Olga Valciņa /
Founder of the Latvian Association of Oncology Patient Organizations “OncoAlliance”
Olga Valcina is a founder and chief executive of the Melanoma Patient Support Association “A steap ahead of melanoma.” A melanoma patient herself since 2017. Mg. biol. Olga Valcina is one of the most energetic patient advocates in Latvia, the initiator, founder and board member of Latvian Association of Oncology Patient Organizations “OncoAlliance”. The association “A step ahead of melanoma” led by her together with ‘OncoAllianse” is actively fighting for a better access and quality of treatment for melanoma patients, as well as contributing to the development of Latvian oncology policy. Since 2019, she has been involved in the activities of the European Melanoma patient network, contributing to the significant improvement in access of the innovative medicines in Latvia for melanoma patients in last years, as well as fostering the implementation of the international guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and management of melanoma. Olga Valcina is a microbiologist by profession, Deputy Director for Laboratories the Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and the Environment, BIOR.
John F. Ryan /
Director of the Commission Public Health directorate
John F. Ryan is a Director of the Commission Public Health directorate since September 2016. He is currently the Commission representative on the Board of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Current priorities include management of the Covid pandemic, implementation of an EU cancer plan, antimicrobial resistance, vaccination policies, and the implementation of financial instruments to support health, including research.
Bettina Ryll /
Founder of the Melanoma Patient Network Europe
Dr Bettina Ryll MD/PhD is the Founder of the Melanoma Patient Network Europe and member of the Horizon Europe Cancer Mission board. Dr Ryll founded the Melanoma Patient Network Europe after losing her husband to melanoma and developed a special interest in patient-centric clinical research, in particular innovative trial designs and novel drug development concepts. Lately, her focus has moved to pragmatic and sustainable healthcare models ensuring access to innovative therapies for cancer patients and incentives for sustainable innovation. Since 2019, Dr Ryll is member of the Horizon Europe Cancer Mission board and has been predominantly working on the recommendation on personalised medicine. Her particular motivation, largely influenced by her personal experience and advocacy work, is to see scientific advances rapidly turn into patient benefit. She argues for the need for implementation science in personalised medicine in order to systematically align incentives in a complex multi-stakeholder setting. From 2015-2018, Dr Ryll chaired the ESMO Patient Advocates Working Group, the first time this position has been held by a non-oncologist. The PAWG is responsible for the Patient Advocacy Track at the annual ESMO meeting, organises workshops of interest to the wider advocacy and medical community and has an advisory function for ESMO activities. Currently, she is member of the ESMO faculty for Investigational Immuno – oncology. Dr Ryll holds a medical degree from the Free University of Berlin, Germany and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from University College London, UK.
Menia Koukougianni /
Co-founder and manager of NGO “KARKINAKI”, Greece
Menia Koukougianni is the co-founder and manager of NGO “KARKINAKI”, Awareness for Childhood and Adolescent Cancer, an advocacy organization, founded by parents in 2015. As a parent advocate, she is a board member of the Pan European Network for Care of Survivors after Childhood and Adolescent Cancer (PanCare), member of the Childhood Cancer International Europe (CCI Europe), member of the children’s medicine working party of the European Forum for Good Clinical Practice (EFGCP) and member of the Data Advisory Group of EURORDIS. She is also member at the Patients Expert Group of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and member of the Scientific Advisory Group of Oncology of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Recently, she became a member at the AMR Patients Group of Health First Europe and member of the AMR Stakeholders Network.
Sonata Jarmalaite /
Acting Director of the National Cancer Institute of Lithuania and professor of Genetics at Life Sciences Center of Vilnius University, Lithuania.
Sonata Jarmalaite has M.Sc. in Biology and Medical Biology, Ph.D. in Biology (Genetics). Her postdoctoral studies in Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (Helsinki, Finland) were focused on molecular biology of cancer and biomarker research. Current research activities are mainly focused on application of genome-wide technologies in translational cancer research. For the research study „Next generation biomarkers of cancer” she was awarded with Lithuanian science prize, and also is a recipient of the Grand Duke Gediminas cross. Sonata Jarmalaite is a member of National cancer prevention and control committee, National Health Council, National committee for implementation of >1 million genome project, national representative in EC Cancer sub-group, a chairman of management committee of Lithuanian Society of Oncologists.
