Patient advocates share their skills and knowledge

A hundred leading cancer patient advocates from 26 European countries spent four days in Frankfurt, Germany at the first training courses to be developed and run by advocates themselves.

The event was organised by WECAN (wecanadvocate.eu), an informal network of leaders of cancer patient umbrella organisations active in Europe. Europa Uomo was among the patient advocate organisations represented.

The representatives from Europa Uomo and organizers of WECAN Academy 2019. From left to right: Ananda Plate, Izabella Pawlowska, Dag Utnes, Bernd Troche, Michaela Geissler and Thrainn Thorvaldsson.

Out of 87 participants, only 13 said they had attended cancer advocacy training before. Some sessions provided practical guidance on how to run a non-profit organisation, how to gather evidence and how to get your voice heard. Others provided primers on areas such as healthcare systems, access to new treatments, drug development, clinical trials and how patient advocates can influence the research agenda.

Izabella Pawlowska, Europa Uomo’s Patient Officer, was one of the attendees. “This is an important event for the cancer patient community, since there are limited opportunities available for highly experienced cancer patient advocacy leaders to enhance their understanding of key cancer policy issues and enhance their advocacy skills,” she said.

“Many issues and topics are similar across all cancer indications, so it is very important opportunity for advocacy leaders representing different cancer patient organisations to meet, share and interact and enhance their skills and knowledge in advocacy.”

The Masterclass on Patient Advocacy was originally initiated by the European School of Oncology (ESO). It is now being taken forward by the patient community as the WECAN Masterclass in Cancer Patient Advocacy, recommended by ESO.

You can read Izabella Pawlowska’s full report of the meeting here

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