SPRING MEETING REPORT
The European Academy of Paediatrics continued its mission to promote the health of children and young people in Europe and beyond during the EAP Spring Hybrid Meeting 2021 that took place on Friday, 2 and Saturday, 3 July 2021 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Larnaca, Cyprus & virtually.
The meeting attracted 116 virtual registrations from delegates originating from 45 different countries (Europe and abroad). 13 attendees had the pleasure of joining the meeting in-person in the Cyprian summer and being hosted in the home country of our president, Adamos Hadjipanayis. The wonderful coastline, seaside lunches and delightful company did not disappoint. Although the virtual discussions comprised of many “hot topics”, everyone certainly wished that they could have joined the group in the lovely summer weather while connecting and discussing the promotion of the health of our youth in Europe and beyond in-person.
The first day of the meeting included discussions by many of the prominent Advisory Groups and Permanent Councils within the EAP. The agenda commenced with a Primary Care Council session (chaired by Dr Zachi Grossman) & Secondary & Tertiary Care Council session (chaired by Prof Berthold Koletzko).
Highlights of the Primary Care Council session included a discussion on the collaboration between the European Academy of Paediatrics (EAP) and the European Confederation of Primary Care Paediatricians (ECPCP) which resulted in two joint statements: “Risks for Children’s Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic and a Call for Maintenance of Essential Pediatric Services” (published in Frontiers) & “SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in minors (children and adolescents) – a joint statement of the European Academy of Paediatrics and the European Confederation for Primary Care Paediatricians” (in preparation). Shimon Barak, the President of the ECPCP, addressed the audience to express his excitement about future collaborations and to underline the important role that the EAP plays in determining, publishing, and distributing minimum standards in the primary care setting across Europe. Furthermore, an interesting study assessing the use of telemedicine by paediatricians during the pandemic in Israel and elucidating how clinicians perceive telemedicine as medium of medical practice post-pandemic sparked a discussion where many colleagues shared their experiences and thoughts on the topic.
During the Secondary Care-Tertiary Care Council Session, Bert Koletzko shared the current undertakings of the Council. Important key points included a brief report on UEMS decisions on paediatric European Training Requirements (ETRs) for Neonatology and Paediatric Endocrinology and an introduction to the CORE-MD Project. The Neonatology and Paediatric Endocrinology ETR’s were adopted in April 2021 after minor modifications. The ETR template is currently being reviewed and updated, taking modifications of the UEMS template into account. Bert elaborated on the Coordinating Research and Evidence for Medical Devices (CORE-MD) initiative, where he acts as EAP representative. CORE–MD will translate expert scientific and clinical evidence on study designs for evaluating high-risk medical devices into advice for EU regulators, to achieve an appropriate balance between innovation, safety, and effectiveness. The involvement of experts with experience in medical devices was welcomed. Other discussion points were the open-access consensus paper promoting breastfeeding and the interaction of pediatric associations with providers of nutritional products was discussed and the next steps to improve standards and practice of BMS companies and involve more stakeholders to achieve broader support and CME accreditation.
These discussions laid the foundation for the remainder of Friday afternoon during which the EAPRASnet – Vaccination (Chairs: Dr Stefano del Torso & Dr Hans Jurgen Dornbusch); Adolescent Medicine (chair: Artur Mazur) & Rare Diseases (Chairs : Dr Liesbeth Siderius & Dr Risto Lapatto) Strategic Advisory Groups delivered presentations. Amongst other projects, Hans Juergen Dornbusch elaborated the exciting ‘Vaccinate your Child Campaign’ that took place in early 2021 to foster vaccine confidence by encouraging parents to vaccinate their children and by increasing contact between paediatricians and families and provide better training of healthcare providers in the community. Many EAP members participated on social media. In fact, EAP has been increasingly active on social media with the collaboration of LOW: there has been an increase of EAP followers on Twitter by 62.19% (The number of 2,000 followers was reached in early 2021), including high-profile accounts such as the UEMO, Danone EU, LEGO Policy, the European Pharmaceutical Students’ Association, UNICEF Europe Central Asia, and others.
The European Board of Paediatrics session’s chair, Rob Ross Russell had the pleasure of informing every one of the official opening of applications for the 3rd EAP-EBP Exam taking place on 18 November 2021 and shared the facts, figures and lessons learned from two highly successful exams in 2020 and 2021. This will be the third pan-European knowledge-based examination; the first exam was held in October 2020 , followed several years of planning. The exams are based on the core training curriculum and are intended for trainees between 2 and 3 years into paediatric training. The exams are intended to test knowledge, and as such forms part of the overall assessment of training. The session included an update on the EAP Learning application and announced a brand-new Core Knowledge in Paediatrics course, a 2-day EAP online event on 14 and 15 October 2021. Lastly, Rob introduced the successor who will be chairing the EAP-EBP Exam: Prof Peter Hoyer. The decision was approved and applauded by the general Assembly and the EAP congratulates Prof Hoyer for taking on this challenge and adventure. The exam committee, consisting of Rob Ross Russell, Martin White, Liviana Da Dalt & Alfred Tenore, has done a great job in making the exam a success until now. The invaluable assistance from CYIM, LOW (especially Ann Garrott & Charlotte Denis) and the EAP Secretariat (Paragon) is also dearly appreciated.