Partha Basu /
Deputy Head of Early Detection, Prevention & Infection Branch of International Agency for Research on Cancer
Dr. Partha Basu is an MD in gynecology and PhD in clinical oncology. He was trained as a gynecologic oncologist at Imperial College, London. He became head of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute of India in 1997 and continued in that position until he joined International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO, France in 2015. He is presently the Deputy Head of Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Branch. Dr. Basu is the principal investigator of several research projects that are funded by National Institute of Health (NIH, USA), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, European Commission, Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, Medical Research Council of UK, Norwegian Research Council etc. He has 185 peer-reviewed publications with nearly 5000 citations.
Stanimir Hasardzhiev /
Secretary-General of Patient Access Partnership, Bulgaria
Dr. Stanimir Hasardzhiev is one of the founders and current Executive Director of the Bulgarian National Patients’ Organization (NPO) – the biggest patients’ umbrella organization in Bulgaria which accounts to around 80 disease-specific member organizations representing patients with different socially significant diseases in all 28 regions in Bulgaria. He has devoted himself to the work in the patients’ advocacy sector and in defence of patients’ rights. Dr. Hasardzhiev is currently the Chairperson of the Bulgarian Association of Personalized Medicine (BAPEMED). He serves as a secretary of the initiative "Health Partnership" which was officially launched in March 2015 as a permanent consultative body to the Council of Ministers. Internationally Dr. Hasardzhiev used to be a board member of the European Patients’ Forum for two consecutive mandates until 2019 as well as a member of several regional and international organizations and networks, e.g. World Hepatitis Alliance, European Community Advisory Board, International Capacity Building Alliance and others. Currently, he is one of the initiators and founders of the joint initiative of the European Patients’ Forum and the Bulgarian National Patients’ Organization – the Patient Access Partnership (PACT) –, where Stanimir takes the position of a Secretary-General. Dr. Hasardzhiev is also a Secretary-General of a newly established organization named CEE4Health.
Francisco Rocha Gonçalves /
Invited professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Porto University
Francisco Nuno Rocha Gonçalves is currently the head of market access and public affairs of Sanofi Portugal and invited professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Porto University. Previously, was director of health technologies management at Luz Saude, the largest private hospital group in Portugal, and a member of the management commission of a PPP hospital in Portugal. Before that served as an executive member the board of the largest Cancer Centre in Portugal: IPO Porto. Holds a PhD degree in Management (Lisbon, Portugal) and is a graduate in economics (Porto, Portugal). Has peer reviewed publications and participates regularly in national/ international meetings in his areas of interest.
Jin Young Park /
Scientist at the International Agency for Research on Cancer
Dr Jin Young Park obtained her MPhil and PhD in Epidemiology from University of Cambridge, UK. She works as a Scientist at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization in Lyon, France. Her research in the Early Detection, Prevention and Infections Branch involves a broad range of international epidemiological studies on Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and gastric cancer with the ultimate aim to search for and implement effective strategies for prevention. She is the principal investigator of large scale randomized clinical trials evaluating the role of H. pylori eradication with endoscopic follow-up in gastric cancer reduction, global gastric cancer risk factor surveys to understand the underlying burden of both exposures and outcome in a systematic way, and studies dedicated to identifying biomarkers for early detection of gastric cancer such as metabolomics.
Giuseppe Curigliano /
Chair of the ESMO Guidelines Committee
Giuseppe Curigliano, MD PhD, is Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Milano and the Head of the Division of Early Drug Development at the European Institute of Oncology, Italy. He is a member of the Italian National Health Council since 2018 and, in 2019, he served as Chair of the Scientific Committee of The Lega Nazionale Lotta ai Tumori. He served on the Scientific Committee for the St Gallen Conference since 2011, and was the Scientific Co-Chair in St Gallen 2017, 2019 and 2021. He served as the Scientific Chair of the IMPAKT ESMO meeting that was held in Brussels in 2014 and as the Breast Cancer Track Chair of the ESMO 2014 meeting. He served as Scientific Co-Chair of the ESMO Breast Cancer Congress in 2019, 2020 and 2021. He is an Editorial Board Member for Annals of Oncology, and serves as Co-Editor in Chief of The Breast, Co-Editor in Chief of Cancer Treatment Reviews, Associate Editor of the European Journal of Cancer, Editor of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Curigliano serves ESMO as Chair of the Guidelines Committee. He served as Chair of the ESMO Nomination Committee. He was awarded with the first ESO Umberto Veronesi Award in Vienna in 2017 and with the Fellowship of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences in Paris in 2017. He has contributed to over 530 peer-reviewed publications.
