History

Founding

The seed of the International Society for Telemedicine  was planted at the First International Conference on the Medical Aspects of Telemedicine, held in Tromsø, Norway in 1993. A group of experts at the meeting met to discuss the possibility of forming an international society. The field was as yet in its infancy, and, owing to the varied interests and contrasting ideas of the participants, agreement on a course of action could not be reached and the proposal was unsuccessful.

A second attempt was made at the Second Conference, held at the Mayo Clinic in 1995 in conjunction with the 2nd Mayo Telemedicine Symposium. Similar problems arose, and the proposal was again unsuccessful.

Third time lucky. The Third International Conference on the Medical Aspects of Telemedicine was held in Kobe, Japan in May 1997. In the leadup to the meeting, the Secretary, Guy Harris, embarked on an aggressive plan to found a society. Luminaries from around the world were recruited to join a Founder’s Committee, many of whom were able to attend the conference. The Committee also included the members of the conference’s Japanese organizing committee.

The members of the Founders’ Committee were:
Drs DeBakey, Goldberg, Koop, Nicogossian and Satava, (USA), Castellano (Mexico), Medvedev (Russia), Hjelm (HK), Rossing (Denmark), Alexander and Yellowlees (Australia), Michaelis (Israel), Kvist (Finland), Lareng (France), Lun (Singapore), Meme (Kenya), Filler, Elford, Picot and Lacroix (Canada), Bracale (Italy), Padeken (Germany), Ashihara, Barron, Fujino, Fukuda, Harris, Inamoto, Inamura, Kiyotani, Koike, Maeda, Matsuoka, Mizushima, Nakajima, Ohtsuki, Shimosato, Tanaka, Tsuda, Ueda, Yamauchi (Japan) and International Advisory Board (Allen, Brugal, Ferguson, Gitlin, Lemke, McGee, Preston and Wold) of the 3rd International Conference on the Medical Aspects of Telemedicine.

The meetings were held over two days. Discussion was spirited as each of the thirty participants sought to establish their view on what all sensed was an groundbreaking occasion. About halfway through the first meeting it seemed history would repeat itself, with the predominance of a particular view that sought to see the new group founded along political lines. A deadlock ensued, Finally, as the meeting approached its scheduled conclusion, relief came in the form of a particularly impassioned speech, so cleverly crafted and forcefully delivered that none dared contradict it. The meeting chairman, a canny veteran of a dozen similar battles, seized the moment and forced the vote. The motion was carried - the International Society for Telemedicine was formed along the lines its original promoters had sought. Officers were empanelled and the future was mapped out.

Subsequent activity focussed on development of the biannual conferences, The host country for the first conference of the new society was Jerusalem, Israel, as the Fourth International Conference on the Medical Aspects of Telemedicine. At that meeting the decision was made to hold the conferences on annual basis. The Fifth Conference was held in 2000 in Montreal, Canada, the Sixth in 2001 in Uppsala, Sweden, the Seventh in Regensburg, Germany. The Eighth Conference, in 2003, fittingly returned on the 10th anniversary of the First to the place of its founding, to Tromsø, Norway. The meetings were all very well attended and admirably served the purpose of the International Society for Telemedicine in furthering the knowledge about telemedicine.

In the run-up to the Regensburg meeting, the decision was made that the International Society for Telemedicine needed to be reformulated. Although the meetings had been greatly successful, the society had found it difficult to fulfill its other goals, and so a new way forward was sought. After discussion at Regensburg, it was decided to reestablish the Society more along the lines of a federation of national bodies. The decision was endorsed and in September 15th, 2003 ‘ISfT 2’ was officially established as Not-for-profit organization under the Swiss law.
All those involved in ‘ISfT 1’ are immensely proud of their efforts in keeping the Society operational, under sometimes difficult conditions. Newly invigorated and with new purpose,  the new International Society for Telemedicine looks set to fulfill all of the Society’s original goals, and many more.