The General Assembly was chaired by the President of the EAP, Adamos Hadjipanayis, who updated the delegates on EAP matters over the course of 2020/2021, assembling the presentations by the Secretary General and the Executive Director. The GA kicked off with an exciting announcement that the new, inclusive EAP Statutes (welcoming individual members from all its National Societies as automatic members of the EAP and now serving as a pan-European Association) were published in the Belgian Gazette on 17 June 2021.
The president elaborated on a closer collaboration between the International Paediatric Association (IPA) and the European Academy of Paediatrics (EAP). The audience was honoured to welcome Prof. Aman Pulugan, the Executive Director of IPA, who also attended the EAP Spring Meeting 2021 virtually, to the proceedings of the General Assembly .
During the Spring Meeting General Assembly and various of the sessions that took place on Friday, several initiatives in which EAP is a stakeholder were presented:
• RIVER EU
• IMMUNION: the EAP serves on the advisory Board
• EU Coalition for Vaccination: Member
• EU JAV – the European joint action on Vaccination.
• Increasing the focus on integrated care for children with complex care needs: a position paper of the European Academy of Paediatrics
• WHO recommendations from the European Technical Advisory Group for schooling during COVID-19
EAP Representative: Berthold Koletzko
Manufacturers of medical devices need to test their products before being allowed to market them. Specifically, they require clinical data showing their medical device is safe and efficient. In this context, the EU-funded CORE-MD project will translate expert scientific and clinical evidence on study designs for evaluating high-risk medical devices into advice for EU regulators. The project will propose how new trial designs can contribute and suggest ways to aggregate real-world data from medical device registries. It will also conduct multidisciplinary workshops to propose a hierarchy of levels of evidence from clinical investigations, as well as educational and training objectives for all stakeholders, to build expertise in regulatory science in Europe. CORE–MD will translate expert scientific and clinical evidence on study designs for evaluating high-risk medical devices into advice for EU regulators, to achieve an appropriate balance between innovation, safety, and effectiveness. A unique collaboration between medical associations, regulatory agencies, notified bodies, academic institutions, patients’ groups, and health technology assessment agencies, will systematically review methodologies for the clinical investigation of high-risk medical devices, recommend how new trial designs can contribute, and advise on methods for aggregating real-world data from medical device registries with experience from clinical practice The consortium is led by the European Society of Cardiology and the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, and involves all 33 specialist medical associations that are members of the Biomedical Alliance in Europe.
EAP Representatives: Vasiliki Papaevangelou; Lukasz Dembinski ; Stefano del Torso ; Hans Juergen Dornbusch; Sian Copley; Liesbeth Siderius; Yiannis Trimithiotis (Project Manager); Loraine Lugasi (EAP Secretariat / Paragon)
EAP is a member of the Consortium running the EU Commission H2020 project entitled Innovative Immunisation Hubs.
The past year has highlighted that specific groups in European society have limited access to vaccines due to socioeconomic, cultural, geographic or health reasons. The Innovative Immunisation Hubs (ImmuHubs) project, which is designed to run for three years, has been set up in response to this. The project’s aims are to: establish partnerships with citizen groups, public health agencies and the public to improve access for specific population groups in eight countries; create innovative immunisation actions to increase vaccine uptake; develop sustainable solutions for vaccine protection. Among the targeted countries are Cyprus, Greece, Finland, Portugal & Poland. Actions taken will be monitored and the project has quantifiable targets such as increasing the uptake of childhood vaccines by 10 percent.
The ImmuHubs Coordinator is Barbara Rath, MD PhD HDR, Co-founder & Chair, The Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative.
EAP representatives: Stefano del Torso, Hans Juergen Dornbusch; Adamos Hadjipanayis, Yiannis Trimithiotis (Project Manager)
EAP is a member of the Consortium running the EU Commission H2020 Project entitled River-EU: Reducing inequalities in vaccine uptake in the European Region – Engaging Undeserved Communities.
