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Speakers in 2013

Fit for Work Annual Summit 2013

Speaker Biographies

Welcome! Take a look at the biographies of the experts speaking at the Fit for Work Summit 2013 in Brussels, on the 16th of October:

Dr Antoniya Parvanova
Dr Antonyia Parvanova

European Parliament
Co-President, Fit for Work Europe Coalition

Dr Antonyia Parvanova (1962), Bulgarian, Paediatrician and Public Health policy expert, is currently Member of the European Parliament, Vice-President of the Alliance of the Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), and seats as a full Member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. She is also the ALDE group coordinator for the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality and, last but not least, Co-president to the Fit for Work Europe Coalition. Dr Antonyia Parvanova is the host of the 2013 Summit. Please click her name to read the full biography of Dr Paranova.

Vytenis Povilas
Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis

Minister of Health
Republic of Lithuania

Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis is a Lithuanian physician, politician, and signatory of the 1990 Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania. He was born on August 9, 1951 in Yakut, former USSR. V. P. Andriukaitis‘ family was deported to Siberia in June 1941. He was allowed to return in 1958 alongside his mother and his two older brothers; his father returned in 1959. He enrolled in the medical school in Kaunas, graduating in 1975. Since 1969 he was active participant in the anti-Soviet underground and studied in the underground Antanas Strazdelis humanitarian thought and self- education University. V. P. Andriukaitis entered politics in 1976 as a Social Democrat, going on to receive a degree in history from Vilnius University in 1984.

He was elected to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania in 1990. Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis was one of the authors of Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania adopted in 1992. He served in the Seimas from 1992 to 2004, and was its deputy chairman of its board from 2001 to 2004. During the period of 2008 – 2012 V. P. Andriukaitis became the deputy chairman of Committee on European Affairs of Lithuanian Parliament of the Republic, the member of Foreign Affairs Committee and Vice-Chairman of LSDP, the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania. Now V. P. Andriukaitis is a member of the Seimas and the Minister of Health of the Republic of Lithuania.

Gianni Pitella

Gianni Pittella
European Parliament

After graduating in medicine and surgery at the University of Naples in Italy, Gianni Pittella took important roles in the local and national administrations such as the Municipal Councillor of Lauria (1979), Member of the Regional Council and of the Regional Executive with responsibility for training, culture and productive activities (1980), Regional Secretary of the Young Socialists, Member of the DS (Democratici di Sinistra) national leadership, DS national official responsible for Italians in the world.

Elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies in April 1996, he stepped down in 1999 to be elected as a Member of the European Parliament. In November 2006, he was unanimously elected President of the Italian Delegation in the PSE group in the European Parliament, and was re-elected to this position in 2009. On that same year, he became First Vice-President of the European parliament, after having been re-elected for the third time with the Democratic Party in the Southern Italy electoral district.

He is member of the European Parliament's Bureau and the Committee on Culture and Education and the Delegation for relations with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. He is also a substitute member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean.

In his duties as Vice-President of the European Parliament, he is in charge of conciliations between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. His responsibilities also include that of the Budget and Buildings Policies of the European Parliament. In addition, he is a member of the Audit Panel of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly.

Maureen ONeill
Maureen O'Neill

President, Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship
European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

Maureen O'Neill is currently the President of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).  She has been a member of the EESC for the last 12 years.

She has worked in the voluntary sector in the UK for over 30 years and has been involved in issues around ageing, mental health, homelessness and general health issues. Her current role is Director of Faith in Older People which promotes the spiritual well-being of older people an intrinsic part of a person-centred approach to health and social care.

She has previously served on the NHS Quality Improvement Board and the Scottish Social Services Council and is currently a member of the Lay Committee of the Royal College of Physicians and about to take up the role of Chairperson for a residential care home.

Dr Roberto Bertollini
Dr Roberto Bertollini

Chief Scientist and WHO Europe Representative to the EU
WHO Europe

Dr Roberto Bertollini holds a degree in medicine and a postgraduate degree in paediatrics, as well as a master’s degree in public health from the Johns Hopkins University in the United States of America. In addition to his position as WHO Representative to the European Union, Dr Bertollini is Chief Scientist with the specific task of supporting the Regional Director’s Office with the scientific evidence that underpins WHO health policies and strategies.

From 2007 to 2010, he was coordinator of evidence and policy for the environment and health at WHO headquarters. Prior to that, from 2000 to 2007 he was a technical director at WHO Europe, and from 1993 to 2000, he was the founding director of the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health in Rome, Italy.

His main professional interests concern the environmental influences on health, with special reference to the effects of emerging threats such as climate change, as well as the use of epidemiology for public health policy development and the evaluation of public health programmes and practices.

Dr. Francisco Jesús Alvarez Hidalgo
Principal Administrator
Health, Safety and Hygiene at Work Unit, DG EMPL, European Commission

Dr. Francisco Jesús Alvarez Hidalgo is a Medical Doctor. Since 1994, he has been an official at the European Commission, currently serving as Principal Administrator at the Health, Safety and Hygiene at Work Unit, in the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, based in Luxembourg.

