The European Brain Council – a network of key players in the ‘brain area’, with a membership encompassing scientific societies, patient organisations, professional societies and industry partners, marked its 20th anniversary with a Special Session on 20 Years of Advocacy for the Brain at the 8th Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Vienna on 28 June 2022.
Key representatives from EBC’s past and present highlighted the beginnings, the journey and the successes of the last two decades. Current President, Prof. Wolfgang Oertel, introduced and moderated the session, presenting EBC in its current state, spotlighting the advocacy efforts that play an integral role of EBC’s day-to-day and the evidence-based policy narrative created by EBC projects such as the Value of Treatment.
Founding President, Prof. Jes Olesen relived the history of EBC in the first talk. Twenty years ago, Olesen saw the need for increased unity within the brain community and had the vision to build a more connected network of key players (clinicians, scientists, patients, policymakers, etc.) in the brain space to promote brain research and “speak with one voice”. The guiding principles of EBC at the moment of its founding were addressing the cost and burden of brain disorders in Europe, improving the lives of those living with brain disorders and bringing science closer to society.
“The world is ready to make neurology a priority,” said Joke Jaarsma, Treasurer of EBC and President of the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA). Ms. Jaarsma spoke on the successes of combined efforts in the brain community, particularly between EBC and EFNA. This also includes EAN, more recently through OneNeurology, an initiative aiming to unite and strengthen neurology-related groups to stimulate collaborative advocacy, action and accountability for the prevention, treatment and management of neurological disorders worldwide.
Lastly, speaking on behalf of EBC Past President, Prof. Monica Di Luca, EBC’s Executive Director, Mr. Frédéric Destrebecq, spoke on the core advocacy work being done within and for the brain space, demonstrating the added value of coordination and collaboration to shape the future of brain research in Europe: a key driver in the EBC-coordinated European Brain Research Area (EBRA) project, which brings together the leading organisations in the European brain space.