founders of the International Society for Burn Injuries first
convened at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland
in September 1960, for the First International Congress on Research
in Burns, which was sponsored by the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air
Force and the U.S. Public Health Service. The meeting, with
international participation, was coordinated by Curtis P. Artz,
and was considered such a success that a Second Congress
organized by A. B. Wallace, was held in Edinburgh in September
1965. The organizers and participants were so pleased with the
results that it was decided that an International Congress should be
held every five years. In fact, it was during this meeting that
a proposal to create the International Society for Burn Injuries
(ISBI) was presented and approved by the General Council, along with
a Constitution and Bylaws, which laid out the aims of the
Society, along with stipulations regarding membership (divided into
Full, Associate and Honorary Life memberships) and the authorities of
the society (Executive Council, General Council, General Assembly,
and Action Committees).
goals of the society were certainly worthy in intention and, as can
be seen through the course of the history of the Society, without
a doubt carried out to the full.
promote and coordinate research
encourage high standards of care
Original Executive Committee of the ISBI was decided (Table 1, 2).
The Executive Committee represented 13 countries, embracing the
international nature of the society, and A. B. Wallace was
pronounced Secretary General, a post which he held until his
death in December 1974.
3rd Congress of
the now newly formed ISBI took place in 1970 in Prague,
Czechoslovakia. The Congress was organized by R. Vrabec and
Z. Koníčková, and many of the proceedings took
place at the renowned Charles University. In the light of the rapid
developments experienced in the field of burns, it was suggested that
the Congresses be held every four years rather than every five. Thus,
it was decided by the General Assembly that the next ISBI Congress
would be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Congress was organized by Dr. Fortunato
Benaim in Buenos Aires, followed by the 5thCongress, which was organized by Bent Sörensen,
Gösta Arturson and Bengt Nylen in Stockholm, Sweden in 1978.
Wallace passed away in December 1974, and the position of Secretary
General was taken on by Dr. John Boswick. The 6th
Congress, held in San Francisco, USA in 1982, was hosted by
Dr. Boswick as both Secretary General of the Society and
Chairman of the Organizing Committee, with the assistance of Basil
Pruitt and William Curreri.
Congress was once again presided over by Dr. Boswick as
Secretary General, in Melbourne, Australia in 1986, and the Congress
was skillfully organized and hosted by A. M. Clarke, J. Solomon
and J. Masterton.
Congress on Burn Injuries took place in New Delhi, India, in November
1990, and was hosted by Manohar Keswani. During this Congress the
position of Secretary General, the member responsible for the
Society’s administrative business, was replaced by a President,
and the Associate Secretaries by three Vice Presidents. The General
Council was integrated by a representative of each geographic
area. Dr. John Boswick’s term as Secretary General, which
began in 1975, came to an end during this Congress, and he was
replaced by José BaĖuelos, from Barcelona, Spain, as
President of the ISBI.
9th Congress of
the ISBI in Paris, France, held in late June and early July of 1994,
was hosted by Dr. Serge Baux, with the assistance of Drs.
Laterjet and Wasserman. Dr. Basil Pruitt was elected
to be the next President, and his term began immediately afterwards.
In 1998 the 10th
Congress of the ISBI was held in Jerusalem, Israel under the
Presidency of Dr. Pruitt and was organized by Dr. Eldad,
with the assistance of Dr. Rosenberg. Dr. David Heimbach
was elected President of the ISBI for the term 1998–2002, and the
11th Congress was
held in Seattle, USA, over which Dr. Heimbach presided as both
President of the Society and Chairman of the Organizing Committee.
During this Congress the General Assembly approved a motion to
decrease the Presidential term from 4 to 2 years and to hold the ISBI
International Congress every two years rather than every four years
as had been done previously. Consequently the 12th
Congress was held in 2004, in Yokohama, Japan. Dr. Naoki Aikawa
was President of the Society, and Motohiro Nozaki hosted the Congress
as Chairman of the Organizing Committee. In Yokohama I had the
honor of being elected President-Elect. David Herndon was elected
President of ISBI, and he presided over the 13th
Congress, which was held in Fortaleza, Brazil in 2006, hosted by
Dr. Nelson Piccolo. It was during the Congress in Fortaleza that
I began my term as President of the ISBI for the years
interest in burn care began when I was still a resident at
Hacettepe University Medical School in Ankara, Turkey. After I was
appointed Assistant Professor in 1971, I began to apply to
several universities in the United States in the hope of going there
and learning more about transplantation and burn care, two exciting
and growing fields. After several months of eager anticipation I was
accepted as a Fellow at the Shriners Burns Institute and at John
Sealy Hospital in Galveston, Texas. So on February 3rd1973 I went to the United States, where
I studied with Drs. Duane Larson and Mario Dobrkovsky and
learned a great deal about clinical burn care, rehabilitation
and experimental studies.
was during this period in my life that I had the honor of
meeting many pioneers in the field of burns, including Drs. Truman
Blocker, Stephen Lewis, and two of the founders of the ISBI, A. B.
