DIA EuroMeeting Fellowship programme
The DIA EuroMeeting
The DIA (Drug Information Association) is a global, nonprofit, neutral, multi-stakeholder (including regulators, academia, industry and patients) and member-driven organisation, dedicated to meeting the information and educational needs of individuals involved in the development, regulation, and life-cycle management of pharmaceuticals and medical products pharmaceuticals and medical products.
The annual DIA EuroMeeting takes place in March in a different European city and attracts well over 3,000 professionals from over 50 countries. During the three-day conference, hot topics are addressed such as therapeutic innovation, patient safety, health technology assessment, e-health and many more.
The DIA EuroMeeting represents a great opportunity for patient advocates in Europe to increase their knowledge on the latest issues surrounding medicines development and regulatory affairs. They can also network with high-level healthcare stakeholders from the pharmaceutical industry, biotech, academic research centres, health ministries and institutions including the European Medicines Agency and the European Commission.
The Patient Fellowship Programme
The DIA Patient Fellowship Programme was initiated by Dr. Yves Juillet (former DIA Board member, DIA President (2011)) and Yann Le Cam (EURORDIS CEO) in 2006 and since this time over 150 patient advocates from all parts of Europe have had the opportunity to participate in the DIA EuroMeeting.
Currently, 15 fully supported fellowships and 15 complimentary registrations are available for patients’ representatives from a variety of disease groups and European countries. The fellowship recipients are selected based on their advocacy track records, knowledge of clinical trials and activities at the European level.
A success story
This programme has been assessed by both the fellowship recipients and healthcare stakeholders as a real success in fostering the participation of patients' representatives in a high-level regulatory affairs conference and raising awareness of the role that patients play in the processes of medicines development.
The patient fellows experience and perspective are valued by all stakeholders. A real exchange and dialogue takes place with the patients’ representatives who are increasingly recognised as experts and equal partners. A greater interest from both the patients and the pharmaceutical students to exchange their views and experience has also been encouraged.
The role of the DIA patient fellows in the EuroMeeting is not restricted to participants and each year approximately 15 patients’ representatives are invited as speakers, session chairs and theme leaders.
Based on the success in Europe, a similar Patient Advocacy Fellowship Programme was implemented in the United Sates in 2011 to enable the participation of patient advocates in the DIA Annual Meeting that takes place in the US each year in June.
Increasing the visibility of patients' advocates
The fellowship programme is continually reviewed and improved and various networking opportunities have been put in place over the years, which include:
A dedicated booth
With nearly two hundred exhibitors, the DIA Patient Fellowship Booth greatly increases the visibility of patients' representatives participating in the EuroMeeting.
It serves as a networking place for patient fellows to meet with each other as well as with other attendees and make contacts. Each year, the names of the patient organisations represented by the DIA fellows are displayed both in the programme and at the booth.
During the EuroMeeting, the patient fellows are invited to the networking reception. This reception enables networking and discussions in a convivial setting with DIA Board members, theme leaders as well as representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, national competent authorities, the European Commission and the regulators (European Medicines Agency and the Food and Drug Administration).
The patient fellows are offered the possibility to display a poster providing information on their disease and their organisation’s advocacy activities. The patient fellows’ posters are displayed in the exhibition area together with the professionals and pharmaceutical students’ posters.
A special award
EURORDIS is proud that its CEO, Yann Le Cam, received the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in World Health at the 2013 DIA EuroMeeting in Amsterdam.
Yann Le Cam says that this honour is a reward for all those who have been involved in EURORDIS’ initiatives to make rare diseases an international healthcare priority.