Heart Failure Policy Summit 2024 speaker biographies

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Heart failure as a top priority: the road to political commitment


Dr Pedro Gullón

Pedro Gullón MD MPH is the General Director of Public Health and Equity in Spain. During the pandemic, Dr. Gullón worked on evaluating non-pharmacological interventions, studying the social inequalities related to Covid-19, and researching the determinants of vaccination and vaccine hesitancy. He holds a degree in Medicine from the University of Alcalá and is a specialist in Preventive Medicine and Public Health. He also holds a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Alcalá de Henares and a doctorate in Epidemiology and Public Health from the same university.



Dr Alice Borghini

Dr Alice Borghini is Director of the Digital Health and Telemedicine Unit at the National Agency for Regional Healthcare Services, Italy. She received a doctorate in Management Innovation, Sustainability and Healthcare at Sant’Anna Scuola Universitaria Superiore Pisa. At the Summit, she will share her insights on Italy’s vision for the management of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease.



Demetris Papadakis MEP

Demetris Papadakis MEP is a member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, and is involved in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. Since October 2023, he has been a Policy Champion of the European Heart Failure Mission.




Professor Bela Merkely

Professor Béla Merkely is a Hungarian interventional and sport cardiologist and heart failure specialist. He has been the Director of Semmelweis University’s Heart and Vascular Centre since 2007 and is the university’s current Rector. Between 2010 and 2013 he was President of the Hungarian Society of Cardiology, and since 2018 he has been Honorary President. He is also Honorary President of the Hungarian Heart Rhythm Association, and between 2016 and 2018 he was Vice-President of the European Society of Cardiology. His major research interests include the non-pharmacological treatment of heart failure, new techniques in interventional cardiology, both invasive and non-invasive imaging in heart failure, arrhythmias and acute coronary syndromes, sport cardiology and cardiac remodelling of elite athletes.


Professor Dragos Vinereanu

Professor Dragos Vinereanu holds primary research interest in heart failure, atrial fibrillation, echocardiography, diagnosis of subclinical heart disease, and prevention of left ventricular dysfunction. He has been first author or co-author of more than 1,000 scientific presentations and more than 300 original full papers. He is a member of the Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences and Corresponding Member of the Romanian Academy. He was President of the Romanian Society of Cardiology from 2017 to 2020 and is current President of the Romanian Heart Foundation. His awards include a Health Merit Order from the Romanian Presidency, the “George Palade” Award from the Romanian College of Physicians, and the “Iuliu Hatieganu” Special Award for research from the Romanian Academy.


Dr Lisa Anderson

Dr Lisa Anderson is Chair of the British Society for Heart Failure. She also chairs the NHSE Expert Advisory Group for Heart Failure. Dr Anderson chairs the European Society for Cardiology HFA Women in HF Taskforce. Dr Anderson led the project to open the UK’s first acute heart failure inpatient unit, providing specialist nursing, therapy, and cardiac care to patients with heart failure. She also wrote the proposal for the national patient outcome enquiry into deaths in acute heart failure in 2018.



Professor Salvatore Di Somma

Salvatore Di Somma is a clinical cardiologist and internist. He has published more than 300 papers in the field of acute cardiac care, cardiology and emergency medicine. Professor Di Somma is also the scientific-committee chairman of the Italian Association of Patients with Heart Failure (AISC), a member of the European Society of Cardiology (ECS) Acute Cardiovascular Care Association (ACCA) Working Group and a member of the directive council of the Italian Association of Heart Failure (ITAHFA).



Marc Bains

Marc is a passionate patient advocate determined to use his experience of living with heart failure to help other patients enjoy a better quality of life. Marc was diagnosed with heart failure at the age of 23 and received a transplant 10 years later. In 2016, he co-founded HeartLife Foundation, Canada’s only patient-led heart failure organisation, which calls for the creation of a national standard of care for Canadians living with heart disease and their carers. Marc is also Co-Lead for the Canadian Heart Function Alliance, a research network focused on the prevention, diagnosis and management of heart failure.



Nick Hartshorne-Evans

Nick Hartshorne-Evans was diagnosed with heart failure at age 39. His experience stimulated him to develop the only dedicated, patient-led heart failure charity in the UK, the Pumping Marvellous Foundation. It now manages the world’s largest online community of heart failure patients, delivering patient-led solutions developed by the patients themselves. Nick regularly engages in global, regional and national patient advocacy, along with delivering patient-led collaborative solutions at a local level.



Dr Rajiv Sankaranarayanan

Dr Sankaranarayanan has received several awards for his leadership in improving heart failure care in hospital and community settings, including the Roy Award from the Pumping Marvellous Foundation. He helped create the world’s first virtual multi-morbidity heart failure multidisciplinary team and develop Liverpool’s acute heart failure virtual ward. He worked on the UK’s first NHS mobile app for heart failure patients, and has been involved in integrating AI in heart scans to help detect early signs of heart failure. He is also an NIHR Advanced Research Scholar and an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Liverpool.