Wallace and Fortunato Benaim.
Dr. Benaim was presented with a certificate by Dr. Blocker
and a golden key by Dr. Larson on April 4th,
1973. Later that same year, during the Annual Meeting of the American
Burn Association in Dallas, I was also introduced by
Dr. Dobrkovsky to Drs. Curtis P. Artz, Bruce Macmillan,
Giovanni Dogo and other who have played important roles in the
shaping of the field.
the pleasure of meeting Dr. John Boswick, who later became
Secretary General of the ISBI, at the American Burn Association
Annual Meeting, held in Denver in 1975. The time I spent in
America in the company and under the influence of such fine
physicians served to strengthen my dedication to the care of burn
patients and I became a member and a national
representative of ISBI myself in 1975. From 1982–1986, I held
the position of Eastern Mediterranean Representative, after which
time I was Associate Secretary General until 1990. From
2002–2004 I acted as Chairman of the Disaster Planning
Committee and published a booklet entitled “Guidelines for
Dealing with Disasters Involving Large Numbers of Extensive
Burns” (Figure 1). In 2004, during the 12th
Congress of the ISBI held in Yokohama, Japan, I was elected
President-Elect of the ISBI. I began my term in 2006, at the
Congress of the ISBI, which took place in Fortaleza, Brazil. My term
as president ended in September 2008, at the close of the 14th
International Congress of the ISBI, which was held in Montreal,
Canada and was organized with great care and dedication by Drs.
Redouane Bouali and Edward Tredget. During the closing ceremony, with
the passing of the President’s symbol, a gold medallion
engraved with the ISBI logo, I passed on the Presidency to
Dr. Ronald Tompkins (Figure 2).
next Congress, to be held in Istanbul in 2010, marks the 50th
Anniversary of the International Society for Burn Injuries. It is an
honor for me to be able to host this Congress on such a special
occasion. The ISBI has come a long way since its first
inception, but without ever abandoning its ideals.
the years the number of scientific papers presented, and the number
of participants from all around the world, have continued to
increase. It is indeed a privilege to be part of such an
extraordinary society as the ISBI, with its wealth of knowledge,
activity and culture.
the last decade in particular, the ISBI has proven its commitment to
achieving its goals by disseminating knowledge and stimulating
prevention in the field of burns. The society has endorsed and
sponsored regional and national meetings; awarded grants to
professors participating in congresses in other countries and members
who wanted to visit other burn centers; organized educational courses
in different countries; and collaborated with the WHO as
a nongovernmental organization.
happen anywhere, anytime, to
any one. . . ”
of this fact, training burn-care specialists in other countries is
imperative. Funds for education and training and organizing regional
training programs and educational courses should be made available.
Participating in international congresses is critical for healthcare
staff to interact with their colleagues. Unfortunately, economic
factors in certain countries make this difficult.
the number of members in countries where membership rates are
particularly low or entirely absent would allow healthcare
professionals to benefit from the Society’s activities. Encouraging
and promoting burn societies in countries where there are none is
reaching this target, a well-functioning chain of information,
beginning with the national representative, to the regional
representative, to the committee chairmen, to the secretary, and
finally to the president, is of utmost importance, thus maintaining
contact and coordination at every stage.
2005 I had the honor of being presented with the International
College of Surgeons Honorary Fellowship Award. The Prague Burn Center
is also an institution with a full and vibrant history, just
like the city itself. Established in 1953 By Prof. Francis
Burian, the Prague Burn Center was created in response to wartime
experiences. His dedication to the field led to his creation of
a specialized burn unit, providing total care to burn patients
as a separate field from plastic surgery. Forty-four years later
the physicians and staff of this extraordinary institution continue
to carry out their work with great care and dedication.
has indeed become an important city in my life. It was a privilege
to be invited by my colleagues and friends, Professor Miloš Hájek
and Honorary President of the Conference, Professor Radana Königová,
both of whom I hold in the highest esteem (Figure 3), to attend
the Jubilee Conference on the Occasion of the 55th
Anniversary of the Prague Burn Center, and it is a great honor
of the highest order to receive an Honorable Membership from the
Czech Medical Association (Figure 4). I shall carry this memory
and this valuable gift with me always, and I shall forever
remain a friend and a supporter of the fine people who
continue to carry out their important work here.
Haberal, M.D., FACS, FICS (Hon)
Cadde, No: 77
1. Pruitt Jr. B.A. ISBI Presidential Address: The development of the International Society for Burn Injuries and progress in burn care: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Burns, 25, 1999, p. 683–696.
2. Benaim F. Brief history of I.S.B.I. and its congresses. Burns, (33)1, 2005, p. S162–S168.
3. Haberal M. My Life in Burns. Ankara: Baskent University Publishers. 2008.