Dr. Alvarez is in charge of the overall coordination of the Occupational Health area and the relationships with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Dr. Alvarez has a broad experience in Occupational Health and has also worked as a director of several public hospitals in Spain.

Prof Anthony Woolf
Professor Anthony Woolf

Prof Rheumatology University of Exeter Medical School
Plymouth Peninsula Medical and Dental College Representative, EULAR

Anthony Woolf is Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Exeter Medical School, and Plymouth Peninsula Medical and Dental College. He is also a Consultant Rheumatologist at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, UK.  

He is involved in various initiatives to raise awareness of the impact of musculoskeletal conditions and, in particular, for education, prevention, treatment and research at a national, European and global level.  He has served on the Executive of EULAR (the European

League against Rheumatism) as International Liaison Officer and Chair of the Education and Training Standing Committee. He is Chair of the Bone and Joint Decade 2010-2020 International Coordinating Council and has been a founder member of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010. Prof Woolf is co-lead of the Musculoskeletal Expert Group which has revised the Global Burden of Disease.  He is leading the European Musculoskeletal Surveillance and Information Network EUMUSC.NET - an initiative supported by the European Community to promote a comprehensive strategy to minimise the impact of musculoskeletal conditions across Europe, the recommendations of which are being presented in Brussels this October.

Sarah Copsey
Sarah Copsey
Project Manager, Prevention and Research Unit
European Agency for Health and Safety at Work (EU-OSHA)

Sarah Copsey has been Project Manager to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) since 1998. Her work has mainly focused on the identification and promotion of good practices. Her areas of responsibility have included various dive

rsity issues such as young workers, gender and occupational safety and health (OSH), disabled workers and most recently, OSH and older workers. She was responsible for developing and managing many aspects of the 2006 “European Health and Safety” campaign on young people. Ms Copsey has also managed projects on good practices in the prevention of occupational risks in road transport and developed EU-OSHA’s work on mainstreaming Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) into education and good practice projects on worker participation in OSH.  

Before joining the EU-OSHA she was Head of Health and Safety at UNISON - the national trade union for public service and healthcare workers in the UK. Her academic background is in psychology and ergonomics, having started her working life at Nottingham University, on projects concerning stress and shift work.

David McDaid

David McDaid
Editor, EuroHealth
“Achieving a common return on investment across government departments: the case of Sweden”

David McDaid is Research Fellow in Health Policy and Health Economics at LSE Health and Social Care and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is co-ordinator of the Mental Health Eco

nomics European Network, a thirty two country network examining a range of issues, including detailed analysis of the financing of mental health and the socio-economic impact of mental health problems, including aspects of prevention and promotion of good mental well-being. Other recent research has included evaluation of the first phase of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy in Scotland, the UK wide Healthy Living Centre Initiative, and undertaking a review of the extent to which economic evaluations have been used in public health for the Welsh Assembly Government. He has also co-authored a recent report on the Irish health care system.

He has published more than 40 peer reviewed papers largely on the use of economics in policy-making and on mental health policy, and has acted as a consultant to a variety of governments and public and voluntary agencies, including the World Health Organisation, the European Commission and Amnesty International. He is co-editor of the recently published book “Mental Health Policy and Practice across Europe”, editor of Eurohealth, associate editor of Health Policy, co-convenor of the joint Campbell/Cochrane Collaboration Economic Methods Group and a director of the Health Equity Network.

Juan Angel Jover
Juan Ángel Jover MD. PhD.
Professor of Medicine, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Head of the Rheumatology Service, Hospital Clínico San Carlos Madrid

Professor Jover is a specialist in Internal medicine and Rheumatology and Chair of the Fit for Work Spain. He is founder of the first Early Intervention Clinic in Madrid, which became a national phenomenon after the first results of the pilot came out. Currently, the Early Intervention model established by Dr Jover is being replicated in hospitals from Madrid and six other regions in Spain – Cantabria, Catuluna, Communidad, Valenciana, Murcia, Castilla Leon y Canarias – with support from Fit for Work, as well as being included in the National Strategy for Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Disorders.

Dr Jover studied Medicine at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid (1973-1979) and has worked as resident in Internal Medicine for Hospital Clínico San Carlos in Madrid (1979-1983), as member of the Internal Medicine Staff in the same hospital (1983-1984) and as a Fellow in Rheumatic Diseases in Cornell University Medical College, New York. NY (1985-1988).

Since 1988, he has been the Head of the Rheumatology Service in Hospital Clínico San Carlos in Madrid, Spain. He is a regular author in international scientific publications on medicine, in particular in the field of Rheumatology.


David Harney
David Harney
Managing Director
Irish Life Corporate Business

David Harney joined Irish Life in 1986.  He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in Ireland and a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries. He als

o holds a Masters in Financial Mathematics from Dublin City University. He has worked in corporate business since 1998 and has held the roles of Director of Finance, Director of Marketing and Director of Sales. He was appointed CEO of Irish Life Corporate Business in 2008.  Irish Life is the leading provider of life assurance, income protection, and investment and pension products in Ireland.  Irish Life is owned by Great-West Lifeco.


