Plenary programme 14th EPH Conference 2021

Opening Ceremony: Public health futures in a changing world

Wednesday 10 November 2021, 14:00 – 14:40 CET

Moderators: Anthony Staines, Chair of the 14th EPH Conference 2021 and Regien Biesma-Blanco, Chair of the International Scientific Committee 2021

This session is the official opening session of the conference. European public health has had a difficult year. Across Europe the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic has not been entirely successful despite an enormous amount of hard work in public health units all across Europe. The past year has shown that we need to identify futures for our discipline. If we don’t, others will, and that is not necessarily for the benefit of our practice, our practitioners, or the public. If we are to be more than well trained technicians perhaps we need to articulate more forcibly who we are, why we are, and why we are relevant? 


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Plenary 1: Public health practice, training and workforces for the future - Lessons from the pandemic

Wednesday 10 November 2021, 14:50 – 15:50 CET

Organised by European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, WHO Regional Office for Europe, ASPHER

Moderator: Suszy Lessof, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies

In the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe faces its greatest public health crisis of recent times. Drawing lessons from this crisis is essential if public health services are to be fit for the future. WHO Europe and the Observatory are currently undertaking a study with countries and key stakeholders to explore the challenges public health agencies and services have encountered. The session brings together the learning for the future of public health and those who will be part of the change. It will also showcase the value of people with different backgrounds and skillsets for a diverse and multidisciplinary public health.


  • Natasha Azzopardi Muscat, Director Country Health Policies & Systems, WHO Regional Office for Europe
  • Bernd Rechel, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
  • John Middleton, President, Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER)


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Plenary 2: Communication and public health

Thursday 11 November 2021, 10:10 – 11:10 CET

Organised by EUPHA, EUPHA Public health monitoring and reporting section 

Moderators: Iveta Nagyova, President European Public Health Association (EUPHA) and Petronille Bogaert, President EUPHA Public health monitoring and reporting section

A key component of effective public health actions is communication. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of communication to maintain public trust and to support actions to mitigate the impact of the virus. Health communication is essential for addressing the infodemic, an overabundance of information that occurs during an epidemic,  and for effective and sustainable behavior change during such a pandemic. This plenary highlights current challenges and opportunities for public health communication with a focus on infodemic management and behavioural sciences.


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Plenary 3: Learning from the pandemic and getting ready for the next one

Thursday 11 November 2021, 16:20 – 17:20 CET

Organised by European Commission, EUPHA 

Moderators: Isabel de la Mata, European Commision and Dineke Zeegers Paget, EUPHA

COVID-19 has shown us that most countries were not focusing their emergency preparedness plans in the correct direction. Preparedness plans were conceived only for health events that are more explosive in initiation and resolution. Governments of a wide range of the political spectrum failed to address the pandemic effectively. So, what can we learn from our successes and from our failures? In this session we ask panellists to reflect on the successes and failures and for their ideas on how to be better prepared for future pandemics. 


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Plenary 4: Capturing the breadth and depth of the digital health era – beyond the COVID-19 pandemic

Friday 12 November 2021, 10:10 – 11:10 CET

Organised by WHO Regional Office for Europe, EUPHA Digital health section

Facilitators: Clayton Hamilton, Regional Adviser, Digital Health Flagship, WHO Regional Office for Europe and Stefan Buttigieg, Vice-president, EUPHA Digital health section and Co-founder, Digital Health Malta 

Chairs: Natasha Azzopardi Muscat, WHO Regional Office for Europe and Anna Odone, President EUPHA Digital health section

Digitalization is permeating all aspects of society, how can be it employed to sustain the public health goals of quality, accessibility, efficiency and equity in health care and prevention now and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic? In this session jointly presented by WHO Europe and EUPHA, we examine the extent to which technology is contributing positively or negatively to strengthening the resilience of health systems and empowering individuals and communities. 


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Plenary 5: Climate change, justice and public health

Friday 12 November 2021, 16:20 – 17:20 CET

Organised by EuroHealthNet

Moderator: Caroline Costongs, Director EuroHealthNet

On the closing day of the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26), this plenary will discuss the four COP26 goals of “Mitigation, Adaptation, Finance and Collaboration”, exploring how health and equity can be further mainstreamed within these climate actions. It aims both to inform and to inspire, raising awareness about the interconnected challenges we are facing as well as discussing solutions and actions at different levels that we all can be a part of to ensure the transformational change that is needed. 


  • Maria Neira, Director, Environment, Climate Change and Health, WHO
  • Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director European Environment Agency
  • Monica Scatasta, Director, Technical Assessment and Monitoring, Council of Europe Development Bank 
  • Patrick ten Brink, Deputy Secretary General and Director EU Policy, European Environmental Bureau

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Closing Ceremony of the 14th European Public Health Conference

Friday 12 November 2021, 17:30 – 18:10 CET

Moderator: Anthony Staines, Chair of the 14th EPH Conference 2021

Awards ceremony: Best Poster Prize, Best Abstract Prize, Ferenc Bojan Award

Welcome to next year's 15th European Public Health Conference, Berlin, Germany



The Plenary Programme is organised by:

  • EuroHealthNet
  • European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
  • European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
  • European Commission
  • WHO Regional Office for Europe