At 30 December 1981 Dr. Jacques Evrard, orthopaedic surgeon in Hôpital Cochin in Paris wrote a letter to several orthopaedic surgeons in Europe. It was a short letter with the text in French as well in English:
It has been my belief for the past several years, especially after the SICOT congress, that orthopaedic surgeons interested in osteo-articular infection should be associated. We would thus be able to exchange our ideas more easily, group communications on this subject and discuss them among ourselves.
A more ambitious program could even be envisioned: perform teamwork studies, meet once or twice a year, keep an updated bibliography and even think about a periodical publication.
If this idea interests you, I would appreciate your informing me and, at the same time, sending me the names of your colleagues who would be interested in joining us.
Thanking you in advance, I remain.
Sincerely, Dr. Evrard
During the congress of the SICOT in Japan he had discussed the start of such a group with some orthopaedic surgeons, e.g. Lars Lindberg from Sweden.
I answered him that I was interested indeed, and at 14-02-1982 he wrote me that “a certain number of colleagues have already consented, signifying that we may begin organizing the group”. A preparatory meeting was organized in Lyon at May 19, 1982. Seven could attend: Evrard, G.Jenny, Livio, Martini, Steen Jensen, Vidal and Walenkamp. Twelve others had also given a positive reaction: Fernandez Sabate, Kemp, Klemm, Lannelongue, Letournel, Lidgren, Lindberg, Lortat-Jacob, Mounier-Kuhn, Valette, and Vasey. In Lyon, the organisation of a Studygroup was discussed. Membership should be acquainted in two phases via an associated membership, after presentation of scientific work on the field of orthopedic infections. It was decided that also a limited number of non-surgeons could be a member, as well as non-Europeans. It should be a more or less informal group, later a more official character could be given. The official language should be French and English, and meetings should be held on different places in Europe. Publication of an own journal was postponed to later years.
The foundation meeting of the Studygroup was planned in Paris: at Friday 12 November 1982, at the Palais de Congres, after the SOFCOT meeting. Evrard send an invitation in English and French for this meeting. In Paris altogether 26 members founded the “Studygroup on Bone and Joint Infection” or “Groupe d’Etude de l’Infection Osseuse articulaire”. The founding members were the 19 orthopaedic surgeons as mentioned above, as well as the following seven: Acar, Bascoulergue, Boda, Hedström, Lob, Marotte, and Papineau. Members of the first Board were: Evrard (President), Lindberg (Vice President), Letournel (Secretary), Vasey (Treasurer), Martini (Archivist), and Vecsei (member). During the scientific part of the following meeting seven papers were presented.
Since then the number members of this Studygroup gradually increased. New members passed a short period of candidature to prove their commitment via presentation of a paper and their presence at the annual meetings. Members had to be doctors, with a high reputation in treatment and research of infections of the Musculoskeletal system. Most of them were orthopaedic surgeon or trauma surgeon, and a few were bacteriologist. The number was limited to a maximum of sixty and the members should be at least 70% surgeons. The official languages were French, German and English.
The Studygroup indeed created the platform for those who were actively involved in Europe in orthopaedic infections. However the limitations of the Studygroup as defined in their bylaws became gradually more an obstacle, than the guarantee for high quality. The system of co-optation and the good relationship between the relative small and constant number of members did not invite enough new colleagues. Also the inspiration and introduction of new ideas gradually decreased. Therefore the structure of the Studygroup was exchanged to that of an open Society.
At 20 April 1993 the Studygroup was transformed to the “European Bone & Joint Infection Society”. In this Society the number of members is not any more limited, nor the profession.
Membership is open for all physicians, interested to Musculoskeletal infections from a scientific or clinical point of view. There is no period of candidature any more. When retired members become emeritus-members. Dr. Guy Jenny became honorary member in 1997, due to his work during 14 years in the Board. Since then the number of members increased in a few years and stabilised since 1996 around 110 members. Members come from all European countries, and some of other continents: US, Taiwan, Turkey.