The idea of a regional society comprising the Asia Pacific region evolved from Asia Pacific Youth Diabetes meetings in Beijing (1992) and Chang Mai (1994). The idea was raised by a number of key senior endocrinologists including:
- Chanika Tuchinda (Thailand)
- Chris Cowell (Australia)
- Jose Batubara (Indonesia)
- Kaichi Kida (Japan)
- Kitti Angsusingha (Thailand)
- Louis Low (Hong Kong)
- Martin Silink (Australia)
- Meena Desai (India)
- Palany Raghupathy (India)
- PSN Menon (India)
- Supawadee Likitmaskul (Thailand)
- Warren Lee (Singapore)
- Wayne Cutfield (New Zealand) and
- Wu Loo Ling (Malaysia)
Graciously, Prof Kaichi Kida used his biennial Asia Pacific Youth Diabetes meetings to evolve into what would become the biennial APPES scientific meeting.
Following general agreement that a regional society was needed to support and progress paediatric endocrinology and diabetes, a further discussion as held in Sydney at Manly Pacific Hotel, February 1996 to celebrate opening of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. The same endocrinologists all advocated for the formation of a regional society, and it was delegated to Chris Cowell and Louis Low to work with the senior leaders across the region to develop a proposed structure and governance.
Subsequently APPES was incorporated using the New South Wales small business/not for profit mode in 1998 and the first scientific meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1999. Prof Khalid, president of the Malaysian Endocrine Society and Prof Wu Loo Ling were the local convenors. At the meeting Chris Cowell was acknowledged as the “Governor” for his work in establishing the society. Invited speakers at this first meeting included John Parks and Francis Glorieux who were wonderful guests, sharing knowledge and good humour. The meeting had many highlights, excellent talks and memorable moments. Among these, one frequently cited was the cultural evening where many attendees sang national songs (generally very well). The exception being the New Zealanders who performed a Haka (a Māori war dance), bare chested. This left an indelible impression on many who attended!
At the first annual general meeting held during this conference in 1999, a council was elected that included representation from many Asia Pacific countries including Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. The first office bearers were Louis Low as president, Chris Cowell as Secretary and Geoff Ambler as Treasurer.
The scientific organising committee for this first meeting involved a number of endocrinologists who later became closely involved in APPES and included Louis Low, Kaichi Kida, Geoff Ambler, Meena Desai, and Wayne Cutfield. Wayne Cutfield was the convenor of the scientific organising committee and continued in this role for the first 3 meetings.
The first Fellows meeting was held just prior to the main scientific meeting in the Genting Highlands, Malaysia and was rated a huge success, both among the many fellows who attended and the faculty. Subsequent fellow schools have been held annually and are recognised internationally for the quality of the trainees and the program. Maria Craig, a fellow at the time of the first meeting, was involved closely in the first Fellows school and then continued as the convenor for nearly 20 years. Her enthusiasm and endurance was a major reason for its success. Maria has been continuously involved with APPES for more than 25 years and became president in 2022.
APPES has succeeded because of the commitment to a regional approach by local societies in almost every country in the Asia Pacific region. This is particularly true in the early years with strong support from China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and Australasia. Since its formation many more countries have supported and become involved in APPES. These have continued to grow and include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Mongolia and Sri Lanka.