Korea hosting global event on dermatology

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Korea hosting global event on dermatology

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About 20,000 foreigners, including 12,000 dermatology experts from across the globe, will be streaming into the COEX center in southern Seoul tomorrow to attend the six-day World Congress of Dermatology.

Korea was chosen to host this year’s 22nd WCD after nine years of hard work by the Korean Dermatological Association, the local organizing committee for the WCD.

The KDA established an organizing committee in 2002, composed of 150 members, to bid for the WCD, the most widely recognized international dermatology gathering. Seoul was chosen at the 21st WCD in Buenos Aires in 2007, beating out Rome and London. Korea became the second country in Asia to host the event, with Toyko hosting the 16th WCD in 1982.

“The Korean Dermatological Association is extremely honored to have the privilege of hosting the WCD for the first time in Korea in its history of over 120 years,” said Eun Hee-chul, president of the 22nd WCD, adding that “the field of dermatology has been advancing enormously across the entire spectrum of subspecialties [in Korea].”

This year’s WCD is reportedly the largest international scholarly society meeting ever in Korea, bringing together an international gathering of 12,000 dermatology experts and speakers, including renowned professors from medical schools around the globe. They will deliver keynote lectures, covering some of the most recent discoveries in the field. A renowned German professor, Harald zur Hausen, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008 for discovering the human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer, will deliver a lecture on Wednesday.

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Eun Hee-chul

About 320 seminars are scheduled, along with hundreds of global cosmetic companies showcasing their latest products. Medical equipment makers also will show their advanced laser treatment technologies.

According to the KDA, the event is estimated to generate 200 billion won ($184 million) and about 20,000 temporary jobs. Given such benefits, competition among countries to host the event is always fierce.

Eun, who is a professor at Seoul National University’s School of Medicine, said in an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily that efforts by the Korean organizing committee to win the bid to host the WCD, also referred as the Skin Olympics, goes back 31 years.

“The whole story goes back to 1980 when I was living in a small town near Oxford in England as a scholarship student. During that time, a professor I knew named Dr. Wilkinson, who is an authority on occupational skin disease and environmental medicine, was a board member of the International League of Dermatological Societies, which is an organizer and a sponsor of the WCD,” said Eun. “He was holding meetings with the Japanese WCD organizing committee members, as they were the hosting country for the WCD in 1982. I can still remember a tip from the professor, saying that it is impossible to become the hosting country without the country’s full support and a minimum of 10 years of preparations,” he said.

After participating at the 16th WCD in Tokyo two years later, Eun said that he promised himself that he would do anything to make sure Korea also would host this international event.

Two or three years before the 20th WCD was held in Paris, the KDA said it explored all possibilities of becoming the next host city. Eun, who was then in charge of general affairs for the KDA, said he personally contacted organizing committee presidents of countries that had previously hosted the event, including Toyko and Sydney, and peppered them with questions to gain helpful information.

Preparations were in full gear but faltered for a while when Japan announced its interest in entering the race to host the event.

“It was obvious that Japan didn’t want Korea to host the event in 2011, as they will have to wait for at least 20 to 30 years for an Asian country to host the event again,” said Eun. “Japan’s announcement was a major threat to Korea’s bid.”

Eun said, though, that he came up with a perfect strategy to convince Japan to drop its candidacy. “Using the Japanese’s characteristics of respecting elders was my strategy,” said Eun. After two months, the Japanese organizing committee announced its withdrawal. Eun said London and Rome were competing against each other so much that they neglected the “Korean power.”


By Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [연합]
`세계피부과 올림픽` 24일 한국서 개막
24~29일 세계피부과학술대회…2천억원 경제효과
세계 100여개국 피부과 전문의와 의료산업 관계자 1만2천명이 참석해 `피부과 올림픽`으로 불리는 `세계피부과학술대회`가 이달 서울에서 개막한다.

세계피부과학술대회 조직위원회(대회장 은희철 서울대의대 피부과 교수)는 오는 24~29일 서울 코엑스(COEX) 전관(전시관 및 콘퍼런스룸)에서 `혁신적 피부과학을 통한 세계적 교류`를 주제로 한 제22차 세계피부과학술대회(The 22nd World Congress of Dermatology)를 개최한다고 11일 밝혔다.

122년의 역사를 가진 세계피부과학술대회는 1889년 프랑스 파리에서 처음 개최된 이후 4년마다 열리고 있다. 지금까지 이 행사를 개최한 나라는 13개국에 불과하며 아시아에서는 1982년 일본 도쿄대회가 유일했다.

대한피부과학회는 2002년부터 이 대회의 서울 유치를 위해 150명에 달하는 조직위원을 구성해 유치활동을 벌여왔다. 2007년 아르헨티나에서 열린 제21차 세계피부과학술대회에서는 서울이 105표를 얻어 이탈리아 로마(72표)와 영국 런던(26표)을 물리치고 개최지로 최종 선정됐다.


이번 서울 대회에는 100여개국에서 1만2천여명의 관계자가 방한하고, 총 320개의 학술세션에서 강연자만 1천200여명이 참여할 예정이다. 또 500여개에 달하는 관련 업체에서 900여개의 부스를 설치하기로 했다.

은희철 대회장은 "관광과 숙박, 쇼핑 등으로 참가자들이 지출하는 직접 비용만 1천500㏄ 자동차 5천대에 맞먹는 수출 효과를 거둘 것으로 예상된다"면서 "임대료와 세금 등 간접효과까지 감안하면 총 2천억원 이상의 경제효과와 2만명의 고용창출 효과가 기대된다"고 말했다.

학술대회 기간에는 석학들의 강연도 예정돼 있다. 자궁경부암을 일으키는 사람유두종바이러스(HPV)를 처음 발견한 공로로 2008년 노벨생리의학상을 수상한 하랄트 추어 하우젠(Harald Zur Hausen) 박사의 25일 강연(바이러스 감염에 의한 암 발생과 백신에 의한 예방법)이 주목받고 있다.

이밖에 학회에서는 피부노화와 암유발 줄기세포, 골수세포를 이용한 피부회복 및 피부재생, 피부질환에서의 줄기세포 이식치료, 나노기술을 이용한 피부미용술 등에 대한 심층토론이 있을 예정이다.

은 대회장은 "이번 대회는 피부과의 영역을 넘어 전체 한국 의료계의 위상을 세계적으로 높이는 절호의 계기가 될 것"이라며 "한국의 피부관련 산업이 세계로 진출하는 중요한 이정표가 될 전망"이라고 설명했다.

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