Daniels Pavluts /
Minister of Health of Latvia
Daniels Pavluts assumed his post as the Minister of Health of Latvia on January 7, 2021. Prior to that he was Head of the Parliamentary faction of “Development/Pro!” party alliance and a Member of Parliament. He has track rector as a senior manager in governmental, non-governmental and business sectors, as well as management advisory and business training services. Daniels has advised a number of foreign governments on economic development and policy in transition countries, served as a Minister of Economy of Latvia (2011-2014), a State Secretary at a Ministry of Culture, the Head of Corporate Affairs at Swedbank Latvia, Board Member at the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and has held other senior positions. In his consulting and training practice Daniels focuses on topics of leadership and change management, organizational development and innovation, negotiation and dispute resolution and team collaboration. He has a MA in Public Administration from Harvard University.
Tanel Kiik /
Minister of Health and Labour of the Republic of Estonia
Tanel Kiik is a member of the Estonian Centre Party. He has been an Minister of Social Affairs (2019 – 2021), Head of the Prime Minister’s Office of the Government Office (2016–2019), advisor to the Vice-President of the Riigikogu (2012 – 2016). Tanel Kiik has has been a member of the Estonian Abstinence Association as of 2007. He graduated from the University of Tartu Pärnu College in entrepreneurship and project management in 2016 (cum laude).
Marius Geantă /
President and Co-founder of the Center for Innovation in Medicine, Romania
Marius Geantă, MD is President and Co-Founder of the Center for Innovation in Medicine, a non-governmental organisation based in Bucharest, Romania, focused on innovation in the healthcare sector. Dr. Marius Geantӑ act as well as Trustee and Co-Chair of the Scientific and Public Health Advisory Committee, FH Europe, Chair of Working Group Education and Curricula at International Consortium for Personalised Medicine (ICPerMed), Member of Steering Board Inequalities Network - European Cancer Organisation and Associate Professor on Public Relations for Health Systems at Bucharest University, Faculty of Journalism and Science of Communication. Marius Geantă is a pioneer in the field of personalised medicine in Romania and Central Eastern Europe and is involved in some pan-European innovative healthcare projects, such as Information Technology: The Future of Cancer Treatment, DigiTwins Consortium, International Consortium for Personalised Medicine, Public Health Genomics Network, PECAN, Building Blocks for Personalised Medicine. Marius Geantă has more than 15 years of experience and expertise in the field of health and science communication as editor in chief and publisher of many medical journals and health communication platforms.
Alinta Hegmane /
Dr. med. Alinta Hegmane is a certified oncologist-chemotherapist at the Latvian Oncology Centre of Riga East Clinical University Hospital, associated professor at the University of Latvia. Alinta Hegmane graduated from the Latvian Medical Academy in 1998, from 1998 to 2002 she studied oncology at the Institute of Medical Postgraduate Education of the University of Latvia and obtained PhD degree in medical sciences in 2008. She teaches students at the University of Latvia, works with post-graduate students at the University of Latvia and at the University of Riga Stradiņš University. Dr. med. Alinta Hegmane is a leading researcher on clinical trials for breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, colorectal cancer and cancer of unknown primary origin. Author of internationally peer-reviewed publications. She is also a board member of the Latvian Association of Oncologists, a member of the Latvian Association of Latvian Association of Oncologists-Chemotherapists and ESMO.
Fausta Šimonėlytė /
Corporate lawyer and legal advisor for Lithuania Cancer Patient Coalition (POLA)
For more than three years working in POLA, Fausta Šimonėlytė provides legal assistance to protect and represent the interests of cancer patients in public authorities and various areas of public policy-making processes. She is also engaged in various POLA initiatives specially focusing on reducing inequalities for cancer patients, ensuring patient rights and access to health services as well as cancer screening programs, preventing discrimination against cancer patients and cancer survivors.
Viktors Kozirovskis /
Lecturer at Faculty of Medicine, University of Latvia and senior medical oncologist in Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital, Clinic of Oncology, Riga, Latvia
He obtained his medical degree in 2000 from Medical Academy of Latvia, Riga Stradins University. Viktors Kozirovskis trained in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology at the University of Latvia. From 2005 he works in Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital, Clinic of Oncology. In 2003-2009 he also worked as Physician on duty in Riga 1st hospital (24 hours emergency hospital). His research interest is small cell lung cancer resistance mechanisms. Viktors Kozirovskis is ESMO member since 2005, from 2020 he is ESMO National Representative. Since 2015 he is a board deputy chairman and secretary of Latvian Society for Medical Oncology (LaSMO) and a member and secretary of Latvian Certification Board for Medical Oncology.
