Health systems and health literacy in the time of COVID-19

23 April 2020


Health literacy is vital to both slowing down the spread of COVID-19 and mitigating its impact and effects, but what do health systems need to understand about health literacy for a stronger response? Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said:

“We are not just fighting an epidemic; we are fighting an infodemic”.

In this webinar the focus was on what is the role of health systems, and how can health managers facilitate developing a health literate society.

Dr Kristine Sørensen
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Dr Kristine Sørensen

Dr Kristine Sørensen

Dr Kristine Sørensen is the President of the International Health Literacy Association and the Executive Chair of Health Literacy Europe. She is a member of the global advisory boards of the Asian Health Literacy Association (TW), Bridge4Health (CAN), Health Literacy for Children and Adolescence (DE) and the European Health Futures Forum. She is also an active member of the Selfcare Europe (SCiE).

As a thought leader Dr Sørensen is committed to advance the global scale and scope of health literacy. Her educational background is in medicine, public health and global health diplomacy. Among others, she has acted as advisor for WHO, EU, ECDC, the European Parliament and Council of Europe. Kristine Sørensen and her colleagues from the HLS-EU European Health Literacy project (2009-2012) received the European Health Award 2012 for their societal impact. In 2017 she was awarded the International Health Literacy Award for her global impact and the Asian Health Literacy Award in 2018.

Prof Stephan Van den Broucke
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Prof Stephan Van den Broucke

Prof Stephan Van den Broucke

Prof Stephan Van den Broucke is Professor of Health Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. He has coordinated and supervised a large number of national and international research projects in the areas of health promotion planning and evaluation, mental health promotion, health inequalities, capacity building and health literacy.

He serves as an expert adviser to the European Commission Health and Research Directorate Generals and as a technical adviser for the World Health Organisation and is a member of the executive team of the Regional Committee for Europe of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE).


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