Following the one-year mandate of the Interim Steering Committee, a new Steering Committee was appointed at the Parners′ Assembly in December 2015 for a two-year period. As established in the Statutes, the Partnership Assembly can appoint at least 5 members to the Steering Committee, excluding the Chairperson and the Secretary-General.
The following members were appointed for the period 2020-2022:
Andrey KOVATCHEVEPP, Bulgaria
Susanna PALKONENChairperson of the Patient Access Partnership
Stanimir HASURDJIEVSecretary General of the Patient Access Partnership
Prof. Kyriakos SOULIOTIS
Mary Lynne VAN POELGEEST- POMFRET
Member of the group of the European People′s Party (Christian Democrats), European Parliament
Dr. Andrey Kovatchev is a Member of the Presidency of the European Parliament as well as the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Delegation for Relations with the US. He is a substitute member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Delegation to the EU-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee. Since 2011 he is the Vice-President of the Union of European Federalists and is also president of the Bulgarian section of the organization. In the current term Dr. Kovatchev initiated an informal interest Group on Access to Healthcare in the European Parliament that provides a forum for action and debate on equal access to healthcare and ensures that the issue features on the EU policy agenda.
Prior to his election to the European Parliament in 2009, he was Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Policy and European Affairs and Vice-International Secretary of political party GERB. He has also held the position of Regional Director with Elsevier BV, Terriotory Manager with John Deere International GmbH and Sales Director Bulgaria for Tetra Laval Group. He earned a degree from the University of Saarland Germany and holds a PhD in Natural Sciences.
Susanna Palkonen is the Director of European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA), which brings together 42 member associations from 25 countries to improve the care, environment, participation and equality of people with allergy, asthma and COPD at the European level.
Among others, Susanna is the patient representative in the EC DG Research and Innovation’s Horizon 2020 Scientific Panel for Health, ERACoSysMed Advisory Board, eTriks IMI Project Ethics and Safety Board and the Advisory Board of the Human Brain Project.
She just stepped down from the Board of the European Patients′ Forum (EPF), the umbrella association for 64 European level disease specific patient groups and national platforms of patient associations, after 12 years of service and where she was vice president 8 years and represented EPF at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Patient and Consumer Working Party.
In her private life she recently became the Secretary of the Board of the Lehmijärvi-lake protection association, lake in Finland where her family has summer cottage, with the aim to improve the quality of the water for anyone wishing to swim in or fish on the lake.
Susanna has co-authored several papers with the scientific community and believes in equal participation in research by patients and their representatives. She studied social policy and as a patient with atopic eczema and allergic rhinitis she is interested in how policies and systems, but also patients themselves can support patient centered care and prevention.
Chairperson, Bulgarian National Patients′ Organization (NPO)
Dr. Stanimir Hasurdjiev is one of the founders and current Chairperson of the Bulgarian National Patients’ Organization (NPO) – the biggest patients’ umbrella organization in Bulgaria. Dr. Hasurdjiev has over a decade of experience in working with patients and advocacy work in the patient movement. In 2011 and 2015, he represents the Bulgarian patients in the Supervisory Board of the National Health Insurance Fund.
Dr. Hasardzhiev is also the Chairperson of the National Association for Fighting Hepatitis “Hepasist”. As of May 2013, Dr. Hasurdjiev is a board member of the European Patients’ Forum as well as a member of several other regional and international organisations and networks, e.g. World Hepatitis Alliance, European Community Advisory Board, International Capacity Building Alliance and others.
He is one of the initiators and founding members of the joint initiative of the European Patients’ Forum and the Bulgarian National Patients’ Organisation – the Patient Access Partnership – a multi stakeholder platform for finding innovative solutions to reduce inequities in access to healthcare in Europe.
Since March 2015, Dr. Hasurdjiev serves as a Secretary of the National “Health Partnership” – a permanent consultative body to the Bulgarian Council of Ministers which gathers together all stakeholders in health.
