EPF Members have gathered online on the 23rd of April, 2022, for the 19th Annual General Meeting. During this event, EPF’s board members, together with the Secretariat, reported on 2021 activities and gave an overview on the current and upcoming work for 2022. The event also saw the election of new board members, the approval of two new full member organisations and one associate member organisation.

EPF’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) plays a crucial role in the democratic and governing process of the organisation and is a good opportunity for members to have an overview on EPS’s activities. During this year’s AGM, members also got the first chance to e-meet Anca Toma, EPF new Executive Director.

The Annual Report briefly reviewed EPF’s collective accomplishments, showcased focus areas for 2021 in terms of policy and advocacy, presented the ongoing projects’ highlights, and outlined the main activities carried out in the capacity building and membership areas.  

The Annual Report and the financial report for 2021, as well as the budget and work plan for 2022, were approved during the meeting, by the members’ unanimous vote.

New Board Members

This year, four seats in the Board were open to re-election. The members’ vote reconfirmed Brian West (European Aids Treatment Group) and Elisabeth Kasilingam (European Multiple Sclerosis Platform) as Board members, while electing two new Board members: Elena Moya (Spanish Patient Forum) and Isabel Proaño Gómez (European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients' Associations). The newly constituted Board also re-elected Brian West as Board Vice-President.

The Board members also expressed their gratitude towards departing board members: Michal Rataj (European Alliance of Neuromuscular Disorders Associations) and Marzena Nelken (Federation of Polish Patients), and thanked them for the years of service dedicated to our common vision.

(The EPF Borad members and some of our staff members during the AGM 2022)

New EPF Members

Following the member organisations’ vote, EPF welcomed under its umbrella two new full members and one associate member.

The Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health (SOSTE), voted in as a full member, is a Finnish umbrella organization of 200 social affairs and health NGO members and dozens of partner members. Their goal is to increase the impact of social and healthcare organizations in society and achieve a situation where the implementation of the preconditions for a good life are realized for all.

The World Alliance of Pituitary Organizations (WAPO), also voted as a full member, is a self-governed non-profit organization created to unite the international pituitary patient community to push for optimal treatment and care for all patients with pituitary and related conditions worldwide. The goal of our organization is to share information, work together and support all pituitary patients’ advocates all around the world.

EPF is also glad to have an associate member joining as of this year – The National Association of Patients' Organizations (NAPO). NAPO is a newly established umbrella patient organization representing the segment of patients' organizations in the Czech Republic. It is an independent non-profit organization which involves 11 founding members currently, all patients organizations based in Czech Republic.

Each year, we are honored to welcome new members and to further strengthen our representation by adding the voice of diverse organisations to EPF family.

EPF Youth Group – The Young Patients’ Perspective

The AGM agenda included an update from the EFP Youth Group and an overview of their upcoming activities. Last year was a busy one for the Youth Group, as they welcomed two new group members and held Board elections. Also, 2021 was a fruitful year for the Youth Group in terms of community outreach, as its members took part in several events and conferences across Europe, bringing a much needed young patient voice to the health conversation.

The accomplishments of the EPF Youth Group for 2021 included significant developments in the Sexual Health and Wellbeing project. Moreover, the Youth Group contributed every month to the EPF Newsletter, by bringing the young patient perspective on key health topics. EPF Youth Group is looking forward to 2022, as they will continue their ongoing projects and will physically attend this year’s STYPA (14-17 July, Strasbourg, France).

Work Plan For 2022

For 2022, EPF is set to continue its EU and health advocacy, while focusing on digital health and access to healthcare services. Ongoing projects and expanding our project portfolio will remain one area of interest, in parallel with the capacity building and membership programme. This year will mark the launch of the Master’s programme, developed in partnership with Cattolica University, on International Patient Advocacy.

One of the highlights of 2022 is the EPF Congress – an in-person, lived streamed event, taking place in Brussels, on the 23rd and 24th of June. The event will continue the conversation EFP started at last year’s online Congress, on digital transformation, by bringing high-level speakers to talk about the European Health Data Space, Artificial Intelligence in healthcare, digital health solutions, and much more.

The Patient Perspective On Artificial Intelligence In Healthcare

In order to answer our members’ needs, Kaisa Immonen, EFP Director of Policy, together with researcher Lydia Nicholas, delivered an insightful session on EPF’s work on Artificial Intelligence use in healthcare, along side the latest developments of a study revealing the patient’s perspective on AI use in healthcare.

Concluding Remarks

Every year’s AGM represents a good opportunity to reflect on EPF’s development and best ways to serve its members, in a meaningful and coherent way, while ensuring the visibility of our movement across Europe.