Académie royale de Médecine de Belgique

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Presentation (in English)

1. Key Dates

The Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium is a public institution created under the reign of Leopold I, through a royal order on 19 September 1841, on the proposal of Baron J.-B. Nothomb, then Minister of Home Affairs.
The Academy initially depended from the Minister of Home Affairs. In 1936,  it became one of the advising organs of the Minister of Public Health.
It has been administratively attached to the Departments of the Government of the French Community of Belgium in 1989-1990.
The civil personality was granted to the Academy through an act of 2 August 1924, whereas the management of its heritage was ruled by a royal order of 12 May 1925.
It is placed under the High Protection of the King.
The statutes of the institution, as well as its internal regulations, in their current version, were approved by an order of the Government of the French Community on 19 December 2013 (Moniteur Belge of 12 March 2014).

2. Remits

The Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium is a work centre, a centre of reflection, of exchanges of ideas, and an advisory organ for governmental institutions.
The competence of the Academy encompasses all fields of human and animal medicine, pharmacy and related fields.
The Academy also gives advice to the Community, and to regional and federal authorities, at their request or on its own initiative, in the fields of public health, scientific research, education and vocational training. The same services can be provided to other public or private institutions, as well as competent associations or individuals. To this end, it writes reports which can be published.
The Academy supports scientific activity in the field of medicine. At its monthly sessions, it offers a forum for conferences, scientific debates and exchanges, , and grants Awards to searchers in praise of their primed works.
The Academy has international contacts,  via its publishing activities and its participation in international scientific initiatives.


Important remark : The Académie royale de Médecine de Belgique is not responsible for teaching the different branches of medicine. People wishing to obtain information about medical studies in Belgium must contact the different universities of the country, a list of which can be found under the heading "Liens".
 

3. Composition and working

The Academy is divided into six sections covering the various fields of human and animal medicine (in the wide sense).
There are six member categories:

  • Permanent members (n about 70);
  • Associate members;
  • Honorary members;
  • Foreign members
  • Honorary foreign members.

 

The Academy is under the authority of a “Board” constituted of a Chairman, a permanent secretary (in charge of the administration of the Academy), two deputy chairmen and three assistants. The Chairman and the two deputy chairmen are elected for a period of one year, among and by the permanent members and the honorary membres who have asked to keep their voting privileges. The permanent secretary is appointed by the government of the French Community of Belgium, on the proposal of permanent members. His mandate covers a once renewable period of five years and rightfully ends the day of his 75th birthday.

4. Activities

The customary activities of the Academy are the organisation of monthly plenary sessions -  solemn sessions for academic honours awards for laureates of academic prizes -  and symposia or other work sessions.

The activities of multiple advisory commissions. The recent activities of those various commissions are :

  • Platform projects (eHealth and BeHealth);
  • The “Numerus Clausus”;
  • “Oncologic care”;
  • Sleep medicine;
  • End-of-Life problems;
  • Overweight;
  • DHEA consumption;
  • Cancer screening through mammography in Belgium;
  • Exercising the profession of obstetrician;
  • Creation of a doctoral school for medical sciences;
  • Creation and working of “birth houses” and/or “birth giving houses”;
  • Protection against the danger of ionizing radiation;
  • Problems of “non-conventional practices”, i.e. homeopathy, chiropractics, …;
  • Sessions of the commission entrusted with the approval of academic diplomas, as well within the Academy, as of the Federal Ministry of Public Health;
  • The commission entrusted with the temporary exercise of “the Healing Art” in Belgium, for foreign doctors who are eager to  specialize in the  French-speaking universities and hospitals of our country.

 

The statutes and the organic regulations which the Academy approved in 2008 have introduced reforms. Among others, the widening of the field of new members and of the spectrum of competences within the Academy. It chooses its members through elections after a process of selection organised and coordinated by a “selection commission” constituted of sixteen members, i.e. the Board,the chairmen of the six divisions, and the outgoing presidents and permanent secretary. Each open post within the institution will forthwith be attributed upon public call for candidatures and publication of the selection criteria. Contacts with universities and research institutes will be fostered, and a “Selection commission” will identify the fields for which a specific competence is required. Furthermore, to enhance the sense of responsibility of the members of the Academy, a written commitment to actively participate in  activities of the Academy is  required.

The publication (since 1841) of the Bulletin et Mémoires de l'Académie royale de Médecine de Belgique essentially containing the acts and the minutes of sessions. Eminent personalities from the medical scientific world, chosen by the Administration Board, frequently occupy the forum of the institution, during public sessions. Young searchers or external personalities are also invited to report on their activities.  
The Academy contributes to foster progress in the various disciplines of the Healing Art, namely through the awarding prizes to searchers, the works of which have been honoured. These prizes being granted by official authorities, or private sponsors.  
The Academy awards fellowships to  clinicians-researchers and supports applied scientific research, in cooperation with the “Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique”.
The mission of advising the government implies cooperation with the Faculties of Medicine and Pharmacy as well as with the Faculties of Veterinary Medicine. Furthermore, it often happens that medicals societies communicate their concerns about problems related to the practice of the various disciplines of the healing art and of paramedical professions.  
In the framework of those activities, new information and communication technologies are intensively used.

5. Seat of the Academy

The Académie royale de Médecine de Belgique has its seat at the Palais des Académies (Palace of the Academies), which is very close to the royal palace, and was built between 1823 and 1826 by King William of the Netherlands, as a residence intended for his son.

In total, five learned Institutions – each having their own totally distinct organization and activities – are based at the "Palais des Académies". These are, in order of age: