Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer of the British Heart Foundation, has been announced as President of the European Heart Network.
Charmaine has been the interim President for the past six months and will assume her leadership role effective immediately, following her election by members at the EHN conference in Madrid last week.
She takes over the presidency from Floris Italianer, former CEO of the Dutch Heart Foundation, who has completed his terms as President.
United in improving cardiovascular health in Europe
Formed of 27 members, the EHN plays a leading role in the prevention and reduction of heart and circulatory diseases through advocacy, networking, capacity-building, representing patient interests, and research.
Each year heart and circulatory diseases cause 3.9 million deaths in Europe and over 1.8 million deaths in the European Union. The conditions, which include coronary heart disease and stroke, are the main causes of death in men in all but 12 European countries and are the main cause of death in women in all but two countries.
Charmaine has been on the Board of the EHN since February 2020, when she became British Heart Foundation’s Chief Executive, and the BHF has been a member of the EHN since 1992.
Taking on Europe’s biggest health challenge
Charmaine said: “I’m delighted to become President at a critical time for people with heart and circulatory diseases and look forward to working closely with the talented EHN team, its members and partner organisations. I’d also like to thank Floris for his exceptional contribution as previous President and warm welcome to the EHN.
“Heart and circulatory diseases, including heart attack and stroke, are among the leading causes of death and disability across Europe and represent one of the continent’s biggest health challenges.
“The work of the EHN is crucial as it gives us a unique forum to unite the expertise of leading heart foundations and associations across the continent and use our shared voice to advocate on behalf of people with heart and circulatory diseases. It’s this type of collaboration between members that will give us the best chance of reducing the death and suffering that heart and circulatory diseases cause across Europe, at a time when this has never been more needed.”
A powerful voice in Europe
Birgit Beger, Chief Executive of the European Heart Network welcomed Charmaine to the role:
“It is a pleasure to welcome Charmaine as the next President of the EHN and we thank her for the leadership and commitment she has shown as interim President. We look forward to building on her work so far, as we seek to be a powerful voice in helping to improve Europe’s cardiovascular health and ensure people affected by cardiovascular diseases receive the best possible support and care.”
Charmaine has held roles at the major medical research funders; the Institute of Cancer Research and Wellcome and has a PhD in Neuroscience from University College London. Her non-executive experience includes roles at the Human Tissue Authority, the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Brain Research UK and the Cranfield Trust.