Awardees 2021

Congratulations to the winners of the ELF Award, the ERS/ELF Travel Grant for Best Abstract in Patient Centred Research and the ERS Best Abstract Grant for Healthy Lungs for Life

ELF Award 2021

We are delighted to announce that in honour of his incredible decision to not have a lung transplant and by doing so bringing ‘medicine for all’ to the forefront of Greek politics and helping to save the lives of many people with cystic fibrosis – Dimitris Kontopidis, Vice President of Cystic Fibrosis Europe, cystic fibrosis patient and advocate is this year’s ELF award winner.

The award, which recognises individuals, groups or organisations who have made an outstanding contribution to the service of human health in the respiratory field, was presented virtually during this year’s online European Respiratory Society’s International Congress, 5–8 September 2021.

Over the course of many years, Dimitris has campaigned tirelessly for better care and access to treatments for people with cystic fibrosis living in Greece and the surrounding countries.

In November 2019, Dimitris made the extraordinary and selfless decision to refuse the offer of a lung transplant, after two years on the waiting list. He wanted to use this as an opportunity to urge the government to make a new, ground-breaking therapy available in Greece.

The Greek Minister of Health responded to Dimitris’ action immediately. In a press conference he invited pharmaceutical organisations to come forward to negotiate how they could make the treatment available in Greece. Today, more than 80 Greek respiratory patients, including Dimitris are on life saving treatment thanks to this.


Receiving the award, Dimitris said:

“I am honoured to receive the ELF Award. I believe that this award can demonstrate to all patients, with all conditions, that when they are brave enough to take a stand, to learn about their condition and to participate equally in healthcare decisions, they can tackle the challenges that face us and succeed in changing health policy. I am proud that we have been able to save many fellow patients and that we have positively influenced policy discussions in other countries.”


ELF Chair, Kjeld Hansen, praised Dimitris’s tireless actions:

“I am delighted to announce Dimitris as the recipient of the ELF Award this year. He was an outstanding candidate for this award thanks to the years that he has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of CF patients in Greece, Europe and beyond. He has used his own condition to inspire others across the field of lung health. It is fitting that he is now recognised for these efforts and we send him our warmest congratulations for all he has achieved.”

ERS/ELF Travel Grant for Best Abstract in Patient Centered Research – sponsored by ELF

Ana Luisa Araujo Oliveira has won the Best Abstract in Patient Centred Research Winner for her abstract Rapid Access Rehabilitation after exacerbations of COPD – A qualitative study

Rehabilitation after exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is beneficial, but its feasibility is questionable. Feasibility is increased by stakeholder involvement throughout program development. We explored the perspectives of different stakeholders towards a rapid access rehabilitation (RAR) program after exacerbations. Interviews were conducted with 3 patients, 10 healthcare professionals and 3 policymakers. Pre-RAR considerations were clear eligibility criteria and management priorities. It was suggested that RAR should begin immediately after discharge and its frequency/duration depended on the RAR setting. Tailored exercise and education were prioritized. Outcomes included exacerbations, exercise, functionality, knowledge and mental wellbeing. Referral and uptake optimization of the RAR included standardization of the referral process and increasing awareness about RAR programs. Partnership among HP and care settings was deemed essential for the RAR sustainability and the need for a coordinator to manage the communication process was highlighted. COVID adaptations through remote access were mentioned.

ERS Best Abstract Grant for Healthy Lungs for Life – sponsored by HLfL initiative

Arwel Jones  has won the ERS Best Abstract Grant for Healthy Lungs for his abstract Impact of the British Lung Foundation Active Steps service on patient reported outcomes:  concurrent cohort study

Background: Active Steps is a remote behaviour change service supporting inactive adults with a lung condition to become physically active.

Aim: To determine the efficacy of Active Steps in improving physical activity and quality life.

Methods: Active Steps service users (n=124) received 1:1 telephone health coaching for 12 months, email newsletters, information booklet, behaviour change tasks, activity diary, wall chart, and a DVD. An independent control group was recruited (n=80) for comparison. At Baseline and 12-months, physical activity (Short Active Lives Survey) and quality of life (EQ-VAS) were collected via telephone. To assess the impact of Active Steps, logistic regression models (unadjusted or adjusted for potential confounders) analysed the odds (odds ratio: OR) of becoming physically active (defined as 30 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week) or the changes (mean difference: MD) in total minutes of physical activity and EQ-VAS scores at 12-months.

Results: A greater number of Active Steps service users than Control participants were physically active at 12 months (46% vs 23%, Unadjusted OR[95% confidence intervals (CI)]: 2.8[1.3-6.1],p = 0.011; Adjusted OR: 2.2[0.9-5.4],p= 0.097). Active Steps also increased the total minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week (Unadjusted MD: 52[2-102],p = 0.041; Adjusted MD: 48[-9-105],p= 0.096) and EQ-VAS Score (Unadjusted MD: 13[3-23],p = 0.011; Adjusted MD: 7[-5-18],p= 0.272).

Conclusion: Compared to a control group over a 12-month period, Active Steps service users were twice as likely to be physically active and had a clinically meaningful improvement quality of life.