The origins of the SSIEM may be traced to an informal meeting held in England at the Manchester Royal Infirmary in 1962 when an enthusiastic group of biochemists and paediatricians met to discuss phenylketonuria. In May of the following year, the same group held a symposium in Sheffield which was entitled "Neurometabolic disorders in childhood". The Society was constituted formally in October 1963. The first symposium organised by the newly formed SSIEM was held in Liverpool in 1964 on the subject of "Biochemical approaches to mental handicap in children".
The history of the SSIEM is one of steady development. In 1967 the first corresponding members were appointed to provide communications with the wider membership. The first symposium to be held overseas was in Zurich in 1968. Membership of the Society in 2022 stands at 1,383 and is truly international with members from more than 78 countries.
SSIEM's Mission statement
The aim of the Society is to foster the study of inherited metabolic disorders and related topics. The Society exists to promote exchange of ideas between professional workers in different disciplines who are interested in inborn errors of metabolism (IEM). This is achieved through the organisation of the annual symposium and associated scientific meetings, publications and provision of funding for educational and training support. The SSIEM Council (Council) is also supplemented by an Advisory Council who provide advice and meet with the Council at the annual symposium.
The Society, a registered charity and limited company, accepts donations from sponsors sympathetic to its aims. The Council, within its financial resources, is willing to spread interest and study in inborn errors around the world by selectively supporting membership and attendance at conferences from areas of the world where financial resources are more limited. The Society does not directly fund research, but offers on request, advice to other organisations that do so. Education and training in IEM is also an important aim of the SSIEM.
Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease (JIMD) & JIMD Reports
Perhaps the most tangible achievement of the SSIEM has been its publications. Every one of its symposia has been published and this has provided invaluable reviews on specific topics in the field of IEM. In 1978 the Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease (JIMD) was launched.
The Journal publishes original work covering all aspects of inherited metabolic disorders in humans and higher animals: clinical, biochemical, genetic, experimental, epidemiological and ethical.
The Society publishes six to eight issues of the Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease each year (JIMD). This publication is available online free of charge to members. One issue each year is devoted to publishing selected papers from the annual scientific meeting and symposium. In 2011 the Society launched an online journal JIMD Reports which publishes research findings or clinical observations, whether submitted directly or by referral from JIMD. Since 2019, JIMD Reports has become a fully open access journal where lead authors can publish free of charge if they are SSIEM members. In 2019 Wiley became the publisher for the JIMD & JIMD Reports.
The SSIEM Annual Symposium is held in Europe usually 3 out of every 4 years, traditionally during the first week of September.
Every 4th year the Annual Symposium is held under the auspices of a different continental society as the International Congress of Inborn Errors of Metabolism (ICIEM), thus the SSIEM doesn't hold its regular symposium every 4th year, except when it is the SSIEM’s turn to hold the ICIEM.