Our History

During the 1990’s, the idea of a South African menopause special interest group had been discussed by various individuals, but nothing was formally tabled. The first step in the conception of SAMS was taken in March 1998 at the time of an osteoporosis CME meeting at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West. Several menopausal enthusiasts were delegates at this meeting.

The initiative was taken by Emeritus Professor Ernst Sonnendecker who chaired a meeting exploring the possibility of forming a South African Menopause Society. This historic meeting was attended by Ronnie Nelson, Pierre Davis, Frans Grobler, Tobie de Villiers, Mike Davey and Paul Dalmeyer. These individuals formed the steering committee of SAMS under the chairmanship of Professor Sonnendecker.

The first meeting of the steering committee was held in April 1998 in Johannesburg at which time Uta Irsigler was co-opted to the steering committee.

A second meeting followed on the 15 August 1998 in Johannesburg. These early meetings were centred on writing a constitution for the proposed new society and developing a roadmap for the inception.

SAMS held its first Congress at Sun City 18-20 February 2000 at which time the constitution of SAMS was formally approved and the members elected Emeritus Professor Ernst Sonnendecker as its founding President, Tobie de Villiers as the vice-President and Ronnie Nelson as the treasurer/secretary. The entire steering committee was formally elected as board members

Subsequent executive committees were:


President: Tobie De Villiers. Vice President: Mike Davey. Secretary: Paul Dalmeyer. Treasurer: Tobie de Villiers

2013 – 2014:

President: Franco Guidozzi. President-elect: Peter Roos. Secretary: Carol Thomas. Treasurer: Paul Dalmeyer


President: Mike Davey. President-elect: Paul Dalmeyer. Secretary: Theo. Kopenhager. Treasurer: Tobie de Villiers

2014 – 2016:

President: Peter roos. President-elect: Carol Thomas. Secretary: Jhannes van Waart. Treasurer: Alan Alperstein


President Paul Dalmeyer. President-elect: Alan Alperstein. Secretary: Carol Thomas. Treasurer: Tobie de Villiers

2016 – 2018:

President: Carol Thomas.
President-elect: Trudy Smith.
Secretary: Johannes Van Waart.
Treasurer: Malikah Van Der Schyff.
Trudy Smith took over the presidency from Carol Thomas at the end of 2018 due to Carols ill health.


President: Alan Alperstein. President-elect: Franco Guidozzi. Secretary: Carol Thomas. Treasurer: Paul Dalmeyer

2018 – 2021:

President: Trudy Smith. President-elect: Percy Moodley. Secretary: Johannes Van Waart. Treasurer: Malikah Van Der Schyff


In 1999, prior to the first formal congress, a SAMS osteoporosis update meeting was held in Durban. This was organised by Ronnie Nelson and Mike Davey. 
In 2000, the first SAMS congress was organised by Pierre Davis in Sun City. This was a great success and put SAMS on a firm footing. 
The second congress in Stellenbosch was organised by Tobie de Villiers in 2001. At this meeting, the board of SAMS was honoured to be addressed and guided by Wulf Utian.
The third congress in Durban was organised by Mike Davey attracted a record number of attendees including a significant amount of general practitioners. 
The fourth congress was organised by Paul Dalmeyer in Port Elizabeth. This was the first congress after the first results of the WHI study were published and will be remembered for the heated discussions between Jacques Rossouw and Wulf Utian. 
In 2006 we returned to Sun City where Pierre Davis again repeated his previous performance. 
In 2008, Alan Alperstein took the congress to new heights in the new International Congress Centre in Cape Town.
In 2010 Franco Guidozzi and Theo Kopenhager fielded a star international faculty in Johannesburg. The 2011 congress in Durban was organised by Percy Moodley and will

be remembered for the excellent statistical analysis of the WHI data by Samuel Shapiro.

The 2013 congress was held at Spier Estate, Stellenbosch and was organised by Johannes Van Waart. An impressive faculty of international speakers included Pauline Maki and Rob Baber. 

The 2015 congress was held at the Sandton Convention Centre, organised by Oscar Shimange and his Pretoria team.

The 2018 Durban congress was held at Gateway Hotel organised by Percy Moodley and Mike Davey. This was the first congress which encouraged the trade to reduce costs by not constructing elaborate stands but rather channel those funds into other forms of educational initiatives.


One of the accomplishments of the early years of SAMS was the publication of a position statement on menopausal hormone therapy in 2003 and published in 2004. This was updated in 2006 and another revision is expected at the end of 2019. These statements helped to guide our members through the turbulent post WHI years.


Another accomplishment is the fact that since starting with no money in 1998, SAMS subsequently managed to build up a healthy bank balance. This has allowed SAMS to be supportive of selected menopause related research projects and the financing of other educational projects.

In 2003, SAMS entered the international arena by becoming a member of the Council of Affiliated Menopause Societies of the International Menopause Society (IMS). In addition, Tobie de Villiers was elected to the Board of the IMS and later served as treasurer and in 2011 became the President of IMS. 

SAMS publications started as a supplement to the established journal, Menopause Update. This was later replaced by a dedicated publication called SAMS News. In April 2008 Menopause Update joined the SAMS umbrella and incorporated SAMS News with Sid Hirschowitz as the editor. The journal continued until 2013 when it became Menopause Focus under the editorship of Franco Guidozzi. Menopause Focus is now a digital publication under the editorship  of Percy Moodley.

A website was created in 2002. 

In 2008 a formal CME programme was initiated. Since then, yearly CME meetings has been presented in several provinces. This not only proves very popular amongst our members, but also improves the visibility of SAMS. Recently SASOG have invited SAMS to use their CPD meetings as a platform for menopause talks.

Several patient pamphlets regarding menopause related matters have been developed and distributed. 

In 2009 Athol Kent was commissioned to produce Menopause Matters. This is an electronic service to members containing comments on new related publications. This is still hugely popular and ongoing on a monthly basis.

The formal structure of SAMS received a large boost in 2010. Prior to this all work was done by the elected council at own time and cost, but as SAMS grew, this became unsustainable. The secretarial duties of SAMS were contracted to the company Royal House in Durban, who has also acted as professional congress organisers of various SAMS congresses. Under the able hands of Alison Shaw, this has been of great help in providing a stable platform from which SAMS can operate. 

So this is the story of SAMS, a highly successful society that started afresh in 1998 and now has a stable membership.

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