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As many readers will be aware, the elections for the new ISCAIP Board were held in 2000. I feel deeply honoured to have been elected Chair and wish to thank all concerned for their support. My colleagues on the Board are an outstanding team of highly respected injury prevention professionals and I am confident that we, together with the membership, can take ISCAIP into the new century with a renewed sense of purpose and urgency.
I want especially to record my appreciation of the incalculable contribution of Fred Rivara, founding Chair of ISCAIP, in laying the foundations of the organisation and in presiding over a smooth transition to the new regime. Fred's leadership has been truly inspirational and unlikely to be equalled in the foreseeable future. I am delighted to report that Fred has agreed to participate in ISCAIP Board discussions in his capacity as Immediate Past Chair and we look forward to his continuing involvement with the Society.
Since taking up the position, I have embarked on a steep learning curve. In its short life, ISCAIP has built up an impressive worldwide network of individual and corporate members all of whom are committed to the pursuit of the Society's goal, namely “To promote a significant reduction in the number and severity of injuries to children and adolescents through international collaboration”.
Although progress is difficult to measure, ISCAIP's close identification with two key vehicles for international communication—Injury Prevention and the World Conference on Injury Prevention and Control—has been instrumental in ensuring that we are moving in the right direction. Under Barry Pless's wise editorship, the journal is now firmly established as the leading international peer reviewed publication in the field and its profound influence on the research community and service agencies around the world is widely acknowledged. The formal separation of ISCAIP from the journal did not, happily, sever the connection between the two, and the more recent broadening of the journal to include all ages has similarly caused no discernible turbulence in that mutually beneficial relationship. The Fifth World Conference on Injury Prevention and Control in New Delhi was, as always, heavily populated with ISCAIP members, some of whom attended a satellite meeting of the Society organised by our enthusiastic Asian representative. We are confident that the international organising committee for the next conference in Montreal in 2002 will be as keen as we are to continue the tradition and ensure a strong ISCAIP presence on that occasion also.
Perhaps I should try to spell out my own hopes and aspirations for ISCAIP. Our foremost strength lies in our potential to foster collaboration and I believe we should seek, through both electronic and conventional means, to develop this role further. Second, the membership of the Society represents an unsurpassed critical mass of expertise and (to use an old fashioned phrase) sapiential authority. Let's use our collective clout to maximise the effectiveness of injury prevention policies and practices in every corner of the globe through the dissemination of research based evidence and guidelines. Finally, the Delhi conference brought home to me (and I'm sure many others) just how dramatically different are the circumstances and obstacles faced by injury prevention professionals in India and other developing countries compared with the US, Europe, or Australia. Most ISCAIP members are all to well aware of this, of course, yet how many of us have found ways of coping constructively with the implications? Dinesh Mohan has called for the institution of imaginative collaborative projects between researchers working in low income countries (containing most of the world's population) and high income countries.1 Are injury prevention professionals ready to respond to this challenge? If so, how? Should we seek additional resources to oil the wheels of such “north-south” collaboration and, if so, where will we find them? I appeal to all readers of Injury Prevention to reflect on these questions and to try to articulate some answers. I can think of no more urgent task for ISCAIP—or indeed for the injury prevention community as a whole—in the 21st century.