Epigraph Vol. 21 Issue 1, Winter 2019


Young Epilepsy Section (YES)

The past American Epilepsy Society meeting in New Orleans was the perfect place to strengthen bonds between YES members, encourage other young attendees to get involved and plan for future initiatives. Following the first YES Latin American regional meeting in Costa Rica earlier this year, I have been involved in a number of local activities.

Attending AES was an exciting and inspiring opportunity to be able to meet the international YES team for the first time. It was awesome to feel part of a worldwide community of enthusiastic young leaders and to feel that local and personal ideas are heard all over the world.

During the AES meeting, we shared what each YES task force has achieved over the past six months. It was incredible to see how the YES community has grown and how members are actively participating to reach short- and long-term goals. I loved meeting the founding members and felt inspired by their energy and achievements. It was exciting to share what we have done in Colombia regarding advocacy initiatives. In addition, the valuable input of Sam Wiebe and Helen Cross was encouraging and shows the ongoing commitment from the ILAE.

Nadia Khan facilitated an interesting and practical discussion on “How to land an NIH fellowship or career development award”. Panel members guided us through their career pathways and provided critical advice on the craft of writing grant applications.

New Orleans’ spirit was the ideal venue for the YES networking event. This was an informal way for young clinicians, researchers and scientists interested in epilepsy from all around the world to get to know one another, make new friends and share research ideas. It was fascinating to learn that Japanese residents have experiences similar to mine in Colombia.

In 2019, YES will have a strong presence at ILAE events, including the 33rd International Epilepsy Congress  in Bangkok in June. YES will have its first regional meetings at the 5th Eastern Mediterranean Epilepsy Congress in Marrakech in March, and the 4th African Epilepsy Congress in Uganda in August. Other priority YES initiatives in 2019 include the ILAE epilepsy course curriculum and the development of epilepsy resources through infographics and reference guides.

Through YES I believe global union is possible, with a common goal: working to improve epilepsy care and research worldwide. The YES community is strong in part because members come from varied environments, have different perspectives and professions, all contributing with knowledge and ideas

Gathering during the AES meeting empowered us to keep working to achieve goals as a group, enriched by the multiple perspectives and inspired by enthusiastic young leaders. I feel honored to be part of this awesome global group and have positive expectations to what the future will bring for us as a team!

— Dr Manuela Ochoa-Urrea, YES representative for Colombia