Q&A: David Somekh, Network Director EHFF and member of the CEMPaC Board

EPF has recently begun working on the CEMPaC project which promotes patient empowerment by offering information and training for both citizens and health professionals. We recently sat down with David Somekh, member of the CEMPaC board to give more information about the project and how EPF members can get involved.

What is CEMPAC and what is your mandate?

CEMPaC, the (European) Centre for Empowering Patients and Communities is a project managed by the European Health Futures Forum (www.ehff.eu) which is itself a partner of EPF. EHFF seeks to promote transformational change in European healthcare, which includes support for patient empowerment, the move from hospitals to community based services, the support of education and prevention rather than excessive investment in treatment services, just to give some examples. However, patient empowerment is a high priority for us, which is why we have set up CEMPaC, which aims to become, in due course, an autonomous organisation.

The concept of CEMPaC is to become the ‘go-to’ not-for-profit centre for patient and citizen empowerment, for information, network connections and training, for both citizens and health professionals. Again, EPF is represented on the Advisory Board of CEMPaC as are a number of other European institutions that have expertise in this area, like the Danish Committee for Health Education and the Global Health Literacy Academy.

CEMPaC (wwww.cempac.org) has developed free to use resources that we hope will be of value to European patients, but what we need more than anything else, is for people to try out our products and give us feedback to help us improve them. The obvious one is our eLearning series ‘Get Well Stay Well’ which can be accessed via: 


Where possible we aim to provide information in not only English but also German, French and Spanish.

How has COVID19 affected your organization? How have you adapted to ensure that the patient voice and perspective are still represented and heard?

In relation to COVID, we have been producing a steady (monthly) stream of Bulletins on the influence of COVID on the healthcare system and associated aspects of society, using the EHFF website. In terms of our work, we do nearly all our work on-line, although inevitably, in terms of meetings, like everyone else we now use Zoom or similar platforms for communication. To that extent, we feel that the opportunity for communication with patients and hearing patient voices is more or less unchanged. On the other hand we recognise how profound the impact has been on people with lived experience and have been very interested in what measures can be taken to alleviate some of this (in particular, community action to tackle loneliness and other community based initiatives).

You offer several webinars now. Tell us about some of your most recent ones and the outcomes of them?

We’ve relatively recently started producing a series of webinars, roughly one per month and the first three were on tools for community empowerment, health coaching and tackling loneliness (the most recent on October 7th as a side event of the European Week of Regions and Cities 2020). These webinars have been recorded and can be accessed via YouTube link from the CEMPaC website. Our next webinar, on Shared Decision-making, is scheduled for November 20th and will be advertised shortly.

How can EPF member organisations engage with CEMPAC? What would they be able to take away from your resources/services for the benefit of their advocacy?

We welcome engagement from any of the EPF member organisations or indeed their members. You can contact us via a link on the website info@cempac.org , or directly to our Executive Director, Jim Phillips on jim@cempac.org  or myself, david.somekh@ehff.eu and we can discuss your interests/needs, maybe after you’ve looked at the website to get an idea of  what resources are currently on offer. If we can add useful resources, guided by you, all the better.

Any last messages for our members?

We hope you’ll support our initiative by trying out what we have on offer and giving us feedback. Thanks a lot.

Help CEMPaC to test its online course that helps you to Get Well Stay Well: free learning on citizen and patient empowerment

CEMPaC would like your feedback on its free online course that supports people living with a long-term health condition to Get Well, Stay Well. A set of simple activities designed to support people to make changes in managing their day to day health Get Well, Stay Well introduces you to some new ideas and helps you to practice some new skills and refresh existing skills to help manage your long-term health condition, whatever it is.

CEMPaC is inviting people to take the course and give us some feedback via SurveyMonkey:

Access the Course
Take the Survey