HERA needs direct involvement of university hospitals

In a joint statement issued today, the European University Hospital Alliance (EUHA), together with the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and European Global Health Research Institutes Network (EGHRIN), argues that university hospitals and academia are first line actors in preparing and responding to health emergencies and as such, HERA would benefit from a direct and high-level involvement of university hospitals and academia in HERA activities.

Barcelona & Leuven, 7th December 2021.
The EU’s Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) aims to boost Europe’s capacity to prepare and respond to health threats in Europe. Launched in September 2021, HERA is now actively being prepared to become operational in the beginning of 2022.

In a joint statement issued today, the European University Hospital Alliance (EUHA), together with the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and European Global Health Research Institutes Network (EGHRIN), argues that university hospitals and academia are first line actors in preparing and responding to health emergencies and as such, HERA would benefit from a direct and high-level involvement of university hospitals and academia in HERA activities. Through vaccine development, pioneering new treatments, analyzing epidemiological trends, and modelling societal trends, university hospitals and their affiliated universities and research institutes and their have played a crucial role in responding to the present covid pandemic.

University hospitals also played a critical role at the front line of patient care, including the very specialized intensive care that is the limiting factor in coping with the current COVID crisis, as research sites that evaluated and developed best practices & treatments and disseminated these into existing networks of collaborating hospitals and providers of reference sentinel and screening laboratory services.

Looking at the future, they also have a crucial role in preparing for pandemic situations, by identifying research and development needs around preparedness, forecasting outbreaks, pharmaceutical development and educating and training staff in vital areas such as biopharmaceutical development.

Involve university hospitals and academia in HERA We argue that the successful management of future health emergencies will need the expertise that is available at university hospitals and universities and call on HERA to develop a subgroup which will provide a bridge between academic partners such as universities, university hospitals and global health institutes and HERA. The European HERA, as a response agency can hereby resort to already well established and functioning European networks, which have the capacity to facilitate a coherent and timely response contribution from the side of academia.

Wim Robberecht,President of EUHA and CEO of University Hospitals Leuven said:

University Hospitals have played a crucial role in front-line care as well as development of COVID treatment and vaccines. Their involvement in HERA is needed to best prepare Europe for future cross-border health emergencies.

Kurt Deketelaere, Secretary-General, LERU said:

a direct connection between HERA and universities and their university hospitals will be a win-win for the European health sector. Universities and their hospitals have the necessary on the ground expertise both to feed into preparedness actions and to react to them.

The full statement can be accessed HERE