back to top Political Community

"Changing lifestyle is not a matter of the individual alone. For people to change their lifestyle, they need supportive environments. All EU Policy areas need to work in concert to create these healthier environments for all European citizens."

Professor Georgs Andrejevs
(Member of European Parliament)



Professor Georgs Andrejevs : Georgs Andrejevs MEP is member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety at the European Parliament. He is also a member of EP’s delegation to the EU-Armenia, EU-Azerbaijan and EU-Georgia Parliamentary Cooperation Committees. Mr Andrejevs is Chairman of the Working Group on Health within the Environment Committee and he is member of the Forum of MEPs against Cancer (MAC).
Mr Andrejevs began his career as a paramedic and doctor/anaesthesiologist rising to Head of Department at the Latvian Academy of Medicine and Professor in 1972 and Fellow of the FRCA (Engl.), in 1995. He was elected as MP in 1990. From 1992 - 1994 he was Latvia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. From 1995-1998, Mr Andrejevs was Latvia’s Ambassador in Canada and subsequently Latvia’s Ambassador to the Council of Europe from 1998-2004. He has been Chairman of the Council of Ministers’ Deputies and of the Committee of Ministers’ working party on cooperation between the Council of Europe and the EU.

back to top Scientific Community

"We do see that atherosclerosis already starts in the early teenage years, at 13, 14, 15 years old. Not with lethal consequences, but it starts. So it’s very important that information and interventions are aimed at younger people too."

Ms. Tone Norekvål
(Chairperson, ESC Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions)



Ms. Tone Norekvål : Tone M. Norekvål is the current president of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied professions in European Society of Cardiology (ESC). She has been working on an international level within cardiovascular care for several years and has a particular interest in cardiovascular disease in women. Ms Norekval has also been involved on a national level for many years, and is the immediate past president of the Norwegian National Society of Cardiovascular Nursing. She initiated the national specialisation education in cardiovascular nursing in Norway in 2003, and is today the head of this education at the University College of Bergen. Tone M. Norekvål holds a position at the Department of Heart Disease at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway and is currently undertaking her PhD at the University of Bergen.


"If we continue investing enormous amounts of money in treating severe disease, which we are quite good at, and if we ignore the factors that cause disease - like urbanization, bad food, smoking, lack of physical activity, stress, etc - then we will just continue to have more and more cases of this disease, including as well more problems with diabetes and cancer. We cannot continue like that."

Professor Lars Rydén
(Co-Chair of the European Heart Health Charter Steering Committee, Co-Chair of the ESC Committee for European Union Relations, Professor emeritus of Cardiology, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden)



Professor Lars Rydén : Lars Rydén, professor emeritus at Karolinska Institute, is specialist in internal medicine and cardiology. He has published around 500 scientific papers in the fields of arrhythmia, cardiac pacing, heart failure and cardiovascular disease related to diabetes mellitus. He is an Honorary Member of the Royal College of Physicians London and several National Cardiac Societies.
He was President of the Swedish Cardiac Society 1986-1990, of the European Society of Cardiology 1998-2000 and has served on the Board of the World Heart Federation. He chaired the Scientific Board of the Swedish Heart Lung Foundation 1995-2005. Professor Rydén was appointed by the Irish and Luxemburg Ministries of Health to chair an expert committee providing background material for the creation of a Heart Health plan for Europe and has in this capacity represented the European Society of Cardiology.


"The Charter is ultimately an initiative to change European law. For the first time in Europe, a group of professionals has analysed a problem objectively, a problem that affects most of the population of Europe or indeed developed society; they’ve posed questions about it and they have proposed answers to those questions."

Professor John Martin
(Co-Chair of the ESC Committee for European Union Relations, British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Science, University College London, England)



Professor John Martin : Prof. John Martin is a longstanding member of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and former head of the ESC Committee for European Union (EU) relations. He is one of those who spearheaded the European Heart Health Charter initiative, beginning with the Heart Health Plan under the EU Spanish Presidency in 2002, and has been a chief political advocate for pan-European policies regarding cardiovascular health and disease. He has had over 300 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is at present the British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Science at University College London and Honorary Consultant Physician at University College Hospitals Trust.


"There are two things that are quite important at the moment which were not that important when we did the North Karelia Project in the 1970s. The first is that the CVD problem which used to be a problem with middle-aged men is now a problem with older people and women. The second difference is that diabetes has become a major contributor to CVD throughout Europe."

Professor Jaakko Tuomilehto
(European Society of Cardiology, Professor of Public Health/University of Helsinki, Finland)



Professor Jaakko Tuomilehto : Jaakko Tuomilehto is Professor of Public Health at the University of Helsinki, Finland and Visiting Professor Clinical Epidemiology at the Danube-University Krems, Austria. He was Chief of the Data Centre for the WHO MONICA Project, and Principal Investigator for the North Karelia Project, the FINMONICA Study, the Finnish part of the WHO MONICA Project, and several diabetes studies, including the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study. He has also worked as Medical Officer on Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases in the WHO.
Dr. Tuomilehto is a Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology, the World Innovation Foundation, and a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. He has published over 1,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers and is one of the most cited researchers in clinical medicine.


"We are trying to implement a good prevention campaign across Europe with measurable targets - like cholesterol targets and blood pressure targets - for clinical practitioners."

