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Philips Foundation webinar series on strengthening healthcare access


Heartfelt inequalities
Access to cardiovascular care for underserved communities in Europe

September 2023, Philips Foundation will hosted its seventh webinar in a series dedicated to strengthening access to quality healthcare for underserved communities. This webinar concentrated on cardiovascular disease in Europe, which remains a leading cause of mortality on the continent, particularly for those lacking access to quality services.


To gain more insight into our approach to improving access to cardiovascular care in underserved communities worldwide, you can view a previous edition from our series, which delved into methods to enhance the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of various heart diseases.


Philips Foundation Webinar 7


You'll hear from key opinion leaders and our partner organizations that have been actively engaged in improving access to cardiovascular care in underserved communities of Europe.


You can now watch the recording.

Background information


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) rank as the foremost cause of mortality in Europe. CVD is responsible for approximately one-fifth of premature deaths (before the age of 65 years) within the European Union. 


While the number of heart disease-related deaths in Europe has declined over the years due to enhanced treatments, advanced healthcare, and increased awareness of risk factors, there remains a disparity in access to this care, leading to varied outcomes. 


Particularly, underserved groups such as refugees, ethnic minorities, and individuals with low income, limited education, and low employment rates often face a higher risk from CVD factors and generally encounter poorer health outcomes. Notably, the Central Eastern European region registers the highest CVD mortality compared to other European regions.


Technological innovations, such as point-of-care ultrasound and tele-ultrasound, can help eliminate certain obstacles, ensuring individuals receive the care they rightfully need.


The European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health (EACH) emphasizes that to ensure the European cardiovascular health plan's success and impact, it's crucial to address the existing inequities and barriers to accessing cardiovascular care. A primary initiative at the Philips Foundation revolves around enhancing access to CVD care in underserved communities.


Through strategic collaborations, Philips Foundation has been working on innovative strategies to bolster access to cardiovascular care in underserved areas across the globe. In this upcoming webinar, our goal is to delve into the complexities of cardiovascular health in Europe and shed light on the societal obstacles and disparities affecting access to cardiovascular care in the region.


Our guest speakers exchanged insights, shared experiences, and offered best practices on sustainable models of improving access to cardiovascular health in underserved communities in Europe. The webinar addressed the topic as follows: 


  1. Discuss the impact of CVD in Europe, emphasizing the uneven access to CVD care and focusing on the geographical, societal, and social determinants of health that contribute to the disparities in cardiovascular health across the continent.
  2. Share country-specific learnings from Italy, Romania and the United Kingdom on improving access to CV health in underserved areas in Europe. 
  3. Discuss the opportunities, lessons learned, and best practices that can inform the design of impactful CV health programs for underserved communities in Europe.

Confirmed speakers


Guest speaker 
Prof. Fausto Pinto
Professor of Cardiology
University of Lisbon, Portugal

Professor Pinto is a Full Professor of Cardiology/Medicine and currently serves as the Head of the Cardiovascular Department at Santa Maria University Hospital. He is also the President of the Cardiovascular Center of the University of Lisbon (CCUL) in Lisbon, Portugal. He was the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Lisbon from 2015-2022, the President and founder of the European Association of Echocardiography from 2003-2004, the President of the European Society of Cardiology from 2014-2016, and the President of the World Heart Federation from 2021-2022. He is a Fellow and Gold Medalist of the European Society of Cardiology (FESC), European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (FEACVI), American College of Cardiology (FACC), American Society of Angiology (FASA), Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions (FSCAI), and the American Society of Echocardiography (FASE). Additionally, he is an honorary member of several international societies and academies.

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Guest speaker 
Dr. Valerio Mogini
Emergency Physician
Red Cross Italy

Dr. Mogini, MD, is a Public Health practitioner who specializes in health responses in emergency contexts and community-based projects. After completing his Public Health training, Dr. Mogini began working with the Italian Red Cross. He initially served as the coordinator of the biocontainment unit and later as the coordinator of emergency health responses both domestically and internationally. In this capacity, Dr. Mogini managed components of the Covid response for the Italian Red Cross, including Biocontainment Units and Mass Vaccination Centers. He also oversaw epidemic and pandemic preparedness projects in developing countries. As the Head of Health Emergency Response at the Italian Red Cross, he has been instrumental in supporting community health projects in humanitarian settings as well as within the national landscape.

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Guest speaker
Lecturer M.D. Ştefan Busnatu
Carol Davila University, Romania

Dr. Stefan Busnatu is a cardiologist at the Bagdasar Arseni Emergency Clinical Hospital and a Lecturer and Vice-Dean at the Faculty of Medicine of the "Carol Davila" University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest. In 2022, he was elected as a member of the Secondary Prevention and Rehabilitation Nucleus (ESC/EAPC) as well as the EAPC Young Community Core Group. Dr. Busnatu initiates and promotes communication campaigns that emphasize the importance of heart health and encourage the adoption of healthy behaviors throughout the year. He fervently supports and champions local innovation and collaborative initiatives in the medical field. As the Coordinator of the Center for Innovation and eHealth at UMFCD, he spearheads projects in the domain of digital health.

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Guest speaker
Dr. Rajay Narain
Cardiologist & Director
Global Health Alliance, UK

Dr. Narain is the Founding Director of the Global Health Alliance in the UK. Additionally, he serves as an Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at St. George's University Hospital in London. He is a Council Member for Myocardial & Pericardial Diseases and Stroke at the European Society of Cardiology. Dr. Narain is also the Director of the UK Cardiovascular & Diabetes Innovation Network (UKCDIN). As part of this initiative, he established the UK's first Cardio-Metabolic Clinic within the NHS at St. George's Hospital in London. Furthermore, he acts as an advisor on Cardio-Metabolic diseases to the governments of both Ukraine and India.

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Victor de Boer
Program Manager
Philips Foundation

Victor de Boer serves as the Program Manager for the Philips Foundation. Over a span of five years with the foundation, he has cultivated expertise in public health and the world of non-governmental organizations, steering the organization's commitment to global health initiatives. Beyond his core responsibilities, De Boer collaborates with multiple international health organizations, underscoring the importance of multidisciplinary teaming up. Critical to his role is the establishment of public-private partnerships, promoting sustainable health advancements worldwide.
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