Dita Dzērviniece /
Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal Latvia
She has over 10 years of legal experience and experience in analysing healthcare and pharmacy sectors. She has conducted multiple studies on healthcare services markets, reviewed distribution of medicines, pricing mechanisms, assessed the availability of medicines and medical services etc. at national and international level. Prior to join PwC, Dita has been the Competition policy advisor and Deputy Director of the Legal department of the Competition Council of Latvia. She is a member (as an expert) of the Pharmaceutical Advisory Board and also a member of the FICIL Healthcare sector issues work group and FICIL Competition and Public Procurement work group co - head. She has provided consultations to state/local government institutions, market participants, non-governmental organizations.
Toivo Tänavsuu /
The founder of Estonian prominent cancer treatment charity Vähiravifond Kingitud Elu
Vähiravifond Kingitud Elu was founded in 2014 and has since collected private donations in total amount of over 15 million euros and supported over 1500 Estonian cancer patients in purchasing their treatments that are currently not reimbursed by the national health plan. Toivo Tänavsuu has a long career in investigative journalism at Eesti Ekspress and he currently studies medicine at Tartu University.
Zinta Uskale /
Founder and Board Member of NGO "Pink Train Foundation", Latvia
Zinta Uskale was born in the UK and lived in France for a decade before returning to her ancestral roots in Latvia over 20 years ago. Following recovery from her own breast cancer diagnosis in 2014 she set up the Pink Train Foundation to provide support for other women in Latvia suffering from this disease. In 2019 the Foundation also started addressing the issue of breast health in general, organizing regular campaigns and encouraging all women to take care of their health with regular and routine check-ups. One of their most recent campaigns received GOLD at the BalticBest 2020 Awards. In 2019 she was also diagnosed and treated for a rare type of oral cancer and therefore has quite extensive experience of the cancer patient pathway here in Latvia. Zinta Uskale is a Board Member of the Latvian Association of Oncology Patient Organisations “OncoAlliance”.
Uldis Mitenbergs /
Head of the World Health Organisation Latvia country office
Uldis has a diverse background, which includes practicing as a physician, managing organizations in private health sector, serving as a lecturer in health economics at Riga Stradins University, advising government on healthcare financing issues and managing projects of international organizations both as a consultant and staff member. Uldis Mitenbergs currently heads WHO country office in Latvia. Uldis has been leading subsidiaries of multinational companies in the Baltic region for more than fifteen years. He served as an advisor to the Minister of Health of Latvia in 2011. Before joining the Global Fund in 2015, he was acting as a lecturer at the Riga Stradins University and as a consultant for the government and international organizations in the area of health policy and financing. His consulting project partners include the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, London School of Economics and the World Bank. During his tenure with the Global Fund, Uldis managed multi-million investment portfolios in countries of Central Asia and led Regional Multi-country Tuberculosis (TB) grant. He has been awarded MBA degree from Yale University, New Haven, USA, and medical doctor degree from Medical Academy of Latvia, Riga, Latvia.
Inga Cechanoviciene /
The head of Specialized Health Care Division at Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania
Contribution of Inga Cechanoviciene to ongoing development of national policy is in field of organizing the network for providing specialized health care services. Her most impactful projects are developing strategies in field of oncology, cardiology, trauma, newborn heath care, telemedicine, screening programs, etc. She is actively involved in cancer prevention activities in Lithuania – she is Deputy chairman of the National Cancer Control Program Monitoring Committee, member of national screening programs boards (cervix, colon, breast, prostate), member of Central European Cooperative Oncology group. Her main challenge today – strengthening patient-centered services, that are tailored to the individual patient and his or her needs, enabling the health specialist to harness his or her knowledge, experience and skills working in a network of health care facilities that meets current and future needs. Her focus is set on ensuring non-duplication of functions, integration of health and social services, equal availability of services throughout the territory of Lithuania, facilitating green corridors for cancer patients and increasing the availability of reimbursable health care services.
