Plenary speakers


Anthony Staines

Chair of the 14th EPH Conference 2021 and Professor of Health Systems

Anthony Staines is Professor of Health Systems at the Centre for Integrated Care and School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland. He is an epidemiologist and a  public health consultant whose research focusses on the uses of (digital) information in health care. He has a particular interest in child health and disability. Working closely with the Health Intelligence Unit in the Health Services Executive in Ireland, he has led a number of projects to deliver innovative health information approaches in Ireland and Europe.
He teaches on programmes in public health and health systems within DCU, and on digital health in an innovative national programme led by the Health Services Executive.
He was formerly the chair of the Irish Blood Transfusion service, and now leads St. Michael’s House, one of the larger providers of services for people with Intellectual Disability in Ireland.

Regien Biesma-Blanco

Chair of the International Scientific Committee 2021

Ass. Prof Global Maternal and Child Health (BSN, MSc, MSc, PhD)

Dr Regien Biesma is an epidemiologist / public health specialist with a research focus on estimating and reducing the disparity gap in maternal, neonatal and child health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). She has a particular interest is global nutrition. In the context of the developmental origins of adult health and disease, her work explores factors during (pre)pregnancy, birth outcomes, early child growth and health and disease later in life.

Regien Biesma works at the Global Health Unit, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), Groningen, the Netherlands, where she coordinates Internships in Social Medicine Abroad and the advanced research master programme on Health Systems and Prevention. She currently supervises PhD candidates and coordinates the ‘Safe Motherhood’ PhD Network. Before joining UMCG in 2018, she spent 11 years at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland where she lectured in Global Public Health and Epidemiology and worked on health systems and policy research in Africa and Asia. She was an invited expert for the World Health Organization expert consultation on maximizing positive synergies between health systems and Global Health Initiatives.

Regien Bosma is a research fellow at the Aletta School of Public Health, the Netherlands and a member of the Netherlands Working Group on international Nutrition and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Lifecourse Nutrition Center, Agder University, Norway.

Andrea Ammon

Director European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

Bio coming.


Natasha Azzopardi Muscat

WHO Regional Office for Europe

Natasha Azzopardi Muscat is the Director for Country Health Systems and Policies at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. She is a medical doctor and specialist in public health medicine. She obtained her PhD from Maastricht University. Between 2001 and 2013 she occupied senior positions in the Ministry of Health in Malta including that of Chief Medical Officer. She is the Past President of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) as well as the President of the EUPHA section on Public Health Practice and Policy. 


Ran Balicer

Chief Innovation Officer, Clalit Health Services, Israel

Bio coming.


Hans Bruyninckx

Executive Director European Environment Agency

Bio coming.


Caroline Costongs

Director EuroHealthNet

Caroline Costongs is Director of EuroHealthNet, a European Partnership for improving health, equity and wellbeing, based in Brussels ( Caroline has an MSc in Public Health from the University of Maastricht (The Netherlands) and her main work focuses on policy, advocacy, research and capacity building in the field of health inequalities, health promotion across the life course, sustainable development and “Health in all Policies”. She is a Board member of APHEA (Public Health Accreditation Agency) and member of the International Council for the European Public Health Conference. Caroline has also worked at the Netherlands Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation (NOC*NSF) on physical activity promotion for young people.  Before that, she was active at the Health Institute of the Liverpool John Moores University where she did research on healthy public policies in cities and at the National Capacity Building Institute (INICE) of the Honduras Ministry of Education.

Stephen Donnelly

Minister of Health, Ireland

Bio coming.


Michael Edelstein

President EUPHA Infectious diseases control section

Bio coming


Josep Figueras

Director European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies

Josep Figueras is the Director of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies and head of the WHO European Centre on Health Policy in Brussels. In addition to WHO, he has served other major multilateral organisations such as the European Commission and the World Bank. He is a member of several advisory and editorial boards and has served as advisor in more than forty countries within the European region and beyond. He is honorary fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health, has twice been awarded the EHMA prize, and in 2006 received the Andrija Stampar Medal. He was head of the MSc in health services management at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and he is currently visiting professor at Imperial College, London. His research focuses on comparative health system and policy analysis.

Isabel de la Mata

European Commision

Isabel de la Mata is currently the Principal Adviser for Health and Crisis Management in the European Commission. Previously, she worked as Counsellor for Health and Consumers at the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU, as Deputy Director General for Health Planning at the Spanish Ministry of Health, as Adviser to the Vice-minister of Health and several other posts at the Ministry of Health of Spain and the Regional Departments in the Basque Country and in Madrid. In addition, she has been a member of the EURO-WHO Standing Committee of the Regional Committee, and has worked with the Pan American Health Organisation, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation. Isabel de la Mata graduated in Medicine and Surgery by the University of Basque Country in 1983 and holds post-graduate degrees from the University of Leuven and Paris VI in Public Health, Hospital Administration and Statistics. She is a specialist in Preventive Medicine and Public Health.