Prof. Kyriakos SOULIOTIS
Kyriakos Souliotis is Assistant Professor of Health Policy at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Peloponnese and Visiting Professor at the Medical School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Medical School of the University of Crete.
He has acted as Scientific Advisor to the Social Insurance Institute (IKA) and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (2002-2004), member of the Board of Directors of the A’Health Care Trust of Attica (2002-2004), Head of Human Resources Management at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center (2002-2006), Administrative Director at MITERA (Hygeia Group, 2006-2007) and Managing Director of Planning and Development and Chief Planning Officer at the Mutual Health Fund of the National Bank of Greece Personnel (2007-2010).
From May 2010 to December 2011, he served as President of OPAD (Health Care Organization for Public Servants), and then through to September 2012, as Vice President EOPYY (National Organisation for Health Care Services Provision). From June 2010 to August 2013, he was a member of the National Ethics Committee for Clinical Trials and the Steering Committee for Rare Diseases.
His research, in collaboration with universities and research centers comprises of more than 50 programs and studies. He also collaborates with The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as an expert in cancer policy.
He has published 21 books and more than 100 chapters in books and papers in peer reviewed journals on health policy and economics, organization and administration of health services, economic inequalities, etc.
He has participated as speaker in over 200 scientific conferences and he is acting as reviewer for international journals such as: Health Policy, Journal of Medical Systems, Diabetic Medicine, American Journal of Manager Care and Journal of Business Research.
From July 2014, he is Associate Editor of the scientific journal “Health Expectations” (Wiley – Oxford).
Mary Lynne VAN POELGEEST- POMFRET
Lynne is a member of several patient advocacy movements and organizations, including EPF (European Patients Forum) and IAPO (International Alliance of Patient Organizations).
She has organized several workshops and given numerous presentations at major international scientific and patient advocacy organization events. A member of the Steering Group MedTech – Patient Dialogue as an EPF representative. She has participated in several programs like the Integrated Care Model for Chronic Conditions and Active and Healthy Ageing initiatives. She became a Board member of EFGCP in April 2016 and Vice –President as from March 2017. She sits on a number of EFGCP working groups. She participated in the first EUPATI workshop of patient advocate experts in Frankfurt in September 2012 and actively participates in EUPATI.
Lynne became the President of WFIP – World Federation for Incontinent Patients in January 2011: an international umbrella organization dedicated to enhancing the rights of patients suffering from incontinence and all forms of bladder weakness and related pelvic floor dysfunction in general, including pelvic pain. In this capacity the latest initiatives include collaborative agreements with both the European Association of Urology and the International Continence Society relating to patient advocacy issues and a Patient Platform. Also until April 2016, chairperson of the ICP – Netherlands Interstitial Cystitis Patients’ Organization (member of CG-Raad; Council for Chronically Sick and Disabled). In January 2017 she became a member of the ‘Core Board’ for one of the EIP –AHA Focus groups led by the University of Valencia, Spain.
Lynne worked for Shell in the Netherlands for 23 years and has a BA degree from the UK and Drs. Degree from Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Valentina Polylas joined the European Regional and Local Health Authorities (EUREGHA) association on January 2018 as Director. She leads and manages the Secretariat and provides strategic advice to the Chair, the Executive Board and the General Assembly. She is responsible for the strategic planning process and advocacy campaign of EUREGHA. She also coordinates the network’s commitments within the European projects, BOOST (H2020) and EURIPHI (H2020). Valentina represents EUREGHA externally by liaising with members, EU institutions, European networks and other relevant stakeholders. Prior to EUREGHA, she was Senior Policy Officer at the Emilia-Romagna Delegation to the EU. Valentina holds a law degree from the University of Bologna as well as a LLM in International and European law from the University of Bologna and a M.A in European Studies from the University of Louvain-la- Neuve – Université Saint Louis.