First Board of the renewed ISfT

From left to right:

Frank Lievens (Belgium) - Treasurer
Jarmo Reponen (Finland)
Robert Rudowski (Poland)
Michael Nerlich (Germany) - President
Ricky Richardson (United Kingdom) - Vice President
James McGee (United Kingdom)
Mark VanderWerf (USA)
Lars Hulbæk (Denmark) - Secretary
Marian Noga (Poland)

ISfT becomes ISfTeH

The General Assembly of the ISfT, held on April 6th, 2005, in Luxembourg, voted in favour of a name adaptation of the Society to ISfTeH (International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth), as to position it more in line with the international “eHealth” recognition by all International Organisations such as WHO, ITU, EU, etc. (ref. http://www.isft.net/cms/index.php?ga_2005_minutes). Also the logo has been adapted to reflect the new name.

 

Third Board of Directors (2008-2009-2010)

Following the elections that took place electronically between Sept. 30th and October 15th, 2007, a new Board of Directors has been approved by the 2007 General Assembly which took place in Regensburg (Germany) on Dec. 5th, 2007. This new Board will stay in function till end 2010.

The new Board, in its first meeting following the General Assembly, has also co-opted three additional members.

From left to right: Oleg Orlov, Jarmo Reponen, Yunkap Kwankam (special invited guest from WHO), Michael Nerlich, Louis Lareng, Trevor Cradduck, André Petitet, Frank Lievens, Andy Fischer
Not present: Moretlo Molefi, Steve Normandin, Ricky Richardson

 

Fourth Board of Directors (2011)

The 4th Board of Directors was confirmed by the General Assembly that took place in Perth (Australia) on November 11th, 2010. The three new members (Prof. Yogesan Kanagasingam, Prof. Oleg Orlov and Dr. Adolfo Sparenberg) will stay in office till end 2013.

President: Michael Nerlich, MD PhD (Germany)
Vice President: Dr. Andy Fischer (Switzerland)
Secretary and Treasurer: Frank Lievens (Belgium)
Other Members: Prof. Yogesan Kanagasingam (Australia, Russia); Dr. Moretlo Lynette Molefi (South Africa); Steve Normandin (USA); Prof. Oleg Orlov (Russia); Dr. Jarmo Reponen (Finland); Dr. Adolfo Sparenberg (Brazil)

Executive Director: Prof. Yunkap Kwankam (Switzerland)

 

Fifth Board of Directors (2012)

The 5th Board of Directors was confirmed by the General Assembly that took place virtually between December 1st-15th, 2011. The three elected members (Prof. Rupert Gerzer, Steve Normandin and Dr. Andre Petitet) will stay in office until 2014.

President: Dr. Andy Fischer (Switzerland)
Vice President: Steve Normandin (USA)
Secretary and Treasurer: Frank Lievens (Belgium)
Other Members: Dr. Rupert Gerzer (Germany); Prof. Yogesan Kanagasingam (Australia, Russia); Dr. Moretlo Lynette Molefi (South Africa); Prof. Oleg Orlov (Russia); Dr. Andre Petitet (France); Dr. Adolfo Sparenberg (Brazil)

Executive Director: Prof. Yunkap Kwankam (Switzerland)

 

Sixth Board of Directors (2013)

The 6th Board of Directors was confirmed by the General Assembly that took place virtually between December 1st-20th, 2012. The three elected members (Dr. Andy Fischer, Prof. Rifat Latifi and Frank Lievens) will stay in office until 2015.


President: Dr. Andy Fischer (Switzerland)
Vice President: Steve Normandin (USA)
Secretary and Treasurer: Frank Lievens (Belgium)
Other Members: Dr. Rupert Gerzer (Germany); Prof. Yogesan Kanagasingam (Australia); Prof. Rifat Latifi (USA), Prof. Oleg Orlov (Russia); Dr. Andre Petitet (France); Dr. Adolfo Sparenberg (Brazil)
Member elected by the Board: Dr. Moretlo Molefi (South Africa) (until 2015)

Executive Director: Prof. Yunkap Kwankam (Switzerland)

 

Seventh Board of Directors (2014)

The 7th Board of Directors was confirmed by the General Assembly that took place virtually between December 1st-31st, 2013. The three elected members (Dr. Pirkko Kouri, Prof. Anthony Maeder, Dr. Adolfo Sparenberg) will stay in office until 2016.