NB: Dr Sankaranarayanan will also be speaking in Session 2.


Aistė Štaraitė

Aistė Štaraitė became a powerful voice for patients following her end-stage heart failure diagnosis in 2016. Since then, she has fully dedicated her time to patient advocacy, and in 2019 she became President of the Lithuanian Heart Failure Association. Aistė has also been Chair of the Heart Failure Patient Council at Global Heart Hub and their Development Executive / Council Lead for Heart Failure. Her goal is to empower people with heart failure to become equal and valuable stakeholders in decision-making, by collaborating with peers to drive heart failure awareness and patient education.



Professor Kostas Athanasakis

Professor Athanasakis is an economist by training. His current research focuses on Health Technology Assessment, economic evaluation of healthcare interventions, and pharmaceutical policy. He is also interested in health system financing and sustainability.

He served as Chairman of the 17th and 18th European Congress of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, and as an adviser to both the World Bank and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. He is an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care.


Hans Martens

Hans Martens is President of the General Assembly of the European Association of Value-Based Health Care. He is also a Senior Advisor to the European Policy Centre (EPC). Alongside these roles, he works as an independent consultant on a number of projects relating to health and energy policies, including on the wider economics of health and care, outcomes measurements, health system comparisons and evaluation, and public and private healthcare.



James Kennedy, Dr Brenda Moura and Professor Petar Seferović will also be speaking in Session 1 of the Heart Failure Policy Summit 2024.



Learning from change–makers: real–world successes in heart failure


Professor John Teerlink

Professor Teerlink is Director of Heart Failure and of Echocardiography at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and a Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. He is involved in the design and execution of many heart failure clinical trials, investigating new drugs and devices as well as working with regulatory agencies. He serves as a consultant on pre-clinical and clinical development programs in cardiology. He is also Immediate Past President of the Heart Failure Society of America.



Dr Jozine ter Maaten

Dr Jozine ter Maaten is a cardiologist at University Medical Center Groningen. She completed her PhD on diuretic response and renal biomarkers in heart failure in 2016, and since that time has been involved in research focusing on congestion and improving diuretic response and outcomes in acute heart failure patients. She recently successfully conducted an investigator initiated randomized controlled trial studying natriuresis guided diuretic therapy in acute heart failure patients. She additionally is the medical leader of a the Dutch national initiative ‘Deltaplan Heart Failure’ that aims to create awareness for heart failure and improve care for heart failure patients in the Netherlands.



Leeanne Macklin

Leeanne Macklin has over 20 years’ experience working in cardiology, with a focus on heart failure. She has held several roles on cardiology wards, including Chest Pain Nurse Specialist and Cardiology Nurse Practitioner. She now holds a split role of Senior Cardiology Advanced Nurse Practitioner working in Forth Valley Hospital, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and National Heart Disease Improvement Coordinator for the Scottish Government. She obtained an MSc in Advanced Nursing and Professional Practice, and her academic work focused on heart failure across the spectrum. She was the Project Lead Nurse in a large clinical trial, ‘Optimising a digital diagnostic pathway for Heart Failure in the community’, which took place in Glasgow during the second and third waves of COVID-19. The study reduced waiting times for heart failure diagnosis from >12months to <12weeks.


Professor Izabella Uchmanowicz

Professor Izabella Uchmanowicz is President of the Association of Cardiovascular Nursing & Allied Professions, and Chief Nurse at the Institute of Heart Diseases and Head of the Department of Nursing and Midwives at Wroclaw Medical University Hospital in Poland. Her research is mostly devoted to heart failure and the problems of patients living with the disease. She is especially interested in elderly people with cardiovascular disorders, and her main interests are frailty syndrome and nutritional problems in this population. 



Rodolfo Pike

Rodolfo Pike is an accomplished Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialising in heart failure. In recognition of his expertise, Rodolfo was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Heart Failure Society, where he contributes to advances in heart failure research, education and advocacy. As a secondary panelist for the Canadian Heart Failure Guidelines, Rodolfo plays a pivotal role in shaping standards of care for heart failure patients. Rodolfo’s commitment to improving heart failure care extends beyond national boundaries. He is involved in the development and implementation of the National Heart Failure Action Plan with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, which aims to enhance heart failure management and outcomes on a broader scale.



Professor Giuseppe Rosano, Professor Ken McDonald and Dr Marilyn Prasun will also be speaking in Session 2 of the Heart Failure Policy Summit 2024.

The Heart Failure Policy Network is an independent, multidisciplinary platform made possible with financial support from AstraZeneca and Roche Diagnostics. The content produced by the Network is not biased toward any specific treatment or therapy. All outputs are guided and endorsed by the Network’s members. All members provide their time for free. The Network is hosted by The Health Policy Partnership .