European Institute of Women’s Health 2016-17 Programme

About Us

The European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) advocates for an equitable, sex- and gender-sensitive approach in health policy, research, promotion, treatment and care:

  • Promote health across the lifespan in women, men and children.
  • Ensure quality and equity in health policy, research, prevention, treatment and care for all.
  • Draw policymaker’s attention to the obstacles that women in minority, migrant/refugee and socio-economic 
disadvantaged groups face in obtaining a desirable health status.
  • Empower individuals to play an active part in their own health management.
  • Promote biomedical and socio-economic research that addresses sex and gender-based differences so ensuring access to quality treatment and care for women across their lifespan.

The EIWH aims to reduce health inequities—in particular those due to gender, age and socio economic status—by highlighting that sex and gender are important determinants of health. Therefore, the understanding of the variation between women and men in the vulnerability to as well as the onset, diagnosis, progression and treatment of specific diseases must be improved.

Key Target Groups for 2016 -17

  • The European Commission, including but not limited to DG SANTE, DG RTD, DG JUST, DG CONNECT and DG EMPL
  • The European Parliament -EPPE
  • European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
  • The Council Presidencies of  (the Netherlands, Slovakia, Malta, Estonia) and all EU Member States, NGOs, social and health researchers, healthcare professionals, government and academic organisations
  • Patients and healthy people, especially marginalised, vulnerable groups and all interested citizens.

Key Priorities

  • Active and healthy ageing across the lifespan, including increasing healthy life years
  • Prevention of chronic disease
  • Health promotion with a focus on combating smoking, drinking and obesity among women
  • Maternal and infant health
  • Integration of sex and gender into healthcare professional education
  • Inclusion of sex and gender in medicines regulation
  • Vaccination across the lifespan
  • Social determinants of health
  • Migrant and refugee health
  • EIWH communications and membership expansion
  • Continuated interaction with the EMA on the Patient and Consumer Working Party on safe medicines use as well as with the ECDC on European Antibiotic Resistance Day and European Immunisation Week
  • Celebration of 20 years of the European Institute of Women’s Health

European Projects and Activities

Joint Action on Chronic Diseases (DG SANTE)

More than 80% of persons over 65 suffer from a chronic condition. While over 17% of the population is presently 65 or older, this proportion is expected to increase to 20% by 2020 and to 23% by 2030. The ageing population, which is disproportionately comprised of women due to their greater longevity, will increase the risk of suffering from chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, mental health problems, cancer, respiratory and metabolic diseases. The risk of multi-morbidity increases along with greater life expectancy.

The EIWH is an associate partner in the CHRODIS Joint Action, which addresses chronic diseases and promotes healthy ageing across the life cycle. The project is co-financed by the EU Health Programme. The CHRODIS Joint Action involves 38 organisations from 22 Member States, Norway and Iceland; it runs until the end of March 2017. The aim of CHRODIS-JA is to support Member States to collaborate in the exchange of information on models of good practice in dealing with chronic diseases, with a specific emphasis on the promotion of healthy lifestyles and the prevention of disease and a particular focus on diabetes, CVD and stroke. The focus is health promotion and primary prevention as well as the management of diabetes and multi-morbid chronic conditions. The EIWH is contributing to all the WPS, including the workshops on prevention and multimorbidity. …more on chrodis

EUGenMed Project (FP7 Health)

The interaction of S&G related mechanisms leads to different manifestation of frequent diseases such as infarction, heart failure, diabetes and rheumatic disease in women and in men. Research in this area leads to novel, better targeted and, therefore, more efficient treatment strategies than the previous global approaches with the potential to increase prevention and healthy life expectancy.

The EIWH is a partner with Charite Universitaetsklinik and Maastricht University, a two year DG Research project. The European Gender Medicine (EUGenMed) project produced a roadmap for implementation of S&G in biomedicine and health research and created a Gender Health Network. The project brought together experts in the field along with key stakeholders from government, academia, industry, non-profit and healthcare. The EIWH was responsible for two workshops: medical education and medicines regulations. The results of the workshops provided input into the Roadmap.
 Based on the evidence collected by the project, the resulting roadmap with its recommendations is being communicated to the leading European bodies, biomedical research organisations, and a multi stakeholder audience consisting of patient and health professional groups.

