At the elections held on 25 November 2018, ELPA has elected new president and new board members.
Back in June 2004, 13 patient groups from 10 European and Mediterranean Basin countries met to create the association that will represent all liver patients across Europe – European Liver Patients’ Association. Since its formal launch in Paris on April 14th 2005 ELPA has been growing continuously and is today counting 37 members from 35 countries. These national chapters share ELPA values and work towards securing that all liver patients are diagnosed in time, are treated with respect, and have equal access to the best standard of medical care - regardless of origin, lifestyle, and type of liver disease. Every four years, ELPA members among themselves choose patients, professionals and/or experts to represent them in ELPA Governing Board and to advocate for the better of liver patients at the international level. Since 2005 they had the opportunity to do it five times, most recently on 25 November 2018 when ELPA elections for the new president and board members were held. At an extraordinary general meeting, organized back to back with our annual Stakeholders’ and Advisory Board meeting, they have elected Marko Korenjak to succeed Tatjana Reic after her 8 years on this position.
At the democratic elections ELPA members had opportunity to choose new President among three candidates: 1) George Kalamitsis representing Greek association Prometheus, 2) Marko Korenjak, representing Slovenian association SlovenijaHep and 3) Robert Mitchel-Thain, representing UK based PBC foundation.
After the Assembly had voted by secret ballot, three members that were appointed by the assembly to supervise the procedure have announced that Marko Korenjak is the new ELPA President.
I am truly honored to be given this opportunity by my colleagues and friends – ELPA members. Them recognizing my work in raising awareness on liver diseases and promoting the rights of liver patients, tells me that we are going in the right direction. –said Marko Korenjak, newly elected ELPA President.
The same procedure was held to choose the size of the Board (according to the ELPA Statute), as well as new Board members. These elections have changed the look of the ELPA Board - instead of previous five members, newly elected Board counted more than twice more members and are as follows:
Julio Burman (Hetz - Israeli Association For The Health Of the Liver), Teresa Casanovas (Catalan Association of Hepatitis Patients – ASSCAT), Marinela Debu (APAH-RO Romania), Ivana Dragojevic (Association for helping patients with chronic viral hepatitis – CHRONOS), Tove Frisch (Riksföreningen Hepatit C – RHC), Milan Mishkovikj (Hepar Centar – Bitola), Madalina Mezei (Sano-Hep) Robert Mitchell-Thain (PBC Foundation), Tatjana Reic (Hrvatsko društvo za bolesti jetre „Hepatos“), Gamal Shiha (Association of Liver Patients' Care – ALPC), Jose Willemese (Dutch Liver Patient Association - NLV) and the President Marko Korenjak (Slovenian Association for patients with viral hepatitis SLOVENIA HEP).
Tatjana Reic, former hepatitis patient who devoted majority of her professional life to fight against viral hepatitis and former ELPA President, wished all the best to the new President and the new Board highlighting that ELPA’s mission is still not finished, but on contrary, renewed and broadened with the liver related public health threats that we are facing:
I have been with ELPA since its beginnings and many of the people that were here today at the EGM I know since our early days. I have to say I am both happy to see that these patients and patients’ representatives never lost a sight of our ultimate goal - a world without liver diseases. I am also proud that our joint endeavours in reaching that goal have been recognized by European institutions such as European Commission, European Parliament, ECDC and many others.
In their four-year mandate the Governing board members will, together with their new chair, represent ELPA members across different stakeholders groups such as expert groups, other patients’ groups/initiatives and European institutions, putting the patient in the center of the system.