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EU Health Prize for Journalists

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Previous editions - EU Health Prize for Journalists 2012

Martin Seychell, chair, European Commission

Martin Seychell was appointed Deputy Director General for Health and Consumers in March 2011.

Graduated in chemistry and pharmaceutical technology, Mr. Seychell specialized in Chemical analysis. He has held important positions on several government boards and commissions in Malta, including the Food Safety Commission and the Pesticides Board. Mr Seychell occupied the post of Head of Directorate at the Malta Standards Authority between 2001 and 2006.

He has been responsible for the implementation of a number of EU directives in the areas of risk assessment, food safety, chemicals and cosmetic products legislation, and has actively participated in negotiations on major technical proposals such as the new chemicals legislation, REACH, and in screening processes in the areas of free movement of goods, environment and agriculture during the process leading to Malta's accession to the EU. He held the post of Director of Environment in Malta between 2006 and 2011. As Director, he was responsible for a broad range of functions arising from the Maltese Environment Protection Act.

Jean-Pierre Vandersteen, European Commission

Jean-Pierre Vandersteen worked as a lawyer in Brussels from 1973 to 1980. In 1980 he started his job in the European Commission, where he has been part of DG Budget, JRC and DG Communications. In this last DG, he was the director of resources. Since 2012, he is the Deputy Director General ad interim and Director of the Representations in DG Communications.

Despina Spanou, European Commission

Despina Spanou is Principal Adviser at the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers since 2010. She works on communication and stakeholders' relations. In that capacity, she leads the strategy and coordination of communication of the portfolio, notably the 'Ex smokers are unstoppable' anti-tobacco campaign and chairs a number of stakeholder fora.

From 2004 to 2010 she was the Deputy Head of Cabinet for the European Commissioners for Health, Mr. Kyprianou and Mrs. Vassiliou. During that time she was responsible for a number of health and food safety policies and handled communication issues for political initiatives, but also crises, including the avian flu crisis in 2006.

Before joining the European Commission, Despina Spanou was a practicing lawyer. She holds a Ph.D in European law from the University of Cambridge.

Andrzej Ryś, European Commission

Andrzej Ryś joined the Commission in 2006 and is currently Director of the Health Systems and Products Directorate in DG Health and Consumers. He is a Medical Doctor specialising in radiology and public health. In 1991, he established the School of Public Health (SPH) at the Jagiellonian University and was the Director there until 1997. After which he was the Director of Krakow’s city health department from 1997 to 1999. From 1995 –1999 he was the Polish director of the “Harvard-Jagiellonian Consortium for Health” – a project focusing on local governments' role in health care.

Dr Rys served as the deputy Minister of Health in Poland from 1999 to 2002 and developed a new system of emergency medicine and a new education system for nurses. He was a member of the Polish accession negotiators team.

Other posts held by Dr Rys include Founder and Director of the Center for Innovation and Technology Transfer at Jagiellonian University, Director at Diagnostic Ltd.

Rebecca Coombes, journalist

Rebecca Coombes has been magazine editor of the BMJ since 2012. She's been a journalist in London for the past 20 years, and since 2006 has written on a broad range of issues for the BMJ, including anti-vaccination campaigners, sanitation in the developing world and controversial reforms to the NHS. Rebecca recently reported from New York at the United Nations summit on chronic diseases, and visited Ghana this spring with the global vaccine alliance GAVI.

Gary Finnegan, journalist

Gary Finnegan is a freelance journalist contributing to health and business magazines. He has a BA in physiology and an MSc in science communication. He has been a magazine editor and newspaper columnist, and has written a book about China.

Helmut Brand, health expert

Helmut Brand is the Jean Monnet Professor of European Public Health and head of the Department of International Health at Maastricht University. He studied Medicine in Düsseldorf and Zürich and holds a Master in Community Medicine from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and London School of Economics. He is a specialist in Public Health Medicine.

Prof. Brand worked in several Health Authorities and Ministries of Health. He was director of the State Institute of Public Health of North Rhine Westphalia in Germany. Since then European Integration in Health is the main topic of his work.
He is president of the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER) and President of the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG).

Gabriel Prada, health expert

Gabriel Prada graduated from Medical School at 'Carol Davila' University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest, Romania, in 1984. After graduation, he focused on geriatrics and gerontology when he started clinical and research activity at 'Ana Aslan' National Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics in Bucharest. He received a Diploma in Gerontology from the International Institute on Ageing - United Nations, Malta, in 1991. After completing his Master of Science degree in Geriatric Medicine at 'Victoria' University of Manchester, United Kingdom (1993), he resumed clinical and research activities at 'Ana Aslan' National Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics. He completed a PhD in Medicine at 'Carol Davila' University of Medicine and Pharmacy, while continuing activity on geriatrics and gerontology.

He is currently Medical Director of 'Ana Aslan' National Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics while also holding a full time Associate Professor position at 'Carol Davila' University and being head of the Chair of Geriatrics and Gerontology. Finally, he has published several medical books and research papers, and also presented results of research activity at several international and national scientific meetings. He has been involved in several national and international research projects.

Last update: 09/02/2014 | Top