Sandra Gallina

Director-General Health and Food Safety, European Commission

Bio coming.


Anna Odone

President EUPHA Digital health section

Anna Odone is Associate Professor of Public Health at the Faculty of Medicine of the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, Italy. Consultant physician, responsible for the Unit of Clinical Epidemiology and Health Technology Assessment (HTA) at San Raffaele Scientific Institute, she is the President of the Digital Health Section of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA). Passionate about the value of public health, she is mentor to public health researchers, residents and PhD students; her research is in the field of infectious diseases control, with a focus on vaccines and immunisation programmes and policies, digital public health and HTA.

Anna Odone qualified in Medicine and specialized in Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Parma, Italy. She received an M.Sc. in Epidemiology  from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (London, UK) and an MPH in Health Policy and Management as a Fulbright Scholar from the Harvard School of Public Health (Boston, US). She holds a PhD in Medical Sciences from the University of Parma.

Véronique Trillet-Lenoir

Member European Parliament

Bio coming.


Naomi Lee

Senior Executive Editor The Lancet

Naomi Lee is a Senior Executive Editor at The Lancet. She heads the research section of the journal, and handles peer review and commissioning across a broad range of subjects including her specialist areas of surgery, oncology, digital medicine/AI, and medical technology.  She is also a vice chair for the ITU/WHO Focus Group on Artificial Intelligence for Health. Naomi joined The Lancet in 2014. Previously she studied medicine at Cambridge University and King’s College London, before training in surgery, specialising in urology and working for almost 10 years in the United Kingdom. She has completed fellowships in Argentina and Mexico. She has also studied data science at University College London.

Clara Mayer

Climate activist from Berlin, Germany 

Bio coming


Iveta Nagyova

President European Public Health Association (EUPHA)

Iveta Nagyova is the Head of the Department of Social and Behavioural Medicine at Pavol Jozef Safarik University (UPJS) in Kosice, Slovakia. She is also the President of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA), a member of the European Advisory Committee on Health Research (EACHR) at WHO/Europe, and a founding member and Executive director of the Slovak Public Health Association (SAVEZ).

She graduated in Clinical Psychology at UPJS, obtained her PhD in Medical Sciences from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and received a postgraduate training at the University of Oxford within the Oxford International Primary Care Research Leadership Programme. Her research interests are in biobehavioural and psychosocial innovations in chronic disease prevention and management, non-pharmacological interventions, and behavioural insights in public health.

She is involved in academic publishing, supervision of PhD students, and knowledge translation.  She has won several national and international awards for her work, and she is frequently invited to act at conferences and expert committees.

Maria Neira

Director Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of Health Department, World Health Organization

Maria P. Neira has been directing the Department of Environment, Climate Change and  Health at the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland since 2005. Throughout her tenure and up until now she has led and advised on policy and management in key areas of environmental health. Prior to that she served as Under-Secretary of Health and President of the Spanish Food Safety Agency. From 1993-1998 she was Coordinator of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control.

Maria Neira Is a medical doctor by training and specialized in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases; and Public Health. She began her career as a medical coordinator working with refugees in El Salvador and Honduras for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). She then spent several years working in different African countries during armed conflicts. 

Among many distinctions, she received an “Extraordinary Woman” award by HM Queen Letizia of Spain. In early 2019, she was nominated among the top 100 policy influencers in health and climate change.

Monica Scatasta

Director, Technical Assessment and Monitoring, Council of Europe Development Bank 

Bio coming.


Robin Swann

Minister of Health, Northern Ireland

Health Minister Robin Swann was appointed Minister of Health in the Northern Ireland Assembly on 11 January 2020. A father of two young children, he was first elected as an MLA for North Antrim in 2011.

Before his appointment as Minister he held a number of posts including Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Chairman of the Employment and Learning Committee, Assembly Commissioner, as well as Party Leader and Chief Whip of the Ulster Unionist Party.

He is an active member of Kells & Connor Community Association and has served as a Board member of the Volunteer Development Agency in Northern Ireland.

Véronique Trillet-Lenoir

Member European Parliament

Bio coming.


Dineke Zeegers Paget

Executive Director European Public Health Association (EUPHA)

Dineke Zeegers Paget is the Executive Director of EUPHA - the European Public Health Association – a network of national public health associations aimed at voicing knowledge and capacity building. Dineke has a law degree, followed by a PhD on comparing AIDS legislation in the world (1996).  Before starting to work at EUPHA in 1997, she worked at the World Health Organization HQ and the University of Groningen where she worked on legal issues and human rights related to AIDS. Between 1992 and 1997, she worked at the Swiss Federal Ministry of Public Health, as a coordinator of AIDS projects in specific target groups and health promotion in prisons.