ENS4Care Project (DG CONNECT)

The EIWH is an associate partner in the ENS4Care project (Evidence Based Guidelines for Nursing and Social Care on eHealth services) through a sustainable Thematic Network. The project is coordinated by the European Federation of Nurses Associations (EFN) and funded by DG CONNECT. The ultimate goal of the Thematic Network (TN) is the establishment of a sustainable mechanism to support nursing and social care research in the field of ICT enabled integrated care.

The main objective is the development of evidence based guidelines for the implementation of eHealth services in nursing and social care, building on existing good practices and guidelines amongst the participants of the Network, sharing and transferring knowledge across European regions. The TN will share existing guidelines and good nursing and social work practices in eHealth services (telehealth and telecare) and through evaluation and consensus building will create a set of guidelines with an initial focus on prevention, clinical practice in integrated care and special focus on skills development for advanced roles (e.g. case manager) and nurse-e-prescribing. The expected impact is foreseen in terms of increased deployment of eHealth in the EU and beyond, through the network but also through the memberships of the involved organisations. The TN will establish appropriate methodologies for development and uptake of the above-mentioned guidelines and will ensure its dissemination and publication to inform end users and public policy design based on the evidence collected.

ASSET Project (FP7)

Cancer control remains on the EU agenda with a new Joint Action 2014-2017 “Development of the European Guide on Quality Improvement in Comprehensive Cancer Control” (CanCon) led mainly by Member States. The EIWH is a collaborating partner in this new Joint Action, which follows the EPAAC Joint Action that ended in February 2014. The core work packages of CanCon include: guide coordination, platform for Member States’ cooperation, integrated cancer care, community-level cancer control, survivorship & rehabilitation, and screening.

The EIWH participates as expert in Workpackage 8, led by the French National Cancer Institute (INCA), which will produce Recommendations on Survivor ship and Rehabilitation. Over the past decades, the number of cancer survivors have increased drastically in Europe as well as in most high-income countries due to a progress in cancer early diagnostic and effectiveness of therapies. Survivor ship is generating specific needs either for those who are cured, or for those who live with cancer as a chronic disease. The challenge is how to integrate a rehabilitation and survivor ship plan into the continuum of care, from the onset of the disease.

European Medicines Agency, Patient and Consumer Working Party

The EMA regulates the approval of medicines in the EU. The EIWH is a member of the Patients and Consumer Working Party (PCWP) comprised of twenty patient and consumer organisations from across the EU. The group’s task is to provide the patient perspective in the regulatory process and make recommendations to EMA on matters of interest to patients in relation to medicinal products.
As users of the medicines approved by the EMA, patients and consumers have specific knowledge and expertise to offer. Women are some of the heaviest users of medicines, starting early with birth control pills and across their lifespan as longevity champions. Additionally, due to women’s reproductive and caring role in society, women have a specific interest in, but also knowledge to offer about medicines use for themselves and their families. The new Clinical Trial Regulation requires more transparency and information on sex/gender and age-specific data and makes this available on the EU Portal and Clinical Trials Data base.


Sex, Gender and Health: Policy Briefing Series

Chronic disease is the leading cause of illness and death in the EU; these diseases heavily burden EU citizens and their healthcare systems. Since 2012, the EIWH has and will continue to generate factsheets on a variety of chronic diseases. These policy briefings are succinct and in easily understood language to raise understanding of sex and gender differences in patients and their organisations, women themselves, health policy makers and increase awareness of the differences between women and men at national and EU levels. The briefs describe how gender impacts various chronic diseases and include policy recommendations in order to inform policymakers, stakeholders, and EU citizens.

Past topics have included: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, lung cancer, alcohol, smoking, asthma, HIV/AIDS and vaccination. The EIWH will continue its series by updating and translating selected PBs. Moreover, additional policy briefs will be generated on a range of topics such as depression, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, refugee health, healthcare professional education, osteoporosis, medicines regulation, caregiving, cervical cancer, Lupus, incontinence and pancreatic cancer.

The Institute will also continue its series of briefings on maternal health, which started with pregnancy and smoking. The EIWH will write briefings on various maternal health topics including safe use of medicines during pregnancy and gestational diabetes.

