Health Literacy

Friday, 05.10.2012 | 07:30 - 09:00 | Kursaal B

Organised by Maastricht University, supported by the European Patients Forum and the Standing Committee of European Doctors and sponsored by MSD, GE Healthcare and CSR Europe

Health literacy – the cornerstone in future health

In times of demographic change, with the rise of chronic disease and increasing competition from other markets, health has become a key asset for Europe in meeting its objectives for the 2020 strategy. In addition, new health technologies such as personalized medicines, eHealth and the increasing knowledge in the area of healthy lifestyles are promising developments that contribute reaching the ambitious 2020 goals.

But are Europe’s citizens ready? The results of the first European Health Literacy Survey, led by the University of Maastricht and supported by the European Commission, unveiled inconvenient facts: Europe moves at different speeds. Health literacy levels vary considerably between different Member States. The most deprived are the ones with most health problems. In addition, bad health often correlates with limited health literacy.

What shall we do? Health literacy seems to be a key concept and a critical element for fostering healthy choices, supporting healthy lifestyles or – in case of illness – improving health outcomes and healthcare efficiency. Eventually, improving health literacy means empowering citizens to take control over their own lives – the latter being a critical element for better health.

This workshop aims to discuss the need for governments, the private sector and European stakeholders to engage in health literacy as a cornerstone for future health in Europe.

Opening remarks

K Kadenbach, MEP, Austria


I delle Grazie, Head of Unit, Health Promotion Unit, Ministry of Health Austria

K Sorensen, Maastricht University

JF Ryan, Acting Director, Public Health Directorate, DG SANCO, European Commission


C Neumann, CSR Europe

D Boyd, GE Healthcare

J Pelikan, Ludwig Boltzman Institute for Health Promotion, Austria

N Bedlington, of European Patients’ Forum

B Beger, Standing Committee of European Doctor’s CPME

JF Ryan, Acting Director, Public Health Directorate, DG SANCO, European Commission

Chaired by

H Brand, Maastricht University

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