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EPHA members adopted a new Five-Year Strategy (2021-2025), “Artists and Scientists – New Partnerships for People’s Health” at the 2020 Annual General Assembly held on 3 December 2020.

Responding to the need for both increased flexibility and multi-stakeholder collaboration across sectors in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and confronting its health, social and economic impacts, as well as the urgency to offer concrete solutions to evolving public health challenges more broadly, the Strategy provides a blueprint for EPHA’s work for the next five years.

It updates EPHA’s narrative and outlines our role as a convenor of dialogue and filter for the diverse perspectives EPHA’s members offer, whether they are large EU umbrella organisations in their own right or small NGOs advocating at the national and local level. At the same time, EPHA strives to be an effective network hub for ensuring effective flows of communication between policymakers (EU, international, national), civil society partners, researchers, public health specialists and other members of the public health community.

The Strategy is the result of a two-year Strategic Review process that involved face-to-face and virtual consultations with EPHA members, the Board and Secretariat team. One of the key features is the shift to a more flexible cluster model, which will enable EPHA to integrate new public health priorities without abandoning continuity of action in established areas or excluding the possibility to launch time-limited campaigns.

One of EPHA’s key strengths is the ability to work in synergy and bring to light the connections between different policy realms and the factors at play which shape people’s health. What makes us unique is that we speak with one voice in the public interest, while taking into account the specific concerns of disease-specific organisations and patients, healthcare professionals, vulnerable groups and experts. True to the definition of public health, EPHA’s work is both scientific (in terms of being firmly based on evidence) and artistic in the sense that the juxtaposition of member inputs creates a unique, people-centred perspective that always underlines that nobody must be left behind.

Opportunities for improving public health have never been so plentiful – the new EU4Health Programme and many other health-related EU funds will require stakeholders to work together across national, disciplinary and institutional boundaries. One of the lessons learnt from the coronavirus is that silo thinking is no longer an option. Realising that change can only be achieved by forming powerful coalitions, we invite our members, external partners and policymakers to explore with EPHA how we can really effect change together under the new Multiannual Financial Framework and ensure that public health will remain a priority concern long after the pandemic crisis is over.

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