana USA Oct. 24-29, 2014.
The ISSHP's close relationship with the Preeclampsia Foundation makes it an especially exciting meeting for those in the field of preeclampsia. The history of this organization's conception and birth, and its struggles to bring awareness of the disorder to the general public and especially the research community add to its relevance and our enthusiasm.
Preeclampsia historian and member of the Foundation's Medical Advisory Board Dr. Marshall Lindheimer recalls, "The ISSHP's initial founding meeting took place during a National Institutes of Health (NIH) workshop held at the University of Chicago in September 1975. Three years later, the first meeting of the newly named society took place in Dublin, Ireland, with biannual meetings thereafter that included every continent (except of course Antarctica). The intellectual curiosity and mental stimulation of these meetings have helped advance research - at first cautiously, then more rapidly and now almost logarithmically - in areas such as causality, prediction, prevention, treatments, and patient empowerment.
Scientists working in this field believe we are closing in on causality. "This is perhaps the most important step preceding the development of specific therapies, and even there, the initial squeaks of a wheel have been heard," explained Lindheimer. More and more young investigators are entering the field and funding agencies have been made aware of their past neglect.
ISSHP President Prof. Mark Brown of Sydney, Australia, added, "Still preeclampsia/eclampsia remains a leading cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality, especially in developing nations. There is much more to do. We look forward to the 19th World Congress in New Orleans where ISSHP leaders have pledged to address more proactively the huge research and care gap in low and middle-income countries and to make sure that the most important findings of the past two years are presented. Clinicians, scientists and others gather to share information and ideas while creating bonds that will lead to a better research and understanding of preeclampsia."
The Preeclampsia Foundation, even since its founding in 2000, has always been a major cheerleader and supporter of ISSHP. Following his attendance at the 2000 ISSHP Congress in Paris, Dr. Claude Lenfant, then head of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, convened a group to advise him on both past research neglect and current research needs in combatting the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. The Preeclampsia Foundation had a representative at that meeting. NIH funding has improved since then, though funding remains proportionally low and preeclampsia remains a leading burden on healthcare costs.
"The Preeclampsia Foundation has had a presence at almost every World Congress this century, either supporting travel grants, as an exhibitor, presenting some of our own research data, or rallying the international community around common advocacy goals," shared Eleni Tsigas, Executive Director. "We will definitely be there in October highlighting The Preeclampsia Registry and moving our agenda forward with global partners."