Professor Kim Fox
(European Society of Cardiology President, Director of Cardiology, Royal Brompton Hospital, London)



Professor Kim Fox : Professor Kim Fox is the current President of the European Society of Cardiology, as well as Consultant Cardiologist at Royal Brompton Hospital, Director of Cardiology at the Royal Brompton Hospital, and Professor of Clinical Cardiology at Imperial College.
Professor Fox has published over 400 papers in leading scientific journals. His expertise is in the understanding, investigation and treatment of angina. He has played a major role in many important international clinical trials (EUROPA, HPS, ASCOT etc) that have revolutionised the treatment of this condition and is an acknowledged European expert in this field. Professor Fox has also given plenary lectures to National Societies all over the world and has been elected an honorary member of both the French Cardiac Society and the Japanese Circulation Society for his services to cardiology.


"The key element has been that all these associations, federations, and societies interested in promoting cardiovascular health have been working together. Instead of pulling and pushing and claiming one disease deserves more attention than another, everyone has recognised that that CVD is really the essential element in all these diseases - in acute infarction, in heart failure, in diabetes, and stroke, and hypertension."

Doctor William Wijns
(Chair of the ESC Committee for European Union Relations, - Co-Director of Cardiovascular Centre, Aalst, Belgium)



Doctor William Wijns : Dr William Wijns is a Board Member of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and Chairs its EU Relations Committee. He is a member of the ESC Study Group on Stem Cells and Regeneration of the Heart and was the coordinator of the Cardiology Branch of the Concerted Action on "PET Investigations of Cellular Regeneration and Degeneration" sponsored by the European Community. Presently, Dr Wijns serves as President of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EAPCI) and is a Board member of the World Heart Federation (WHF).
Dr Wijns has had over 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals and is Co-Director of the Cardiovascular Centre in Aalst, Belgium. His current research focuses on the development and validation of innovative techniques in interventional cardiology, such as intra-coronary physiological measurements, drug-eluting stents, cell therapy and applications of multi-detector CT angiography.


"What the Charter represents for Europe is a call for action to put in place policies which will promote CV health in Europe. The reason for a European Charter is because the underlying causes of CVD at a political, economic and social level, transcend national boundaries, and so it’s important that there is a European approach to the prevention of CVD. For example, some policies at a European level have a profound effect on a national level and that’s why you need both an approach at a European level as well as a national approach. "

Professor David Wood
(Member of the Steering Committee for European Heart Health Charter, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London)



Professor David Wood : Professor David Wood is the Garfield Weston Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, UK and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist to the Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust based at Charing Cross Hospital. He has a special interest in prevention of cardiovascular disease and is a member of the Steering Committee for European Heart Health Charter. He.was a member of the management committee for the European Heart Health Initiative which led to the St Valentines Day declaration on CVD Prevention in 2000. He contributes to the development of international and national guidelines on CVD prevention. He is principal investigator for the EUROASPIRE studies evaluating standards of preventive cardiology in clinical practice throughout Europe. He currently chairs the steering group for EUROACTION - an ESC demonstration project in preventive cardiology which aims to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases in Europe

back to top NGO's/European Org

"The Charter is not only about awareness. If it was only about awareness, then you could combat this very serious disease with health campaigns and the like. But health campaigns are not sufficient in order to combat this problem."

Susanne Volqvartz
(CEO, Danish Heart Foundation)



Susanne Volqvartz : Susanne Volqvartz was President of the European Heart Network from 2002 - 2006 and was one of the principle architects in the development of the European Heart Health Charter. She is currently CEO of the Danish Heart Foundation, the single largest contributor to Danish cardiovascular disease research, which strives for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and provides patient support in the form of guidance and rehabilitation. Other crucial areas to which she dedicates her efforts include lobbying, advocacy work and research funding.


"It is of utmost importance that the health professions develop a gender sensitive approach and that the relevant teaching institutions begin to integrate a gender perspective into their curricula. The different health needs of women need to be met in an equitable manner in prevention, treatment and care services."

Ms. Peggy Maguire
(European Institute for Women's Health)



Ms. Peggy Maguire : Peggy Maguire is the Director General of the European Institute of Women's Health (EIWH) and has been working for the last number of years at a European and International level to create awareness of the need for gender mainstreaming in health policy at all levels, particularly in research. She has lobbied members of the EU Parliament and held briefing sessions on the need for a gender dimension to be included in the EU Public Health Programme. With support from several members of the EU Parliament, the EIWH amendments on gender were included in the Trakatellis Report on the Public Health action programme (2001-2006) and voted through EU Parliament.
Ms. Maguire has also been a member of the EU Commission EAG on Aging and Disability and a member of the WHO expert group on gender mainstreaming.

back to top International Organisations

"This Charter on CVD in Europe has the full support of both the WHO and the European Commission. It provides a clear message that WHO and the European Commission are working hand-in-hand with cardiologists from the ESC and public organizations from EHN to form a strong, visible alliance against Europe's greatest killer."

Dr. Jill Farrington
(Non-communicable Diseases Coordinator of the WHO (World Health Organization - European Region)



Dr. Jill Farrington : Dr Farrington is Coordinator, Noncommunicable Diseases at the WHO Regional Office for Europe and has been with EURO for 10 years. Amongst other things, she is responsible for the development and implementation of the European Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, recently endorsed at WHO Regional Committee in September 2006. Originally from the UK, she has a broad clinical and public health background and is an accredited specialist in both general practice and public health medicine.



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