Cultivating collective wisdom

Earlier this year, Singapore hosted the 25th World Congress of Dermatology 2023 (WCD 2023), the first time the conference was held in the tropics

Event brief
The World Congress of Dermatology (WCD) has been the leading international dermatological conference for over 130 years. Since its inception in 1889, WCD has traversed the globe across 19 cities.

Roy Chan, president of the Singapore National Organising Committee, said the Singapore edition was the first WCD to be held in the tropics focused on migrant and refugee skin health, neglected tropical skin diseases and diseases in skin of colour.

The theme for the 25th WCD 2023 was Dermatology Beyond Borders. Congress sessions highlighted the importance of skin diseases in relation to human suffering and climate change, global skin health, and dermatological care in underserved nations and the global south.

He added: “The aim was to expand the horizons of dermatology, to increase patient and community engagement, to transcend borders, physical and societal, to be an inclusive conference that celebrates diversity.”

This congress was tasked to deliver a comprehensive and diverse scientific programme comprising 208 symposiums, 15 keynote talks, 24 courses and 19 expert forums, among others.

Event highlights
WCD 2023 showcased significant dermatological advances and state-of-the-art medical and scientific knowledge relating to the art and science of dermatology.

Compared to the last congress, which was held in Milan in 2019, this year’s WCD International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS) region representation featured a bigger number and greater proportion of chairs and speakers – 467 people, up from 265 in 2019 – from Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America.

With the aim of thanking and leaving a legacy to the host city, WCD 2023 also demonstrated tangible sustainability measures during the congress.

Chan elaborated: “We created the ’25 nudges’, a list of handy sustainability tips for delegates and exhibitors to adopt to ‘Go Green’ during their stay in Singapore.

“We encouraged exhibitors to join the WCD Green Challenge, and congress participants voted for exhibitors that demonstrated outstanding waste and pollution reduction measures during product packaging and shared these practices in manufacturing and disposal. The winners were announced at the closing session of the congress.”

Other sustainable initiatives included the daily conference newspaper being published on the WCD app this year, participants were advised to bring and refill their own bottles at the many water points, and working with local NGO Divert for 2nd Life to manage the leftover food from the congress’s official events.

Global events – such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, geopolitical tension, the economic downturn and high inflation rates – made planning the WCD a complicated affair, Chan shared, as attendance was impacted.

He continued: “As a workaround to all these challenges, we had to increase the number of scholarships awarded to assist deserving trainees, dermatologists and others from around the world to attend the congress.

“We also reduced registration fees for attendees from lower- and lower-middle income countries to open the congress to a broader audience.”

Chan also increased the conference’s promotional activities in person at overseas conferences, such as the National Academic Conference on Integrated Medicine of Dermatovenereal Diseases in Kunming, in April; and the International Societies for Investigative Dermatology meeting in Tokyo, in May.

Event 25th World Congress of Dermatology (WCD 2023)​
Organiser Dermatological Society of Singapore under the auspices of the International League of Dermatological Societies
Venue Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre
Dates July 3-8, 2023
Attendees 12,037 (on-site)

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