The ECDC Summer School talking about Public Health Ethics

After spending a full day discussing legal implications in Public Health and sharing our experiences from several countries and continents, it was time to start our ethics journey.

The two excellent teachers (Peter Schroeder-Back from Maastricht UniversityBlog.jpg and Miguel Ángel Royo from Instituto de Salud Carlos III) started by introducing us to the basics of ethics, including the different theories and their meaning. We quickly moved to the concept of Public Health ethics, and its own intersections with the law, the individual freedom of choice, justice and, of course, what applies when there is a disaster. We moved to the ethical principles that should be respected when making a decision, and a decision-making framework was presented.

Then, the truly practical moment started: we were faced with a case study and we had to discuss whether it was ethical to have mandatory vaccination during a measles outbreak. First in small groups, then in plenary, we discussed the ethical principles involved, whether we should allow unvaccinated children to go to school, and if a court order to immunize children was justified. A constructive and interesting debate arose: we were faced with the difficulty of respecting individual choice while ensuring community protection.

At the end, we left the workshop knowing for sure that there are no easy answers. Nevertheless, knowing the ethical principles, the law that applies to the situation we are working on and being in a good team are great steps on that direction.

Personally, this workshop was a great experience for someone like me who works as a Public Health practitioner, and who is already confronted with similar situations in my everyday professional life. Furthermore, sharing it with experienced colleagues made the discussions richer and interesting for those who have a particular interest in public health policy.

This blog entry was written by Young Gasteiner Sofia Ribeiro.

Sofia Ribeiro_picture

The ECDC summer school – let us take a journey into evidence based public health policy!

I have always been interested in the work done at the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC). As an epidemiologist who works mostly in the field of non-communicable disease, the area of communicable disease is quite unchartered territory for me and brings with it unique challenges for an epidemiologist. This was one of the reasons my interest initially peaked when the call for applications for the ECDC summer school arrived. When I saw the programme, I must say I was sold. The summer school covers three individual tracks and Young Gasteiners are invited to participate in the track which looks at translating evidence into policy. You may be wondering why this would be of such interest to an epidemiologist. One of the challenges I find in my work is communicating with policy makers and politicians – making the epidemiological evidence work into a policy. On my first day at the summer school I realised that this sentiment is not something I experience alone and this allowed for four days of sharing between experts from different fields and countries. In fact the interest in our topic from all summer school participants was so high, people from other tracks wanted to join our sessions!

The four day summer school was intensive but I must say the time just flew by because the format of each session allowed for lively debate, group work and real world examples that ground each topic in one’s own reality. The summer school covered four broad areas – evidence to action in public health, ethics in public health, public health law and economic assessment in public health.


Discussing the ethical implications of different vaccination policies in a case study during the summer school

All topics took me out of my comfort zone as an epidemiologist but every session helped reshape my perspective to look at public health with a wider vision and consider other aspects outside of my own niche area. I conducted a stakeholder’s analysis for a new policy, discussed the ethical implications of tough public health issues in a crisis, learnt about the area of public health law and attempted to conduct a cost effectiveness analysis of a real intervention for Ebola in Guinea. I must admit that I became so invested in the discussions that I took them with me to the lunch break to continue them there.

I feel very lucky to have been selected to participate in this event which actually let me learn new skills I can apply in my own work. All the people at ECDC were welcoming and engaging and were more than willing to continue to share their knowledge and experiences over a coffee during the break. So would I recommend that you apply for the summer school? Definitely!


This blog entry was written by Young Gasteiner Dorothy GauciIMG_0717


Out now: 2nd Programme Announcement EHFG 2015

Our second programme publication for the

18th European Health Forum Gastein: 30th September to 2nd October
Securing Health in Europe. Balancing Priorities, Sharing Responsibilities

has been released today!

The Second Programme Announcement for the EHFG 2015 provides you with a comprehensive overview over the content of Plenary Sessions and Parallel Fora as well as over the Workshops.

Topics include: EHFG-2015-1PA

  • Health in all policies at the highest European level
  • Dealing with chronic diseases
  • Access to and pricing of new medicines in Europe
  • Facing multimorbidity
  • The power of data
  • The (European) response to public health threats
  • … and many more!

