Québec City hosts award-winning conference on respiratory health
For years, Dr. Louis-Philippe Boulet, a pulmonologist with the Québec Heart and Lung Institute (IUCPQ) – Université Laval and professor at Université Laval’s Faculty of Medicine, has always been on a two-pronged mission: to improve humans’ respiratory health and be a catalyst in inciting experts in the field to come together and share their knowledge and experience.
And the recent biennial event he organized, Espace francophone de pneumologie (EFP), which was held at the Québec City Convention Centre from October 12 to 14, 2017 is undoubtedly a testament to Dr. Boulet’s dedication to fulfilling his mission.
Over the course of the two-day event, Dr. Boulet and the organizing committee welcomed over 800 attendees from 26 French-speaking countries to discuss respiratory health and exchange best practices.
“Our aim was to strengthen the ties between specialists and improve cooperation between clinicians, researchers and organizations in Francophone countries,” explained Dr. Boulet.
A collaboration of colleagues around the world
“Many of our colleagues in Africa and Asia do not have access to the same medical resources and information as in North America and Western Europe. And we wanted to learn how they deal with respiratory illnesses in their home countries. EFP 2017 proved to be very conducive to fostering a better understanding of different respiratory illnesses and how they are evolving on the international scene.”
While the event highlighted the latest advances in respiratory health research, Dr. Boulet also underscored how the conferences helped attendees learn about new approaches and pragmatic solutions that could be applied once they returned home.
“It was compelling to see delegates realize that, as health professionals, while we may have varying levels and types of resources, we all have the same challenges in treating patients and addressing the human side of respiratory illnesses. These similarities came out loud and clear throughout the conference,” Dr. Boulet added.
A long-standing expertise in organizing events
EFP is not Dr. Boulet’s first event—and it may not be his last! He got his first start in organizing major events in 2008 with the Symposium Québec France en santé respiratoire, which played host to 600 attendees to Québec City during the city’s 400th anniversary. In 2012, he spearheaded the XXII INTERASMA World Congress of Asthma, which attracted 1,000 delegates.
With my work and research schedule, it would be easy to think it sheer folly to organize such big events, he chuckled. But I truly enjoy bringing great minds together to help improve how people breathe.
There were several logistical challenges in planning for EFP 2017, including ensuring that the event was top of mind and reserved in attendees’ ultra-busy schedules.
“These specialists are solicited for many events each year. What’s more, potential attendees from developing nations did not initially have the funds to travel. However, we worked with both local and international organizations, and my faculty to not only attract high-calibre speakers, create a compelling program, and find the monetary resources to take care of some travel and expenses.” Dr. Boulet said.
Dr. Boulet wins Ambassador of the Year award
The event was a resounding success. So much so that Dr. Boulet was the recipient of the Québec City’s Ambassadors’ Club 2017 Ambassador of the Year, which honours influential Québec personalities who contribute to the region’s notoriety and economy by attracting international events.
“I was so surprised that I had won,” said Dr. Boulet. “I am humbled to have won such a prestigious prize for working on a subject matter that I care deeply about. It’s very rewarding to be recognized for one’s lifelong mission.”