ELF Award 2024

The ELF award is given each year to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the service of human health. Not only does this award recognise the work that this person has done, but it also provides an opportunity for the ELF/ERS to acknowledge an important figure in the field of public health. Please see below the list of previous recipients of the award as an example of the usual awardees and past topics covered. 

We are now seeking nominations for the ELF Award 2024. The criteria for the award are as follows:

  1. The recipient must have made a significant contribution to the field of public health/public awareness. 
  2. The impact of the actions of the recipient should be political, or directed primarily at the general public or patients rather than the medical community alone.
  3. If the awardee is a scientist/medic, it should be clear that the award is given to the recipient for activities in the field of public health/politics and not for activities that would be recognised by the scientific or educational awards presented by the ERS. 

To make a nomination please send us a message using our contact form and select “ELF Award Nomination” as the subject. Please include who you would like to nominate and why you think they deserve the ELF Award in your message.

ELF Award 2023

We are delighted to announce that the ELF award 2023 has been awarded to Italian architect, urban planner and academic Stefano Boeri for his inspirational work to improve air quality in urban environments. Stefano Boeri’s designs integrate living nature into urban environment: several international studies have shown that living and working closely connected with trees and plants can lead to reduced stress levels and improved physical and mental health, as well as improved air quality with consequent positive impact on lung health.  

ELF Award 2023

Previous awardees

Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah - profile image
Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah

Rosamund became a clean air advocate after her 9-year-old daughter, Ella, died in 2013 from asthma, exacerbated by air pollution. After years of campaigning for a second coroner’s inquest into Ella’s death, a landmark decision was reached in December 2020, making Ella the first person in the world to have air pollution listed as a cause of death on their death certificate.

Watch award video
Dimitris Kontopidis - profile image
Dimitris Kontopidis

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 saving the lives of many people with cystic fibrosis – Dimitris Kontopidis, Vice President of Cystic Fibrosis Europe, cystic fibrosis patient and advocate was the 2021 ELF award winner.

Watch award video
All healthcare professionals - profile image
All healthcare professionals

In 2020 the ELF award was dedicated to all healthcare professionals, from nurses to physiotherapists and clinicians to support staff. During unprecedented times, respiratory professionals have pulled together in extraordinary ways; from the dedication to patient care to the rapid publication of more than 95,000 articles on the topic of COVID-19, to help inform our understanding of this new disease. While battling COVID-19, respiratory healthcare professionals have also been treating their regular patients, who have continued to live with their long-term lung diseases under stressful and worrying times.

Watch award video
Dr. Maria Neira - profile image
Dr. Maria Neira

ELF Chair Isabel Saraiva presented the 2019 ELF award to Dr Maria Neira (Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at the World Health Organisation (WHO)). The award recognised Dr Neira’s commitment to improving air quality globally and helping people to breathe clean air.

Read about Maria Neira’s achievements.
Anne Hidalgo, on behalf of C40 Cities - profile image
Anne Hidalgo, on behalf of C40 Cities

In 2018, the ELF Award went to the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group for the organisation’s dedication to improving air quality in numerous major cities, and for millions of citizens, worldwide. During the ERS International Congress in Paris, ELF Chair Isabel Saraiva went to Paris City Hall to present the ELF Award to Anne Hidalgo, the city’s mayor, who also chairs C40.

Watch Anne Hidalgo accept the ELF award at the 2018 award ceremony.
Professor Colin Sullivan - profile image
Professor Colin Sullivan

Outgoing ELF Chair Dan Smyth presented the ELF Award to Professor Colin Sullivan, the inventor of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The Award recognised Professor Sullivan’s huge contribution to improving the lives of people living with sleep apnoea – an issue personally felt by Dan, who uses CPAP himself.

The Sunday Times and its Environment Editor Johnathan Leake - profile image
The Sunday Times and its Environment Editor Johnathan Leake

We presented the ELF Award to The Sunday Times to celebrate their clean air campaign, which calls for better monitoring and reporting of pollution levels. Jonathan Leake, Science and Environment Editor of the Sunday Times, accepted the award, saying: "In journalism we receive a lot of awards, but these are mainly from other journalists. Getting recognition from scientists for the quality of our clean air campaign means a lot to us".

Watch Jonathan's acceptance video.
André Lassooij - profile image
André Lassooij

Coinciding with the launch of the second Healthy Lungs for Life campaign and its ‘take the active option’ message, double-lung transplant recipient and international athlete André Lassooij received the ELF Award for inspiring others through his achievements.

Zsuzsanna Jakab, on behalf of the World Health Organization - profile image
Zsuzsanna Jakab, on behalf of the World Health Organization

During the inaugural year of the Healthy Lungs for Life campaign, and in celebration of its “breathe clean air” message, the ELF award recognised WHO for its work in providing guidelines for outdoor air quality.

Ex-smokers are unstoppable Campaign/ FC Barcelona - profile image
Ex-smokers are unstoppable Campaign/ FC Barcelona

The ‘Ex-smokers are unstoppable campaign’, known as “Quit Smoking with Barca”. The programme aims to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of football fans around the world, by encouraging them to quit smoking.

Olaf Tufte & World Spirometry Day lung champions - profile image
Olaf Tufte & World Spirometry Day lung champions

Norwegian Olympic rowing champion, Olaf Tufte and the World Spirometry Day Lung Champions in recognition of their dedication to exercise and sport despite living with lung conditions.

Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Juniper - profile image
Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Juniper

In recognition of her work to promote quality of life in asthma care and clinical research.

35 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) - profile image
35 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs)

Who all committed themselves to the fight for a tobacco-free Europe.

Yvo de Boer - profile image
Yvo de Boer

Executive Secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in recognition of his outstanding efforts to reduce the impact of climate change on respiratory health.

Michael Rubens Bloomberg - profile image
Michael Rubens Bloomberg

Mayor of New York to mark his outstanding contributions to combat tobacco use worldwide.

Professor Bert Brunekreef - profile image
Professor Bert Brunekreef

In recognition of his major contributions made to establish scientific evidence for the impact of the environment on lung health.

Professor Albert Osterhaus - profile image
Professor Albert Osterhaus

In recognition of his ground-breaking research into the viruses responsible for avian flu and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Professor Sir Richard Peto - profile image
Professor Sir Richard Peto

For pioneering epidemiological studies on tobacco-related deaths and cancer prevention.

Robert Loddenkemper - profile image
Robert Loddenkemper

For the European Lung White Book.

Gro Harlem Brundtland - profile image
Gro Harlem Brundtland

For launching the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Claude Lenfant - profile image
Claude Lenfant

For his outstanding work in the National Lung Heart and Blood Institute.

David Byrne - profile image
David Byrne

For his achievements in tobacco control in Europe.

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