Michel Boiron 1925-2018

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It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Professor Michel Boiron last December 3. Boiron was the founding President (1992-1994) of the European Hematology Association (EHA).

Together with Michel Symann, Bob Löwenberg and John Goldman, Michel Boiron formed the ‘gang of four,’ as they playfully called themselves, who founded EHA. As a convinced Europeanist, he brought together a small group of friends and colleagues who shared with him the idea of Europe as a great community not only politically but also scientifically. He initiated the first meeting leading to the process of founding the association which took place on Saturday, February 27, 1988 in the Gardeners Pavilion of the Hôpital Saint-Louis, where he was then Director of the Research Institute for Leukemias and Blood Diseases. He hosted a lunch in Hôpital St Louis to which he had invited about 10-15 hematologists from different countries in Europe. He had the vision that Europe needed a dedicated society. Four years later, in June 1992, the first formal charter was established in a notary office in Brussels, Belgium.  

The reason for establishing a new association and its mission as envisioned by Michel Boiron were published in EHA’s first newsletter in December 1995:

“Europe consists of many separate parts that would benefit from a unifying agent. EHA aspires to be that agent, to act as a federating force for European hematology. EHA has a firm commitment to promoting excellence in all scientific endeavors while paying no attention to other obsolete considerations, such as, for example, the geographic location of the research teams or Congress venues.  In these EHA initiatives, some of you may note an attempt to reestablish, in Europe, the norms established by the American Society of Hematology in the United States. You are correct, if you are referring to our demand for excellence without concessions. As for our other achievements and further plans, we are convinced that Europe will be able to make an original contribution to the development of hematology.”

The first EHA meeting (EHA-1) took place in Brussels in 1994. EHA-2 took place in Boiron’s hometown of Paris in 1996.  

With thanks to the leadership of Michel Boiron and the enthusiasm he conveyed to all those working with him, EHA eventually became "The" EHA.

In 1993, after 13 years Michel Boiron retired from his work in the Hôpital Saint-Louis. After leading EHA and serving as a Congress President in 1996 in Paris, he stepped down and took some distance from the Association that was taken over by the next generation hematologist leaders, leading the organization into the 21st century.

Michel Boiron never sought personal recognition or visibility and put the association above all else, which is also part of his legacy. EHA will be indebted to Michel Boiron forever and is deeply touched by the passing of its founding father.


On behalf of the Board of the European Hematology Association,


Pieter Sonneveld
EHA President



Last Updated on Monday 17 December 2018.