The RIVER-EU project aims to tackle barriers in health systems for vaccine uptake among minority groups in Europe. The five-year project focuses specifically on the MMR and HPV vaccinations in selected communities (migrant community in Greece, Turkish females and Moroccan females in the Netherlands, Ukrainian minority in Poland and Roma community in Slovakia). The project will begin by analysing health system barriers and will then develop new interventions to be implemented and evaluated. Findings will be used for guidelines that can subsequently be implemented across Europe and project leaders will focus on collaboration with target groups and key stakeholders at every phase of the project. The aims of the project include: to increase understanding of the reasons for low vaccine uptake in specific contexts; to develop strategies to increase vaccination rates in these contexts; to develop recommendations that other health authorities can implement. The RIVER-EU Coordinator is Danielle Jansen, Assistant professor of the Department of Health Sciences at University Medical Centre. The EAP Representatives participating in this initiative are Stefano del Torso, Hans Juergen Dornbusch and Adamos Hadjipanayis.
EAP representative : Stefano del Torso
EAP is a leading member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Immunion project which aims to increase the uptake of vaccines by European citizens. The EAP is also leading the development of the SEKI education platform.
The Immunion project, designed by the Coalition for Vaccination, aims to improve immunisation cooperation in the EU. The project will notably strengthen joint efforts amongst Coalition for Vaccination member associations to improve the uptake of vaccines by European citizens. Specific objectives of Immunion include improving the dissemination of validated vaccination training materials and resources to health professionals across Europe; strengthening the Coalition for Vaccination; increasing training opportunities for health professionals and students on vaccination communication; enhancing collaboration with media on vaccination; understanding drivers of vaccine inequalities within countries. The Immunion project is also supported by a Scientific Advisory Board which strengthens the project’s scientific excellence, policy impact, global input, and long-term sustainability. The Scientific Advisory Board includes representatives from the European Commission and will reach out on a regular basis to external advisors drawing from established connections of the Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative (ViVI) and the European Academy of Paediatrics (EAP).
To effectively disseminate information on vaccination, the SEKI platform (developed and led by the ViVI and EAP) will be promoted as a central source for quality training and information materials on vaccination. SEKI will provide training courses near users’ homes as well as videos, podcasts and other teaching formats that facilitate continuing vaccine education ‘on the go’.
Increasing the focus on integrated care for children with complex care needs: a position paper of the European Academy of Paediatrics.
This team venture coordinated by Prof. Maria Brenner, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin is undertaken by EAP senior members, the young EAP and the ECPCP Vice President Laura Reali.
WHO recommendations from the European Technical Advisory Group for schooling during COVID-19
3 prominent EAP National Delegates, including the EAP’s president, Adamos Hadjipanayis (Cyprus) Russel Viner (United Kingdom), and Pierre Andre Michaud (Switzerland) form a part of this endeavour.
Like so many others, the EAP MasterCourse and Congress became a virtual event in 2021 and it took place from 22-25 April 2021. This popular biennial happening attracted 1,250 participants from 77 countries and boasted with presentations from over 40 invited speakers during 18 parallel sessions, 7 plenaries and 2 sponsored symposia. There were a staggering 70 oral abstracts and 249 posters. The next Mastercourse and Congress (2023) will be themed: the Acute Unwell Child.
In 2022, we look forward to the EAPS in Barcelona, where 3 of the EAP’s Executive Committee members serve on the Scientific Committee: Adamos Hadjipanayis, Ann de Guchtenaere & Zachi Grossman.
There are fully-fledged EAP-owned social media campaigns on:
• Vaccinate Your Child campaign
• COVID-19 Update Webinar series
• EBP exam
• Happy Health Home tips
The Young EAP (chaired by Ivan Bambir) informed the attendees about several exciting projects and about the expansion of their membership to residents and young paediatricians. The group investigated the training structures in the European countries to about best practice examples and collected ideas that might be included in future training concepts leading to more satisfying, high-quality training structures. Additionally, they are involved in an ongoing investigation on the topics of burnout (Including a comparison on of the effect of working conditions, maternity leave & working hours on residency).
Arunas Valiulis, the EAP’s Treasurer brought the EAP members up to speed with the latest developments in finance. The EAP maintained a balanced financial sheet, despite the challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The above-mentioned sessions were concluded with a closing word from the President, Adamos Hadjipanayis, followed by a well-deserved excursion for in-person attendees to one of the top beaches in Cyprus: Fig Tree Bay.
Staying connected is one of the best ways to support each other and to achieve our goal of improving children’s health, both in Europe and around the world. The EAP thanks all the leaders of the Strategic Advisory Groups, National Delegates, Individual members and collaborating societies for being a part of its achievements. The EAP looks forward to the Winter Meeting in Brussels scheduled to take place 3 & 4 December 2021, and of course next Spring Meeting in Malta 2022. We hope to see you in-person at both above-mentioned meetings!