Among our high-ranking speakers and panel participants are:

  • Vytenis Andriukaitis (EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety)
  • Zsuzsanna Jakab (Regional Director, WHO Regional Office for Europe)
  • Sabine Oberhauser (Federal Minister of Health/Austria)
  • Hans Jörg Schelling (Federal Minister of Finance/Austria)
  • Rudolf Hundstorfer (Federal Minister of Social Affairs and Consumer Protection/Austria)
  • Lydia Mutsch (Minister for Health and Equal Opportunities/Luxembourg)
  • Martin McKee (Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

For more information, download our programme, visit our website, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!

Early-bird fees are available until 24th July only! Do not hesitate but make the most out of your EHFG 2015 experience and REGISTER NOW!


ECDC Summer School in Stockholm – Workshop: Economic assessment for public health

In early June three Young Gasteiners took part in a great Summer School organized by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The main topic of this year’s Summer School was highly interesting for public health professionals, especially the topic about economic assessment in public health. We participated in the track “Evidence for decision making in public health”. The four days we spend in Stockholm were full of fruitful seminars and workshops. We had an opportunity to participate actively in discussions with senior professionals and experts of ECDC.YG
One of the seminars was focused on a very interesting and up-to-date topic – economic assessment for public health. Tek-Ang Lim, ECDC expert, gave a great introduction to the topic and overview of theory of cost-effectiveness (CE) analysis and its key elements. Afterwards, together with Liliya Todorova-Janssens, ECDC, they presented several highly interested scientific papers where the theory of cost-effectiveness analysis was used in practice. We also had an opportunity to apply methods and theory we learned in case study practice.

This Summer School was perfectly organized and facilitated by ECDC, especially by Arnold Bosman. It was a very challenging and stimulating experience and we gained valuable awareness in the field of economic assessment in public health.

This blog entry was written by Young Gasteiner Elzbieta Buczak-Stec

61_BUCZAK-STEC Elzbieta

Four Young Gasteiners at Political Hour with Commissioner Andriukaitis’ cabinet!

On June the 3rd four Young Gasteiners Alumni Gabriele Pastorino, Roberta Savli, Francesco Florindi and Ann Marie Borg were offered the great opportunity to join the European Commission trainees’ Health Affairs Sub-committee for the so-called ‘’Political Hour’’ meeting.

The meeting provided a unique platform to meet and interact with Commissioner Andriukaitis’ cabinet and gave participants the possibility to ask questions and to engage in active discussions.

Group Photo after the "Political hour" with Andriukaitis team, with EC trainees and Young Gasteiners

Group photo after the “Political hour” with Andriukaitis team, with EC trainees and Young Gasteiners

The delegation was received by the Head of Cabinet,Mr Arunas Vinciunas, and by Ms Paula Duarte, Cabinet expert. After a brief introduction the delegates engaged in a Q&A session on the Political Priorities of the Commissioner and asked questions targeting some of the Andriukaitis agenda’s “hot topics”.

Several technical and political issues were touched upon and the Cabinet representatives provided genuine answers and feedback taking advantage of the rather informal setting of the discussion.

Among the themes that came up and were debated:

  • what are the strategies and challenges to support the Member States to strengthen intersectoral governance, whole of society and cross-policy approaches to ensure health is taken into account by all governmental policies
  • using economics of prevention’s data and economic cases to assert the need to develop certain public health policies and develop new regulations
  • patients’ empowerment and patients’ increased participation in decisions to influence policies
  • the new EU Health Programme and how it supports patients’ organisations
  • the role of the health sector lobbies and the challenges for the European Commission to listen to their perspective as part of a transparent legislative process

The Head of Cabinet underlined the challenges to bring together the policy positions of all Member States on a subject matter – health – which is still strongly controlled by Member States themselves as part of their national competencies.

Notwithstanding the objective limits imposed on DG SANTE by the Treaties, some European health policies have achieved considerable success, if not directly affecting the life of patients, at least harmonising the way several Member States face common health threats. For instance Ms Duarte stressed the Commission’s 30 years-long experience on cancer, which will be further enhanced by the launch of new work on rare cancers as foreseen in the work plan 2015 of the Health Programme.

The meeting was a real success and a truly unique occasion for young Gasteiners to be exposed to high level policy decision makers in a really informal context. It was the first of what we hope will become a regular cooperation between the Young Forum Gastein and the EC Health Affairs Sub-committee, a sub-committee whose goal it is to create a network of trainees from across all Directorate Generals who are interested in/working on health-related issues.

This blog entry was written by Young Gasteiner Gabriele Pastorino.

Gabriele Pastorino_Picture_Young Forum Gastein