Health research and innovation in time of COVID-19

10 July 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of cooperation among healthcare actors and stakeholders at different levels. Patients and their communities must be equally valued as stakeholders when considering health research and the innovation process.  The MULTI-ACT project has created an innovative multi-stakeholder solution of mission-oriented collective sustainability. The solution comprises a new governance model, reporting tools and patient engagement guidelines for the involvement of patients in the research continuum.  This model works to allow the effective cooperation of all relevant stakeholders and will be applicable in defining the scope of health research as well as new metrics for the evaluation of its results.  In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MULTI-ACT solutions show how healthcare challenges can be better addressed through the application of a more inclusive multi-stakeholder framework with the right governance structure. In this webinar we explored the MULTI-ACT experience and the profound effect that the COVID-19 crisis is destined to leave in relation to the recognition and role of organisations supporting Responsible Research and Innovation and operating in the collective interest.


Dr Paola Zaratin
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Dr Paola Zaratin

Dr Paola Zaratin

Paola Zaratin, PhD, joined the Italian MS Society (AISM) on February 2010 where she currently holds the position of Director of Scientific Research on Programs in Multiple Sclerosis Biomedical Research, Research in Public Health, Research in Rehabilitation, Communication in Scientific Research and Patients Engagement in Research. Dr Zaratin has deep experience in Neuroscience research and in Drug Discovery and Development, acquired in Public, Private sectors and Patients’ Organisations and in the last twenty years in the field of Multiple Sclerosis. Dr Zaratin has experience in leading national and international multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder teams and developing collaborative networks in Public, Profit and non Profit sectors. She is the coordinator (2018-2021) of the EU Responsible Research Innovation H2020 MULTI-ACT project; co-chair of the Scientific Steering Committee (2019) of the global Patient Reported Outcomes Initiative for Multiple Sclerosis; member of the Scientific Steering Committee (2012) and of the Industry Forum (2014) of Progressive Multiple Sclerosis Alliance.


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This webinar is organised by the MULTI-ACT project. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 787570. Views and opinions are of the speakers and authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. The European Union is not liable for any use that might be made of the information contained in this page and publications.

What our Members say

I have been active in EHMA since the first years of the '90s and I have seen its evolution from a small association of members interested in sharing knowledge on health management practices to the current status of reference and advisory key player for EU, health systems and organisations, stakeholders associations, industry and universities. EHMA is now a unique knowledge hub, policy advisor, community of practice and network of best in class organisations involved in health policy and management. A place where health managers can build their competences, policy-makers and stakeholder associations envision how to implement and sustain change through health management, industry leaders understand how to engage more effectively with health organisations and systems. The right place to nurture and grow health management capabilities and capacity for every stakeholder of health systems.

Prof. Federico Lega, University of Milan, Italy

Health management has a crucial function in shaping public health and health system challenges. The Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria had success in collaborating with EHMA on EU-funded projects that has resourced us to create new health management competencies for the future workforce. In addition to all classical definitions, health management is a science dealing with individuals, groups, and society at large. It is an art contributing to the beauty of our lives and an interactive communication process at all levels of institutions and human energy. I have also had the pleasure to chair the South Eastern European Special Interest Group which gives members a space to discuss and tools to address how health systems are managed in our regions.

Prof. Todorka Kostadinova, Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria

I enjoy the high level of interaction and engagement in EHMA’s activities, in particular during the annual conference where the panel discussions are rich and well prepared. As a hospital manager and professor of health management, EHMA motivates and inspires me to be creative. You go back home feeling energised from seeing old friends and making new connections, as well as being convinced of serving as EHMA’s ambassador. It’s a strong feeling of interdisciplinary engagement, but it also feels like being part of family-like community.

Prof. Sandra C. Buttigieg, University of Malta, Malta

EHMA is a pre-eminent organisation for everyone working in planning, managing and delivering health services across Europe. As a long standing member of EHMA I have always been impressed by the vibrant community of managers, researchers and academics it has created and by the many opportunities for sharing knowledge and funding opportunities it has brought to its members. Its international scope is impressive and its impact is often felt in management and research across European and national health systems.

Prof. Axel Kaehne, Edge Hill University, UK

Health workforce has become more essential in operating, managing and maintaining health systems lately, particularly in crisis and emergency situations. European healthcare professions and the workforce need to be high on the agenda of managers and decision makers. The Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University in Hungary is a longstanding EHMA member, because it connects us with collaborators and experts, with whom we can have complex debates, from whom we can learn and at the end find solutions in various challenging fields of healthcare management.

Dr Eszter Kovács, Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University, Hungary

As a hospital administrator and health management professor, I see on a daily basis that the healthcare challenges require talented and skilled managers to transform it. the EHMA membership has been beneficial to bring healthcare management research and education to the demanding healthcare services world, promoting healthcare management competencies and knowledge creation.

Dr Alexandre Lourenco, APAH - Association of Portuguese Hospital Managers, Portugal

Many healthcare systems in Europe and beyond are facing similar challenges which require innovative and creative solutions. EHMA’s annual conference, webinars, Programme Directors’ group and other activities and resources provide incredible opportunities for networking, connecting and sharing experiences. A distinct feature of EHMA is the diversity of members with representation from many countries, sectors and different communities of practice – academic, policy-makers, practitioners, managers, leaders and students. The annual conference is a highlight in the calendar year, offering a friendly, fun and learningful environment for emerging and established members to engage, collaborate and meet up with old and new friends. I am proud to be a member of the EHMA Board.

Prof. Ann Mahon, University of Manchester, UK

Society evolution, pandemics and ageing modify health needs. So, health policies and services are to change dramatically. EHMA, through webinars, workshops and annual conference provides an excellent insight to a professional changing world, favouring closeness to management innovation and the protagonists of these changes. As a primary care services’ manager, participating in EHMA activities is really worth it and allows to involve oneself in the innovation processes.

Dr Antoni Peris Grao, Consorci Castelldefels Agents de Salut (CASAP), Spain