Dear readers,

With some melancholy feelings, I’m writing this welcome word for PAE’s newsletter. It will be my last one. I looked back through my archive and found our very first newsletter, brought to you 1st June 2013. It means that this is my 31st ”Welcome Word” to all readers of this newsletter.

Looking back at that first newsletter, I know realise more than ever how much we have achieved. We have been growing as an organisation. We have more members and more countries involved. We developed our own projects as well as our annual surveys which are highly appreciated and referred to. There is now the Brain Mind and Pain Patient-centric Innovation Grant.  We are partnering in the Societal Impact of Pain, SIP project as well as the Brain Mind and Pain European Parliament Interest Group.

We had just started in that year, on 1st January 2013, in “our own” office in Diegem and assured ourselves of professional secretarial support. The development of this newsletter was one of the first results we showed to the “outside” world. We participated in our first project together with Active Citizen Network in the Pain Patients Pathway Recommendations.  This was the start of a long list of projects we were involved in or were asked to be a member of – a consortium for EU research funding.

Over time the newsletter developed just as PAE did. What didn’t change was the nature of the newsletter. We provide information on what PAE has doing or is going to do, and our members provide info on what they are doing or planning to do. In this way we can ensure that good ideas from our members are shared with others so that all of them can benefit from it.

Again, you will see that this newsletter is filled with news from PAE and its projects, partnerships and its members. It also invites you to join our General Assembly where I will hand over to the next president of PAE who will be elected by the General Assembly. During the past nine and a half years it has been a pleasure to be working for PAE. I feel proud and honoured to be so lucky. Now it is time for fresh ideas and new work to further the achievements we have made so far.

However, getting this far was only possible thanks to the enormous support and feedback I got from the board, the support of our secretariat, the support of friendly organisations such as EFIC and EFNA, and the support of our sponsors who made it financially possible to grow this far. But mostly because of all the support I have got from you the members. With your comments, ideas, remarks and information you made it possible to do our outmost best to reach PAE’s goal: to improve the quality of life of people living with chronic pain in Europe; to being the patients’ voice.

I end with almost the same sentence as I did in the first newsletter:

Enjoy reading my (this) last (first) newsletter and let us know your thoughts.

Joop van Griensven

President PAE

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