A Chronological History of the European Federation of Periodontology
The initiators, Hans Rodenburg, Daniel van Steenberghe and Peter Floyd suggested a meeting of representatives of the societies. In a letter to all European periodontal societies, it was asked if there was a general interest in a European cooperation and in having an informal meeting on the subject. Positive answers came from the Belgian, British, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish and the Swiss societies.
This first meeting of the co-ordination committee took place on September 18, 1987 in Montreux, at the time of the joint meeting of the Swiss and Dutch Societies of Periodontology. The agenda of this meeting included 6 topics:
- Coordination of meetings of the European societies
- Membership cards for claiming reduced registration fees at the annual meetings of the other European societies of periodontology
- Education of graduate and undergraduate students in periodontology, including the continuing education of dentists
- Recognition of specialists
- Political activities intended to improve dental health in the different countries (for example, Dental hygienists)
- Situation of periodontologists in different European countries.
Delegates of the Belgian, British, Dutch, French, Spanish and the Swiss societies took part in this first meeting and it was decided that annual meetings should be established thereafter, attended by delegates of all the national European societies. It was also decided that an increase in the number of dentists properly trained in periodontology would be of benefit to both general practitioners and patients.
In May 1988, the 2nd meeting took place in Marrakech with additional representatives from the German, Italian, Scandinavian and Portuguese societies. The chairman of this meeting was U. van der Velden (The Netherlands).
The third meeting was in June 1989 in Santa Margherita, again under the chairmanship of U. van der Velden. At this meeting it was decided to form a Federation. A wide ranging discussion took place which included, the goals of the proposed Federation, postgraduate education and, for the first time, the possibility of a joint scientific meeting was raised.
During the 4th meeting in May 1990 in Maastricht, a constitution including the rules of procedure for the EFP was proposed. It was agreed to organise a European Meeting in May 1994 in Paris. This became EuroPerio 1.
The 5th meeting was held in December 1991 near the airport of Amsterdam. Representatives of the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Great Britain took part. The German and the Italian delegates were unable to attend. This meeting finalised decisions of date and venue of the 1st EuroPerio conference in May 1994 in Paris. J. L. Giovannoli (France) was elected chairman for 1992, D.G. Hillam (GB) became General Secretary and Michel Brecx Treasurer.
In the following years meetings were held twice a year and, immediately after EuroPerio 1 had proved to be such a success, the opportunity was taken to start the organisation of the EuroPerio 2 and EuroPerio3 conferences.
In June 1995, the board of the EFP, under the chairmanship of L Flores de Jacoby (Germany), met in Gothenburg during the North-Sea conference being held there. Further meetings were held in Istanbul (December 1995), Geneva (June 1996), Brussels (December 1996) and Kronberg (Germany) in November 1997. Florence, the location of EuroPerio 2 was the venue for the meeting in May 1997.
In addition to organising two very successful conferences (EuroPerio 2 had more than 3500 participants) the EFP succeeded in establishing standardised European guidelines for undergraduate and postgraduate education in the field of periodontology. According to the guidelines the specialist education in periodontology should take 3 years and should be undertaken in a periodontal department of a university or college. In response to these new guidelines leading universities a number of European countries, which had already offered analogous further education, are adapting their programs to the EFP guidelines.
The EFP has established a Postgraduate Committee, which is receiving applications from university periodontal departments. Postgraduate programs are assessed under the EFP Guidelines and, if they conform to the relevant criteria, they are awarded EFP recognition. The first program to be officially recognised as fulfilling these guidelines was that of the University of Amsterdam (ACTA), in 1998.
In 1996 the constitution of the EFP was changed in order to enable other interested periodontal societies which do not qualify for full membership, to achieve the status of "Associate member". With the increasing number of member societies, it became necessary to establish separate meetings of the General Assembly and of the Executive Committee. The latter consists of the president, the president-elect, the past-president, the general secretary, the treasurer, 2 additionally elected members and, if necessary, other co-opted members.
The executive committee discusses all actions that should be taken by the EFP and prepares them for the decision in the General Assembly. This has enabled the number of General Assembly meetings to be reduced to one per year.
According to the constitution, the "Journal of Clinical Periodontology" is the official journal of the EFP and, with few exceptions, its purchase is obligatory for all members of the constituent societies. A European directory of dentists with a special interest in periodontology has been published, to facilitate the referral of patients with periodontal problems.
The EFP sees itself as the natural successor to ARPA-Internationale, which was founded 1932 in Frankfurt and considers as its main aim the improvement of periodontal health throughout Europe. It hopes to achieve this aim by the promotion of periodontal education, research and science.