Statement on Position

May 4, 2017

To: Members of World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM)
Re: WASM Executive Committee and Governing Council recommendation for the termination of World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM), as defined by this Statement of Position, with a members only, open comment period of May 1 – June 30, 2017.

WASM HISTORY

WASM’s association based in Kassel, Germany was founded in June 2003. Founding members were Drs. Markku Partinen, Richard Allen, Sudhansu Chokroverty, Claudia Trenkwalder and Wayne A. Hening (deceased 2008). WASM adheres to bylaws to operate as a German based non-profit entity.

The fundamental mission of the WASM is to advance sleep health worldwide. WASM fulfills this mission by promoting and encouraging education, research, and patient care throughout the world — particularly in those parts of the world where the practice of sleep medicine is less developed. WASM acts as a bridge between different sleep societies and cultures, supporting and encouraging worldwide exchange of clinical information and scientific studies related to sleep medicine. WASM seeks to encourage development and exchange of information for world-wide and regional standards of practice for sleep medicine.

WASM’s programs and activities include biennial World Congresses on Sleep Medicine, annual World Sleep Day activities, annual exams offered to individuals and societies, annual individual and associate society memberships, monthly issues of Sleep Medicine journal, guidelines for the treatments of sleep disorders, and ongoing endorsed sleep education meetings.

Since 2005, WASM held a total of six World Congresses on Sleep Medicine: Berlin, Germany (2005), Bangkok, Thailand (2007), Sao Paulo, Brazil (2009), Quebec City, Canada (2011), Valencia, Spain (2013) and Seoul, Korea (2015). World Sleep Day, an awareness activity, began in 2008 and has grown to 394 delegates in 72 countries around the globe. WASM’s exam was first administered in 2013. To date, 33 candidates have earned the prestigious International Sleep Specialist Certification. As of December 31, 2016, WASM has 346 individual members and 13 associate society members. All of the WASM individual members will be included in the new WSS and all the WASM society members will be included as society members in the new WSS.

WASM partnered with Elsevier Inc. to promote sleep medicine through the Sleep Medicine journal. Sleep Medicine is an indispensable resource to sleep medicine clinicians. The journal focuses on the human aspects of sleep, integrating the various disciplines that are involved in sleep medicine: neurology, clinical neurophysiology, internal medicine (particularly pulmonology and cardiology), psychology, psychiatry, sleep technology, pediatrics, neurosurgery, otorhinolaryngology, and dentistry. It has the highest citation rating of primary sleep-related journals dedicated solely to clinical sleep medicine. Sleep Medicine is the official journal of WASM. Through the leadership of Dr. Sudhansu Chokroverty, Editor and Chief of Sleep Medicine supported by the effort of WASM, the journal has markedly increased worldwide awareness and education of sleep.

From left to right: Wayne A. Hening, Richard Allen, Sudhansu Chokroverty, Claudia Trenkwalder, and Markku Partinen. WASM formation at German Embassy in Chicago, IL USA

WASM & WORLD SLEEP FEDERATION (WSF): THE MERGING OF ACTIVITIES
Much has taken place since the official press release on April 8, 2016 announcing the planned merger of WASM and WSF. During the transition, the following have been merged: activities, programs, members, personnel, accounts, bylaws, mission statements, goals/purposes, and offices.

Beginning in 2011, WASM and World Sleep Federation (WSF) leadership and staff discussed how a combined, world-wide organization would benefit both society’s members and the overall field of sleep medicine. An expert meeting was held by current and past presidents of both societies outlining a process to combine as well as meet the needs of both organizations’ members. The Bylaws Committee was formed to develop the organizational structure of the new combined sleep society. At the 2013 WASM membership meeting in Valencia, WASM membership approved the holding of a joint congress with WSF in 2017. A Transitional Advisory Committee was established, acting as the 2017 Program Committee.

2017 will mark the first joint congress of the two organizations under the blanket organization of the World Sleep Society. The World Sleep Society, employing all staff and accounts of the two organizations, is continuing to perform all programs and activities including, but not limited to: World Sleep biennial congress, World Sleep Day activities, Sleep Specialist Certification Exams, individual and associate society memberships, standards of practice guidelines and endorsed sleep education meetings. Currently, every component of WASM has been successfully transitioned into joint activity with the World Sleep Society.

