News from EACH - now international.

From Evelyn van Weel-Baumgarten, President of EACH: International Association of Communication in Healthcare (EACH) an Organization in Collaborative relations with WONCA.

I’m very pleased to be given the opportunity to tell you a bit more about developments in the International Association of Communication in Healthcare (EACH) as well as about our collaboration with WONCA.

EACH is now International

EACH, formerly a European Association, has now officially become International. This better represents where our members come from and makes it easier to connect and collaborate with professionals and organisations involved in improvement of healthcare communication all over the world. We hope that everybody considers EACH as the place where they turn to for support in all healthcare communication endeavours.

EACH is a small organization when compared to WONCA. However we are growing and now have members in 46 countries all over the world, as more and more healthcare professionals seem to have become aware of the evidence that effective healthcare communication is essential to high quality clinical practice. It is our aim to help in that field through networking and building bridges between people for whom this matters. We offer support and we help all health care professions with research, teaching and practice/policy issues. We realize and appreciate that WONCA is specifically dedicated to the needs of family doctors. Although general practice has been a leader of developments in communication, this should be a component of every healthcare interaction, whatever the discipline. Therefore we are trying to extend the lessons of research and teaching into all healthcare professions, and in all contexts, as well as continuing the established work in family medicine.

EACH aims

To list a few of the strategies we use to achieve our aims, EACH:
• organises major international conferences on health care communication research, and teaching. The next one will be in Porto, Portugal 2-5 September 2018
• provides multiple workshops, courses and meetings every year on specific research and teaching components of healthcare communication for teachers and researchers
• provides a dedicated website to raise awareness and share related resources on teaching and research with the wider community of healthcare practitioners, researchers, teachers and patients
• is affiliated with a scientific journal, Patient Education and Counselling, to disseminate results of research on health care communication
• carries out site visits to countries in Europe and beyond without established health care communication research and teaching programmes to establish networks, and train teachers and researchers
• promotes best practice in health care communication to other local and national organisations and has a subcommittee dedicated to practice and policy issues: pEACH
• collaborates with existing networks and associations, with similar purposes
and WONCA is one of them.

Working with WONCA

You may have read the results of the first project in which we worked together: The Moldova project. This was a 'train the trainers' project to train primary healthcare professionals in communication skills and mental health diagnosis and treatment for a healthcare reform in that country, in 2016. A team of tEACH, the teaching committee within EACH worked side by side with the WONCAWorking Party on Mental Health and the Mental Health Gap consultancy in developing and delivering this training program.

In Rio, preceding the WONCA World conference I represented EACH at teh WONCA world council and consolidated the relationship between the two organisations. We also started making plans for the future and have been continuing our discussions since.

I want to highlight two specific steps we are taking together: working with the WONCA Worling Party (WWP) on Mental Health and the WONCA Working Party on Education.

The new chair of the WWP on Mental Health, Chris Dowrick, and myself, as president of EACH, see many opportunities for working together in the recently formulated action plan, including work on defining core competencies for primary mental health care and identifying effective non drug interventions for common mental health problems.

The same counts for the WWP on education, and I look forward to working with the new chair Val Wass. A priority for this group is to develop and share education resources across primary care. As learning communication skills is a strong interest for members we aim to build a strong collaboration. We do see a lot of possibilities to bring in the topic of communication into training developed and given by WONCA.

Please visit our website at which will soon change as we are now International to look at what we can offer you and about membership of our association.