Piotr Rutkowski /
Professor of Surgical Oncology at the Maria Sklodowska-Curie National Research Institute of Oncology, Poland
Dr Rutkowski is the current Head of the Department of Soft Tissue/Bone Sarcoma and Melanoma, the Deputy Director of Institute for National Oncological Strategy and Clinical Trials at the Maria Sklodowska-Curie National Research Institute of Oncology. He has participated in several investigator-driven trials in melanoma and sarcoma. He is also Coordinator of the Polish Clinical GIST Registry, and a reviewer for several international scientific journals, as well as a member of the Editorial Board of Annals of Surgical Oncology and European Journal of Surgical Oncology. Dr Rutkowski is an active member of the EORTC Melanoma Group; EORTC Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group, where he chaired the Local Treatment Subcommittee and the Membership Committee of the EORTC Board. He is a member of several Polish and international scientific societies (President Elect of Polish Oncological Society, Board member and Secretary of Polish Society Surgical Oncology, Ex-member of the Board of Directors of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society, member of International Affair Committee of ASCO, Global Curriculum Committee of ESMO). Dr Rutkowski has authored or co-authored over 500 scientific papers in Polish and international journals (with an impact factor of above 4000, index-H: 65, citation index >30000, rewarded Highly Cited Researcher in Clinical Medicine 2021), and is co-author of national and international recommendations for sarcoma and melanoma. He is working very closely with national patient advocacy groups for GIST/sarcoma and melanoma, coordinating Polish Clinical GIST Registry and is Chairman of the Melanoma Academy in Poland. Member of Council of Agency of Medical Research. Chair of Task Group of Ministry of Health, Poland for National Oncological Strategy.
Kathy Oliver /
Chair and Co-Director of the International Brain Tumour Alliance
Kathy Oliver is Chair and Founding Co-Director of the International Brain Tumour Alliance (IBTA), a global network established in 2005 as a dynamic worldwide community for brain tumour patient organisations and others involved in the field of neuro-oncology. Kathy is involved in cancer patient rights-based advocacy and is a co-author of “The European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights” (2014), “The European Code of Cancer Practice” (2020) and “The Brain Tumour Patients’ Charter of Rights” (2020). She is a frequent speaker at international cancer and neuro-oncology conferences and participates in high-level, multi-stakeholder projects and committees focussing on patient reported outcomes, quality of life, treatment guidelines, rare cancers, regulatory matters and supportive and palliative care. She has authored/co-authored a wide range of journal papers, book chapters and magazine articles about brain tumours, patient advocacy, regulatory matters, COVID-19, supportive care and other relevant topics. She is a EUPATI Fellow (European Patients Academy); a faculty member at the College of the European School of Oncology (ESCO); Co-Chair of the European Cancer Organisation’s Patient Advisory Committee and a steering committee member of Rare Cancers Europe and EURACAN, the European Reference Network for rare adult solid tumours. Kathy’s son, Colin, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2004 at age 24 and passed away, at age 32, in August 2011. Kathy cites her son’s “incredible courage, determination and fortitude” as the driving force and inspiration behind her involvement in the international brain tumour and rare cancer communities.
Kristiina Ojamaa /
Head of Haematology-Oncology Clinic in Tartu University Hospital, Estonia
Since May 2021 Kristiina Ojamaa serves as a head of Haematology-Oncology Clinic in Tartu University Hospital as well as a senior teaching physician in oncology. Previously she served as a head of Oncology Centre in East Tallinn Central Hospital. Kristiina Ojamaa defended doctoral thesis entitled "Epidemiology of Gynecological Cancer in Estonia" in 2020 at the Tartu University. She is also a board member of Estonian Society of Oncologists. Today her main goals are establishing and strengthening cancer care close to home, improvement of cancer patients' treatment journeys and implementation of precision medicine into everyday cancer care.
Jacek Maciejewski /
Member of the management board of the Rak'n'Roll Foundation, Poland
Jacek Maciejewski is a member of the management board of the Rak'n'Roll Foundation, responsible for running the foundation and its brand. Jacek Maciejewski holds a master’s degree in pedagogy from the University of Warsaw. He also completed a postgraduate course in sociotherapy. He used to work in a psychological clinic, then since 1996 he has been involved in advertising, becoming social communication specialist. He invented the name of the Rak'n'Roll Foundation [‘rak’ means ‘cancer’ in Polish] and determined its communications. He is responsible for most of the foundation's social campaigns, for which the NGO became known.