Off to Brussels!

On May 11, we left for Brussels with six participants of the leadership program to immerse ourselves for three days in the European world of policy development and influencing and the implementation of innovations.

Day one was all about research and innovation. The Permanent Representation of the Netherlands and Neth-ER (Netherlands house for Education and Research) told us about the developments in research & innovation and public health. An important development in our field is the Healthier Together initiative to reduce the burden of disease from a number of major diseases (including cardiovascular diseases) by investing in best practices in the prevention and management of these diseases.

The second day we visited the public affairs advisers of the ESC and the European Heart Network. They work daily to ensure that the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases is on the European agenda, in research, health programs and policy. Armed with a flyer with their message on how to reduce the burden of disease as a result of cardiovascular diseases, they try to give as many influential people in Europe as possible responsibility for this. Working in alliances is essential to achieve their objectives. They also recently established a European equivalent of the DCVA: European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health (EACH). Jolien Roos-Hesselink and Wiek van Gilst will soon discuss with the EACH board how EACH can learn from the developments of the DCVA. Undoubtedly, cooperation between the Netherlands and Europe will also be on the agenda.

To conclude, we visited Orsi Academy, a training center for implementing new technologies, especially robotics, in medical care. An instructive morning where we got to see cardiologists from Newcastle in action and were also able to operate with the brand new endovascular robot ourselves.

Various topics were also discussed on which we worked on with our health care problems, such as innovations without laboratory animals and the implementation of technological innovations.

In addition to the inspiring visits to the Brussels organizations, the fantastic weather, the Belgian beers, petanque and the beautiful lunch between the members of the European Parliament ensured an unforgettable trip.