WORLD SLEEP SOCIETY
In 2016, with the Bylaws Committee responsibilities complete, the new World Sleep Society was founded. The Society’s leadership of 14 members was appointed from both WASM and WSF. Starting in 2019, general council members will be elected from both individual and associate society membership. It is noted that as for WASM the officers of WSS will be elected by votes only from individual members. Thus, the primary operating process of WSS will be determined, as it was for WASM, by the members of the new World Sleep Society. There will also be a governing body composed of an equal number of members elected by individual member and by societies that belong to the new WSS. The executive committee will report to the governing body for operation of World Sleep Society.

The fundamental mission of the World Sleep Society is to advance sleep health worldwide. The World Sleep Society will fulfill this mission by promoting and encouraging education, research and patient care throughout the World, particularly in those parts of the world where the practice of sleep medicine is less developed. The World Sleep Society will act as a bridge between different sleep societies and cultures, supporting and encouraging worldwide exchange of clinical information and scientific studies related to sleep medicine. The World Sleep Society will seek to encourage development and exchange of information for worldwide and regional standards of practice for sleep medicine. This mission statement was formed using WASM’s fundamental mission as a guide.

The goal and purpose of the World Sleep Society is to advance knowledge about sleep, circadian rhythms, sleep health, and sleep disorders worldwide, especially in those parts of the world where this knowledge has not advanced sufficiently. This endeavor will promote clinical and scientific information for scientists, health care personnel, and the general public. The World Sleep Society will foster international exchanges among scientists, physicians, psychologists, nurses, physician assistants, technologists, and other medical and research personnel interested in the sleep field. In this manner, it is expected that sleep science and medicine can advance for all populations to improve the quality of life of individuals throughout the world. The World Sleep Society will promote world-wide sleep health by advancing public education, supporting public policies related to sleep health, and supporting sleep and circadian rhythms research.

RECOMMENDATION & MEMBER VOTE
WASM and WSF programs and services have successfully merged into World Sleep Society. Therefore, the WASM Executive Committee and Governing Council are recommending the termination of the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) due to redundancy with the new World Sleep Society. Similar provisions are currently underway with terminating World Sleep Federation (WSF) in the same time frame. WASM and WSF will converge emerging as the new World Sleep Society (WSS).

Members first voted in favor of planning a 2017 joint meeting with World Sleep Federation in 2013 at the Congress in Valencia, Spain. In 2015, members voted in favor of WASM merging activities and creating the World Sleep Society during the congress in Seoul, Korea.

In 2017, at the Congress in Prague, Czech Republic, all the members of WASM attending will be asked to place in an in-person vote of IN FAVOR or NOT IN FAVOR of the termination of WASM. Per the WASM Bylaws, an 80% member vote IN FAVOR of the termination of WASM is needed to pass. Also at the meeting, an election will be held for WASM Governing Council Members to serve in the event the members vote NOT IN FAVOR of the termination of WASM.

If the outcome of the member vote is IN FAVOR of the termination, WASM will wind down operations and cease to exist as of December 31, 2017, with WASM and WSF both converged into a new World Sleep Society organization.

COMMENT PERIOD
From May 1, 2017 until June 30, 2017, there will be an open comment period for members of WASM. We are seeking member input regarding the recommended termination of WASM and completing convergence with the WFS into World Sleep Society.  Comments will be accepted in writing only through mail or email.

WASM c/o World Sleep Society
3270 19th Street NW, Suite 109, Rochester, MN 55901
Email: info@worldsleepsociety.org

Summary Recommendation
The WASM Executive Committee feels combining WASM and WSF into the new WSS will advance the primary goals of WASM considerably better than can be done by WASM or WSF alone.  We feel this provides a strong platform for moving forward to advance sleep medicine and research worldwide. We, as the WASM Executive Committee, unanimously recommend approval of this merger with WSF to form the new WSS. We encourage you to attend the member meeting in Prague to cast this historic vote needed to establish the new WSS.

We look forward to hearing your comments.

Sincerely,

Luigi Ferini-Strambi
President
WASM