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Vth European Congress of the European Association "Mental Health in Mental Retardation" - Final Report

  1. Number of attendees.
    There were 550 participants. This has been the larger number of attendees to an MHMR congress and possibly to an European event on Mental Health and Mental retardation to date.

  2. Were there representatives from countries other than Spain? If so, from what countries?

    Attendees where from 24 countries around the world (including America, Oceania, Asia and Africa): Australia, Austria, Belgium; Benin; Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic; Denmark; Germany, Greece; Finland; France; Ireland; Israel, Italy, Northern Ireland; Norway, Poland; Spain, Sweden; Switzerland; The Netherlands, United Kingdom; USA

  3. Did you use an evaluation form to assess the outcome of this Scientific Meeting?

    We did not used evaluation forms due to technical reasons and budget restrictions. Psychiatry of intellectual disabilities is an area without support from pharmaceutical companies, and congress financing is mostly limited to registration fees. We could not bare the cost of formal evaluation and post-congress analysis of these data. Critical comments were encouraged from the organization in order to improve the quality of MHMR meetings in all general sessions. We received over 30 replies by e.mail (just one included critical comments). I will suggest to the MHMR Board to make an effort to incorporate formal evaluation in the next congress.

  4. Positive outcomes of the Scientific Meeting:

    We have received congratulations and personal greetings for the organization of this event. The scientific level was considered good, providing an international scope on the topic that exceeded by far the European focus. The congress main topic was "An integrative approach" and presentation ranged from basic science genetics and behavioural phenotypes to social aspects, and geography of services. A series of international workgroups and taskforces hold working meetings during the congress including POMONA, WHO- Intellectual Disabilities Atlas, Joint commission of the Spanish and Italian Societies, and NADD-APA Taskforce on Classification. An added value of this meeting was the active participation of Spanish regional and national agencies on health and social services. Apart from the official meeting, MHMR pre-congress courses had a good scientific level and attendance. The congress of the Spanish Association of Professionals in Intellectual Disabilities (AEECRM) was hold at the same time and the attendance of Spanish AEECMR participants was allowed to the international congress. This improved contact and participation of our Spanish colleagues with international experts accomplishing one of the main objectives of MHMR congresses.

  5. Negative outcomes of the Scientific Meeting:

    We have received just one critical comment to the meeting from two Orthopedagogues in Belgium. The critics were:
    • the opening lectures could be more relevant to a broader audience;
    • the presentation of some lectures and workshops, especially the opening lecture, should be more audience-oriented, inspiring and challenging;
    • the content of the lectures and workshops could be supported by a handout, or a copy of the powerpoint presentation;
    • the use of powerpoint should be to support the lecture, so the presentation is more than reading what is shown on the screen;
    • some workshops were overcrowded: not by attendants, but by participants: 6 in 90 minutes is to much, especially when discussion is promoted.
    I reply was sent to them. A self-critic sent to the MHMR board included the need of an agreement with a international congress agency to run the MHMR congresses in the future.

  6. Role of the WPA:

    The co-sponsorship and the role of WPA was clearly visible on all the documents related to the congress (Webpage, Abstract book, Accreditation). WPA was represented in the opening and closing session by myself as Chair of the Section, and special thanks were given to WPA at both sessions. WPA section activities were highlighted in several sessions including the WPA role in ICD-11 classification in relation to intellectual disabilities (or mental retardation). The MHMR board is willing to keep and enhance collaboration with WPA in its future events.

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