Luis Carretero Alcantara
Luis Carretero Alcántara
Head, Social Security System
Castilla-la-Mancha, Spain

Luis Carretero Alcántara is currently the Head of the Social Security System of the Spanish Region Castilla la Mancha. He is visiting professor at the Andalusian School of Public Health, with a background in Economics.

Prior to this, from 1993 he worked as a hospital manager (as a Management Director, Deputy-CEO and CEO) in hospitals in Marbella, Granada, Madrid and Mallorca. He has also served as financial and innovation Director in the Balearic Regional Health System and as a CEO in the Castilla la Mancha Regional Health System.

He has been involved in numerous innovation projects in Healthcare Management in the Spanish National Health System.


John Bowis OBE
John Bowis OBE
Health expert; Former Member of the European Parliament;  Former UK Minister for Health

John Bowis is President of Health First Europe and Chairman of the Health Advisory Board of GSK. Moreover, he co-chairs the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine.

He has been a Member of the European Parliament representing London (1999-2009) and Group Coordinator/Spokesman for the EPP on Environ

ment, Health and Food Safety. From 1997 to 1999 he was International Policy Adviser to the World Health Organisation on two global campaigns: “Nations for Mental Health” and “Out of the Shadows” (epilepsy).

Previously, he had been member of the UK Parliament representing the constituency of Battersea (1987-1997) and Health & Social Services Minister at the Department of Health, responsible for social services, mental health, disability, children, the elderly and addiction (1993-1996).  He had also represented the UK at meetings of the Council of Health Ministers.


Daiga Behmane
Daiga Behmane, MSc

Project leader
Fit for Work Latvia

Ms Daiga Behmane is Vice-dean for Master’s degree programmes in the Faculty of Medicine of Riga Stradiņš University and project leader for Fit for Work in Latvia.

She previously held the position of Director in the Centre of Health Economics of Latvia (2009-2011) and in the Medicines’ Pricing and Reimbursement Agency (1998-2009).

Ms Behmane is an expert in Health Management, Health Economics and Policy, Health Technology Assessment and e-health.


Pascale Richetta
Pascale Richetta

Vice-President AbbVie,
Western Europe & Canada Operations

Pascale Richetta is Vice-President, Western Europe & Canada Operations, at AbbVie Pharmaceuticals, a new global, research-based biopharmaceutical company which separated from Abbott Laboratories in January 2013.
She joined Abbott in 2004 as General Manager, Abbott Belgium, before being appointed Divisional Vice President, Europe North (including Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway) in 2006. She was appointed Vice President of Abbott in 2009.
Prior to joining Abbott, Pascale held the position of Vice President Operations France in charge of Central Nervous System (CNS), Urology, Vaccines and Customer Services for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK); she held various positions working
in Neuro-Psychiatry, Gastrointestinal and Cardio Pulmonary therapy areas, both in France and at the European level in GSK and prior to that at Ipsen Beaufour and Servier. Pascale earned her Doctorate of Medicine in France (Poitiers University).
She is Vice Chair of the EFPIA Executive Committee, and belongs to the EFPIA Greece & Spain Task Forces. She is also an active member of EBE (European Biopharmaceutical Enterprises) and EuropaBio (The European Associations for Bioindustries).


Prof Paul Emery
Professor Paul Emery, MA, MD, FRCP
Arthritis Research UK Professor of Rheumatology
Director, Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine University of Leeds
Director, Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, UK
Co-President, Fit for Work Europe

Professor Paul Emery is the Arthritis Research UK Professor of Rheumatology and Director of the Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine and the Director of the Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, U.K. In addition, he is Co-president to the Fit for Work Europe Coalition. Please here to read the full biography.


Dame Carol Black
Professor Dame Carol Black DBE, MD, FRCP, MACP, Fmedsci
Expert adviser on Health and Work, Department of Health, England; Principal, Newnham College Cambridge
Co-president, Fit for Work Europe

Professor Black is Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, Expert Adviser on Health and Work to the Department of Health, England, Chairman of the Nuffield Trust, and Chairman of the Governance Board of the Centre for Workforce Intelligence. In November 2011 she completed (as Co-Chair) an independent review for the UK Government of sickness absence in Britain, to which the Government has recently responded. She is also Co-president to the Fit for Work Europe Coalition. Please click her name to read the full biography of Professor Dame Carol Black.

Professor Stephen Bevan
Professor Stephen Bevan
Founding President of the Fit for Work Europe Coalition; Director, Centre for Workforce Effectiveness, The Work Foundation

Stephen is Director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at The Work Foundation and an Honorary Professor at Lancaster University. He joined The Work Foundation in 2002 as Director of Research from the Institute for Employment Studies (IES). In 2007, he founded the Fit for Work project in the UK and in 2009 he launched the European Coalition. Please click his name to read the full biography of Professor Stephen Bevan