The European Society For Philosophy Of Medicine And Healthcare In August 1987, the European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Healthcare (ESPMH) was founded and its first conference was held at Maastricht, the Netherlands, with "The Growth of Medical Knowledge" as its main topic. The ESPMH was instituted by an international company of philosophers, physicians, ethicists and other interested professionals in the field with a view to the growing need for critical reflection on the role of medicine and health care in our present society. Health-related issues increasingly influence the functioning of social security systems (social welfare systems) and demands for health care strain the national budgets of most western countries. In our culture, resulting problems tend to be approached by searching exclusively for technocratic and econometric solutions. Philosophical analysis and ethical evaluations have long been neglected. Recently however, Faculties of Medicine, professional organisations and to a certain extent, the popular mind, have shown an increase in awareness of these deficiencies. New teaching programs and research projects on meta-medical subjects are now being introduced but often meet with strong opposition, if not straightforward obstruction. Thus it seems imperative that these efforts should be strengthened through contacts and cooperation at a European level. Goals: To stimulate and promote the development and methodology in the field of philosophy of medicine and health care; To be a center of contact for European scholars in this field; To promote international contact between members of the various countries in and outside Europe. Activities:

  • The organisation of annual conferences to be held in different European countries successively. We have begun with a conference in the Netherlands (1987); the theme was "The Growth of Medical Knowledge", and it was addressed from cultural, anthropological and philosophical points of view. The second conference took place in Aarhus, Denmark (1988). Its theme was "Values in medical and health care decision making". The focus of this conference was upon moral issues. The third conference was organised in Poland, in the town of Czestochowa (1989), focussing on "European traditions in philosophy of medicine". The fourth conference was scheduled to take place in Bochum, Germany but was re-located to Maastricht, the Netherlands (1990). The theme of this conference was "Consensus formation in health care ethics". The fifth conference has taken place in Oxford, June 28-30, 1991. Theme was: "Philosophy and Mental Health". The sixth conference was in Budapest, Hungary (August 12-14, 1992, focused on "Social Policy and Health"). The seventh conference took place in Oslo, Norway (August 20-21, 1993), concentrating on "Economics, Technology and Health Care". The 1994 conference was organised in Paris, France (May 30 - June 4, 1994). This was in fact the first world conference in philosophy of medicine. In cooperation with many organisations and associations from Europe, Japan and the United States, the Paris' Association Descartes and our Society brought together more than 500 scholars from all over the world to discuss a wide range of issues in the epistemology, anthropology, ethics and social philosophy of medicine and health care. In 1995, we had our ninth annual conference on the island of Kos, Greece. This conference, focused on "Medicine and Culture" was organised in cooperation with the International Hippocratic Foundation of Kos. In 1996, the annual conference took place in Vienna, Austria (August 14-16), on "Philosophy of the Health Sciences", in 1997 in Padova (August 21-23), in 1998 in Marburg (August 20-22). In 1999 a meeting is scheduled in Linköping (August 18-21) on "Epistemology and Medicine". In 2000 the second World Congress of Pilosophy of Medicine will take place in Cracow, Poland. Theme: "humane healthcare - sciences, technologies, values". You will receive further information as well as a call for abstracts as a member of the ESPMH.
  • The publication of a Journal: MEDICINE, HEALTHCARE AND PHILOSOPHY. A EUROPEAN JOURNAL , published by Kluwer Academic Publishers from 1998 onwards. This journal succeeds the Newsletter of ESPMH. The Newsletter has been published since the founding of ESPMH, and it has been a definite stimulus to the field of philosophy of medicine and bioethics, particularly with an emphasis on European approaches. Subscription to the new journal will be included in membership of ESPMH. The specific orientations of the journal are: (1) focus on European perspectives, (2) interrelation of philosophy and medicine. The journal will be published in 3 issues per year. At least one of these issues will be an annual thematic issue. The majority of articles in each issue, whether thematic or not, will be "Original contributions". These can include several categories: a) scientific articles: longer expositions of problems, themes, topics or problem areas; b) practical viewpoint: shorter exposition of case discussion, clinical problem, current issues; c) research and educational programs: special surveys and articles on programmes in ethics and philosophy education, or exposition of research programmes and results from various centers and institutions. Furthermore, the journal will inform members of activities and events. Manuscripts should be submitted in quadruplicate to: E. de Reus, Medicine, Health care and Philosophy, Journals Editorial Office, Kluwer Academic Publishers, P.O. Box 990, 3300 AZ Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Membership: Membership of ESPMH is open to anyone who wishes to participate in its activities or to be informed of developments in the field of philosophy of medicine and health care, by subscription to the Society's Charter. Up to this moment, ESPMH has approximately 400 members from 30 countries. During the annual conferences a General Assembly of the members will usually take place. The Executive Committee of ESPMH currently - after the election in Cardiff - has the following members:

  • Søren Holm (UK) President 1/1/2008 - 31/12/2010
  • Tuija Takala (Finland) President-Elect 1/1/2008 - 31/12/2010
  • Gerrit Kimsma (Netherlands) Treasurer 1/1/2006 - 31/12/2008
  • Bert Gordijn (Netherlands) Secretary 1/1/2007 - 31/12/2009
  • Eugenijus Gefenas (Lithuania) Member 1/1/2006 - 31/12/2008
  • Renzo Pegoraro (Italy) Member 1/1/2008 - 31/12/2010
  • Margaret Battin (USA) Member 1/1/2008 - 31/12/2010
  • Vilhjalmur Arnason (Iceland) Member 1/1/2008 - 31/12/2010
  • Fuat Odcuncu (Germany) Member 1/1/2007 - 31/12/2009

Membership dues have been established at 40 EUR or the equivalent in local currency for individual members (and 250 EUR or its equivalent for institutional members). Furthermore, members will receive reductions on admittance fees and on the publication of papers presented at the Society's conferences. If you have any questions regarding the Society, don't hesitate to contact the Secretary of ESPMH, Dr Bert Gordijn (Netherlands) Secretary since Sept. 2003 E-mail: B.Gordijn@EFG.umcn.nl.

Secretary's new e-mail address since September 1st 2008 is the following: bert.gordijn@dcu.ie