President: Dr. Andy Fischer (Switzerland)
Vice President: Steve Normandin (USA)
Secretary and Treasurer: Frank Lievens (Belgium)
Other Members: Dr. Rupert Gerzer (Germany); Dr. Pirkko Kouri (Finland); Prof. Rifat Latifi (USA), Prof. Anthony Maeder (Australia); Dr. Moretlo Molefi (South Africa); Dr. Andre Petitet (France); Dr. Adolfo Sparenberg (Brazil)

Executive Director: Prof. Yunkap Kwankam (Switzerland)

 

Eight Board of Directors (2015)

The 8th Board of Directors was confirmed by the General Assembly that took place virtually between December 1st-31st, 2014. The three elected members (Dr. Markus Lindlar, Prof. André Petitet, Dr. Roberto Rocci) will stay in office until 2017.

President: Dr. Andy Fischer (Switzerland)
Vice President: Prof. Rifat Latifi (USA)
Secretary and Treasurer: Frank Lievens (Belgium)
Other Members: Dr. Pirkko Kouri (Finland); Dr. Markus Lindlar (Germany); Prof. Anthony Maeder (Australia);  Dr. Moretlo Molefi (South Africa); Dr. Andre Petitet (France); Dr. Roberto Rocci (Italy); Dr. Adolfo Sparenberg (Brazil)

Executive Director: Prof. Yunkap Kwankam (Switzerland)

From left to right: Frank Lievens, Yunkap Kwankam, Pirkko Kouri, André Petitet, Rifat Latifi, Andy Fischer, Adolfo Sparenberg, Roberto Rocci, Markus Lindlar
Not present: Anthony Maeder, Moretlo Molefi

 

Ninth Board of Directors (2016)

The 9th Board of Directors was confirmed by the General Assembly that took place virtually between October 15th-29th, 2015. The three elected members (Dr. Andy Fischer, Dr. Piotr Skarzynski, Dr. Regina Ungerer) will stay in office until 2018.

President: Dr. Andy Fischer (Switzerland)
Vice President: Dr. Pirkko Kouri (Finland)
Treasurer/Secretary: Dr. André Petitet (France)
Other Members: Dr. Markus Lindlar (Germany); Prof. Anthony Maeder (Australia); Dr. Roberto Rocci (Italy); Dr. Piotr Skarzynski; Dr. Adolfo Sparenberg (Brazil); Dr. Regina Ungerer (Brazil)
Co-Opted Members: Rajendra Pratap Gupta (India), Mina Abdulla Hamoodi (United Arab Emirates)

Management Board
Executive Director: Prof. Yunkap Kwankam (Switzerland)
Executive Vice-Director and Head of Business Development: Andreas Faller (Switzerland)
Executive Secretariat: Frederic Lievens & Frank Lievens (Belgium)

From left to right: (seated) Pirkko Kouri, Andy Fischer, Regina Ungerer, André Petitet, (standing) Andreas Faller, Piotr Skarzynski, Frederic Lievens, Adolfo Sparenberg, Yunkap Kwankam, Markus Lindlar, Frank Lievens
Not present: Rajendra Pratap Gupta, Mina Abdulla Hamoodi, Anthony Maeder, Roberto Rocci

 

Tenth Board of Directors (2017)

The 10th Board of Directors was confirmed by the General Assembly that took place virtually between November 28th-December 5th, 2016. The three elected members (Dr. Pirkko Kouri, Prof. Hassan Ghazal, Dr. Adolfo Sparenberg) will stay in office till end 2019.
Dr. Mauro Feola (Italy) is replacing Dr. Roberto Rocci who retired from the Board for health reasons and will complete his term till end 2017.

President: Dr. Andy Fischer (Switzerland)
Vice President: Dr. Pirkko Kouri (Finland)
Treasurer/Secretary: Dr. André Petitet (France)
Other Members: Prof. Hassan Ghazal (Morocco); Dr. Markus Lindlar (Germany);  Dr. Roberto Rocci (Italy); Dr. Piotr Skarzynski; Dr. Adolfo Sparenberg (Brazil); Dr. Regina Ungerer (Brazil)
Co-Opted Members: Rajendra Pratap Gupta (India), Mina Abdulla Hamoodi (United Arab Emirates)


Management Board
Executive Director: Prof. Yunkap Kwankam (Switzerland)
Executive Vice-Director: Frederic Lievens (Belgium)
Executive Secretariat: Frank Lievens (Belgium)

JISfTeH Management: Prof. Maurice Mars (South Africa)