Sex, Gender and Health Across the Lifespan:
Celebrating 20 Years of the European Institute of Women’s Health

In celebration of twenty years of the European Institute of Women’s Health, a report will be generated explaining the activities of the Institute over the last two decades. Future priorities and steps for action will be detailed. The report will be presented at the anniversary conference.

New Strategic Initiatives
Sex, Gender and Health Across the Lifespan: Celebrating 20 Years of the European Institute of Women’s Health

In celebration of twenty years of the European Institute of Women’s Health, a conference will be held in Brussels in late 2016, early 2017. The role that the EIWH has played in improving women and family health in Europe over the last twenty years will be outlined and future goals will be outlined. Key stakeholders from throughout the EU will present on a range of topics addressing women and family health across the lifespan. The report will be launched at the anniversary conference.

Expert Membership Expansion and Consultation

This year, we will continue to provide updates on developments related to the health of women and their families at local, national and European levels. We will also support Expert Members who wish to increase their involvement in our organisation. We will be increasing consultation and involvement in Institute activities for interested Expert Members. In 2016, we will introduce biannual teleconferences to update and ask for input on Institute activities. We will also consult interested expert members on Institute work in their areas of interest and expertise.

European Coalition on Prevention

Following the EU Chronic Disease Summit, the Commission recommended setting up a coalition across society towards achieving effective and smarter approaches to the prevention of chronic diseases, the preservation of the best possible health status, and the sustainability of modern health systems, to maximise the healthy life years enjoyed by EU citizens and to trigger economic and social development. The EIWH will actively work to develop, support and participate in this coalition.

EU Vaccination Strategy and Communication

Despite past successes in elimination major infectious disease, the benefit of vaccination has become a neglected public health measure. Following the Italian Presidency Conclusion of 2014, the EIWH highlights the benefit of vaccination across the life-course and advocates for the Commission and EU Member States to develop a comprehensive life-course coordinated, vaccination strategy that is supported by robust, coherent and evidence-based communication programmes to restore public trust in vaccination. The EIWH continues to be actively engaged in promoting the public health value of vaccinations and encouraging the development of EU-wide vaccination strategy.

Healthy Pregnancy

The EIWH has identified the Safe Use of Medication during Pregnancy as an unmet medical need. Europe lacks a robust and comprehensive regulatory and information system about safe medicines use during pregnancy and lactation. It is estimated that over 80% of pregnant women take medicines, however there is little information available to determine the risk to both mother and child about the use of medicines during pregnancy. In order to improve maternal health, and subsequently the health of the future generation, reliable and up to date information should be available and easily accessible for women who are planning pregnancy or are already pregnant and to their health professionals to advise them. The EIWH will produce a series of policy briefings on healthy pregnancy to increase awareness. We will work with the European Board and College of Obstetricians and Gyneacologists (EBCOG) and other key stakeholders to bring this gap in public health to the attention of the policymakers and the European Medicines Agency. We will highlight important issues such as the recommendations from the EUROmediCAT research project for a comprehensive pharmacovigilance system on the safe use of medicines in pregnancy through our policy briefs, newsletters and meetings.

Implementation of the Clinical Trials Regulation

The EIWH will continue its advocacy work on including women in biomedical research and clinical trials to ensure medicines are evidence based for women during the implementation of the new Clinical Trials Regulation. Recent position papers have been written on Horizon 2020–Agenda for Women’s Health and the Clinical Trials Regulation.

Advisory Roles

The EIWH will continue in its role as advisor to the following:

  • European Medicines Agency
  • The European Cancer Partnership Second Joint Action
  • European Public Health Alliance, member of Policy Co-ordination Group
  • European Patients Forum, Member of Policy Committee
  • EFPIA Patient/Industry Think Tank
  • EU Fundamental Rights Agency, NGO Platform
  • European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
  • EIP on Active and Healthy Ageing—Action Group on Falls Prevention, Strategic Implementation Plan 
of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP AHA)—Action A2
  • Member of Ethics Board of EHR4CR (Electronic Health Records for Clinical Research) 
WHO Women’s Health Report
  • Horizon 2020 Steering Group for Societal Change 1 “Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing
  • Expert Advisor to WHO Women’s Strategy 2016
  • Cooperating partner in the World Congress on Women’s Mental Health (March 2017)