It was in 1954 that a few of the pioneers of European allergology, including Hansen, Quarles Van Ufford, Sangiorgi and Duchaine, decided to create the International Association of Asthmology (INTERASMA) after discussing the problems that asthma was raising in Europe involving physicians in the field of internal medicine, pediatrics, allergology and respiratory medicine. Prof. Sangiorgi, in particular, devoted himself with considerable energy to this project. The major goal was to educate specialists and non specialists in asthma. The Association was registered in Milan in 1954, and a year later, on May 25, 1955, the first official founding meeting took place in Utrecht, organized by Q. van Ufford. Later, at the first Congress (held in Lubeck) and at subsequent meetings, the following members were admitted as founding members: B. Sanchez-Cuenca (Spain), Varela Fuertes (Uruguay), Spoujitch (Yugoslavia), Holler (Austria), Vera Walker (United Kingdom), Capuani (Italy), Gronemeyer (Germany), and Damas Mora (Portugal).
By the late 1950s, the increase of asthma in health statistics was already beginning to call the attention of the international medical community. It was a question of uniting diagnostic criteria and therapies in a way that would lead to effective means of treating and managing asthma, and of unifying methods of study and research so that the complex etiopathogenesis of this illness could be better understood. At no stage did the INTERASMA try to reduce the importance of any other society. The initially small group of members gradually grew, the INTERASMA being joined by many active members from all over the world consequently becoming a global organization.
During the next years the Constitution & By-Laws were updated and INTERASMA’s chapters began to be active. Two Chapters were established for Europe, three for Africa, two for Asia, three for America and one for Australia. Annual Regional Meetings appeared in order to increase interest in INTERASMA in the various regions. Surprisingly, these meetings were extremely successful in terms of the participation of pediatricians, internists, chest physicians, and allergologists. These meetings have continued taking place subsequently, and the number of participants has increased steadily from one to the next.
During the modern times after the 80’s, the organization lived a renewed strength under the leadership of the former secretary general for 3 periods and president later on, Albert K. Oehling. The WCA became bi-annual and bigger with the highest scientific quality programs on asthma. An indexed journal, edited in Pamplona, Spain became the official journal (currently the Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology). In a meeting lead by A. Oehling, A de Weck and C Melillo in 2000, the mission of INTERASMA was defined in terms of disseminating asthma education not only among specialists but also among non-asthma specialists and allied-health professionals. The WCA is the major scientific activity organized by INTERASMA and has been held with great success all around the world (New Orleans, Barcelona, Maebashi, Jerusalem, Montpellier, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, Saint Petersburg, Guadalajara, Monte Carlo, Athens, Quebec City, Mexico City).
On behalf of the INTERASMA Board of Directors, we are pleased to invite you to attend the next World Congress of Asthma which will be held in Madrid renowned for its beauty and culture giving the world’s experts the opportunity to meet in a perfect environment.