Dimitris Kontopidis welcomed as the new ELF Chair

During the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Congress in Milan, Italy with more than 20,000 attendees and with the leading pulmonologists and scientists in respiratory diseases, Dimitris Kontopidis, a Cystic Fibrosis patient from Greece, officially assumed the role of Chair of the European Lung Foundation (ELF) for the next 3 years. 

At the ELF Patient Organisation Networking day, in a room full of patient representatives from different countries and representing different respiratory diseases, Kjeld Hansen, the former ELF Chair, officially introduced Dimitris Kontopidis. After thanking Kjeld for his 6-month guidance as a mentor and teacher, Dimitris made the following statement as part of his introductory speech:

“If we now want to see what are the challenges of our times, I think that the digital transformation changes the way we will interact with health services. Nowadays the hospital is not in the hospital, it is transferred to the office, at home in our pocket with the various mobile and pocket devices. Real world data – our data, can help us make timely predictions and targeted prevention. Technology can reduce inequalities. Now the patient behaves more like a user with different expectations and characteristics. We want the solutions to be designed for each patient, so they must be at the center of the design of each service and patient-centered policies. Thus, the strategy of the next 3 years will be based on 3 values:

  1. PATIENT DRIVEN policy decisions and codesign services with patient experts
  2. EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES of patients, doctors and stakeholders.
  3. MULTI KNOWLEDGE NETWORKS exchange know-how and promote partnerships, adopting good practices.”

Referring to the current situation with floods and fires across Europe, he added:

“Finally, I would like to point out that as humans we are connected to the environment. Recent disasters, floods and fires, highlight climate change and its importance. The environment, the air we breathe, the habits we have can affect the health of our lungs. That is why part of our mission is to promote environmental policies”

In closing, he addressed the participants from different countries with the following words: 

“I would like to invite each of you, whether you are patients with various respiratory diseases or people from different countries and professional backgrounds, to take an active part in the journey of the 3 next years, let’s plan together our future days for unlimited breath. Because you know best, that in our life’s journey, every breath counts.”

In 2021, Dimitris was awarded the annual ELF Award, for his tireless and diligent work to improve the lives of fellow CF patients by advocating for innovation and research. 

Dr Pippa Powell, Director of ELF, commented, “We are incredibly lucky to have a successful and compassionate individual like Dimitris joining ELF as Chair and we greatly look forward to what the next three years will bring.”