Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death and one of the leading causes of disability in Europe. Effectively addressing the disease burden would be a huge relief to individuals, communities and health systems. But Europe’s CVD problem has proven stubborn and intractable over recent years, with advances in mortality reduction starting to plateau. What can we do differently in a post-pandemic yet still unstable world, in which health is highly valued, health systems are being re-evaluated, and the importance of concerted, European action is clear? How can we future-proof prevention of CVD, and how can actions now build health system resilience in the future?
The picture of CVD in Europe reflects the wider challenges that we face in health systems and societies. The issue is closely connected to the need to reorient health systems towards health promotion and disease prevention, our interactions with health systems and our communities, the changing needs of an ageing population, and advances in data sharing and collaboration for health. The uneven burden of disease across different population groups also reflects wider regional and social inequalities in Europe, which harm both communities and economies.
Launched in September 2021, the European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health (EACH) brings together 17 leading European and international organisations around joint activities to promote cardiovascular health as a policy priority at EU level. EACH is a unique collaboration representing patients and citizens communities, medical professionals, researchers, health technology providers, the pharmaceutical industry and health insurance associations.
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- The ticking time bomb: cardiovascular diseases
- Health is the new Europe
- Reducing the burden of chronic diseases to ensure the resilience of European healthcare systems
- How do health systems meet the challenge of managing chronic diseases during COVID-19 and beyond?
- Re-imagining healthcare systems in COVID times
Questions addressed will include:
- The pandemic changed our interactions with health systems. Screening appointment and non-critical care needs have been missed, while our exposure to CVD risk factors have increased. How can we achieve efficient prevention in this new context?
- What form could concerted, coordinated, EU-wide action on CVD take?
- As Europe’s population changes and ages, a growing number of people will live with a chronic disease. What does recovery and living well look like for CVD disease sufferers?
- CVDs are experienced unequally: citizens in Southern and Eastern Europe are more vulnerable than others, and the social gradient is visible in disease prevalence and impact. How can we address these inequalities in access to care and treatment?
President of the European Society of Cardiology
Member of the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) and Co-Chair of the MEP Heart Group
Dr Héctor Bueno
Clinical cardiologist and researcher at Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre
Project Manager of YOUNG50 #Stay Healthy - Cardiovascular Risk Prevention
European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety
Member of the European Parliament and former Lithuanian health minister
Dr Stephan Achenbach is a professor, whose main clinical interests are interventional cardiology, general cardiology, as well as cardiac imaging. His research is focused on cardiac interventions and cardiac imaging with a special focus on computed tomography of the heart and the use of imaging to support coronary and structural interventional procedures. In addition to his roles at the University of Erlangen in Germany, Achenbach currently serves as the President of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). He is the Founding President of the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography and former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography.
Brando Benifei is a Member of the European Parliament and Head of the Italian S&D MEP Delegation. Benifei is also the Co-Chair of the MEP Heart Group, where he works to raise cardiovascular diseases as a priority on the EU political agenda. A member of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), he is rapporteur for the Single Market Programme and shadow rapporteur for the European Social Fund Plus. Benifei received the MEP Award for his work on employment, social affairs, and youth unemployment. Forbes included him in their 30 Under 30 Europe Policy Class of 2016.
Dr Héctor Bueno is a clinical cardiologist and researcher at the critical care unit (CCU) of the Cardiology Department at Madrid’s Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre. He conducts research at the National Centre for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) and the imas12 Research Institute, where he leads the twin Multidisciplinary Translational Cardiovascular Research Groups and coordinates the hospital’s cardiovascular research area. Focusing on both individual and cooperative clinical and translational research, Bueno has co-authored over 400 publications. His interests include quality of care, geriatric cardiology, gender issues, CV epidemiology, integration of innovation and technology applied to CV health, among others. Additionally, Bueno is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, the Vice-President of the Spanish Society of Cardiology and the Scientific Coordinator of the Spanish Ministry of Health’s National Strategy on Cardiovascular Health.
Joanne Fleming maintains over 20 years’ experience in European health research studies. She currently manages the YOUNG50 #Stay Healthy – Cardiovascular Risk Prevention project, funded by the third EU Health Programme, which aims to adapt and export the CARDIO50 screening model to participating EU member states, while also addressing the behavioural and medical risk factors of cardiovascular diseases.
Stella Kyriakides leads the Commission’s work to coordinate the EU’s health response to COVID-19. She is responsible for the establishment of a strong European Health Union and Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. She is leading the new ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy for sustainable food. Her responsibilities include enforcing EU food, animal welfare, and animal and plant health laws. Previously, Kyriakides was a clinical psychologist for the Cypriot Ministry of Health. She served in the Cypriot parliament for the Democratic Rally party, of which she was the vice-president. She is also the former head of the Cyprus Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and former president of the PACE.
Juozas Olekas is a Member of the European Parliament and was recently nominated to the European Parliament’s Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic. He is the former Lithuanian minister of defence and minister of health, has served as a member of the Lithuanian parliament, and actively participated in the processes of restoring Lithuania’s independence. Prior to entering politics, Olekas led a distinguished career in the medical field for nearly two decades. A doctor by training, he was notably an associate professor at the Vilnius University Faculty of Medicine and the chief doctor of VU Žalgiris Hospital.
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