Greetings
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Dear respected members of the Korean Stroke Society,

Founded in 1998, the Korean Stroke Society (KSS) now celebrates its 20th anniversary. Though its history has not been long, dedicated efforts of KSS members have led KSS to accomplish remarkable achievements and it is now ranked as a world leading academic society with its distinguished contributions including academic papers. In addition, KSS has hosted various domestic and international academic conferences including the World Stroke Congress, the International Conference of Stroke Update, Korea-Japan Society Conference, and Korea-Australia Stroke Conference. Its official publication, Journal of Stroke, has now gained a global recognition as a world top-class journal with an impact factor of 5.576 in 2017. All these achievements have not been possible without dedicated support and passion of KSS members.

When it comes to treatment capabilities, KSS has played a leading role in upgrading the quality of stroke care by having presenting evidence-based stroke treatment guidelines early on and implementing a certification program for stroke unit. As result, Korea has become a world leader with the lowest early mortality rate after stroke among OECD member states. As is supported by various statistics on quality assessment of stroke released by the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service (HIRA) of Korea, Korea is one of the top countries in the world in terms of stroke care. To help promote public awareness of stroke, KSS has continuously hosted the annual “World Stroke Day” event and pursued educational activities on stroke via various media.

Based on these accumulated competences, KSS has been striving to establish a nationwide “Stroke Safety Net” whose goal is to provide immediate and optimal treatment for any stroke patients regardless of their locations. For this purpose, KSS is implementing a stroke center certification project.

Despite all these achievements in academic performance and stroke care, the road ahead of KSS does not seem to be smooth. First of all, the number of board-certified strokeologist is expected to be insufficient to cover the ever increasing demand for acute stroke treatment. Every minute, doctors in the field are struggling to provide timely treatment for acute stroke patients while adopting up-to-date stroke treatments. However, the government authority has repeatedly asked for upgraded results in various examination indices without properly compensating for such efforts of doctors. The government has maintained its policy of reducing the number of new board-certified physicians. As consequence, there arise concerns that the number of young doctors who apply to become strokeologist would drop sharply because of their heavy duties and immense workload. Unless these problems are immediately corrected, there will be a serious lack of doctors who can take care of stroke patients and countless stroke patients will suffer greatly, making it difficult for KSS to achieve its mission of establishing a nationwide “Stroke Safety Net”.

Feeling a sense of crisis, KSS is trying hard to establish a sustainable stroke treatment environment by recognizing it as another urgent mission. Recently, multiple policies and acts have been developed and are under review to be implemented including the Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Management Act and the Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Master Plan. We will do our best to make sure an optimal treatment environment is sustainably provided for stroke patients through an active involvement in the policy planning stage. In order for our efforts to bear fruits, I look forward to KSS members’ continuous support and participation.

Thank you.

May, 2018

Joung-Ho Rha
President
Korean Stroke Society