Our collaboration with the European University Hospital Alliance

Learn more about Prof Francesco Dazzi’s brainchild King’s Health Partners - “Meet the expert” – global, clinical seminars and how we are partnering with the European University Hospital Alliance (EUHA) to deliver this innovative series.

meet the experts mapIn April 2020, Prof Francesco Dazzi, Vice Dean (International) and Head of Regenerative Medicine, King’s College London, proposed an idea for a new online webinar to Prof Anne Greenough, King’s Health Partners, Director of Education and Training. The aim of the series would be to create a forum where medical experts can share their honest experiences about treating patients with COVID-19 with others from across the globe. The series, originally named “Global: How I manage COVID-19 patients – meet the expert”, was born and has proved incredibly useful to academics, staff and students as they sought to understand the novel virus at its outbreak and continue to provide the best possible patient care throughout the pandemic.

Since its launch, the series has broadened its remit to include more key topics from the world of medical academia alongside COVID-19, and has welcomed more than 2,500 viewers, globally. The series is now officially hosted in collaboration with the EUHA.

We caught up with Prof Francesco Dazzi, Prof Anne Greenough and Joseph Casey, King’s Health Partners Director of Partnerships and Programmes, to talk about the series and our partnership with the EUHA.

Please describe the purpose of the “Meet the expert” – global, clinical seminar series.

Francesco: Early on in 2020, Anne and I were collaborating on something completely different – developing a new international clinical trials platform. Then COVID-19 disrupted everything. At that point we had lower levels of infections and were behind other countries who were already experiencing the severity of the novel virus. In particular, China and Italy who were badly affected at that time, with Spain and France closely behind, and no doubt, the UK to follow.

We thought we could create a space where we could learn from countries already handling the virus and exchange knowledge, in these very difficult circumstances. With thanks to the invaluable support of King’s Health Partners Education Academy Administration Manager, Rachael Jarvis, and our Learning Technologist, Paul Gillary, how the “Meet the expert” – global, clinical seminar series started. The first talk in the series featured a respiratory physician from King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Jimstan Periselneris, talking about the Trust’s COVID-19 experiences. It was a highly attended session, with more than 115 participants, vouching for the overwhelming interest and trepidation for an entirely novel and devastating disease, and the need to capture how others were handling it.

Anne: Absolutely as Francesco has said. There was a feeling around March and April 2020 that there were not only things that we could learn from other countries dealing with the virus, but it also felt necessary to set up a space to share those learnings with countries who, at that point, were behind the COVID-19 wave and had not yet been as greatly affected.

The series was very much about sharing first-hand experiences across the globe whilst caring for patients with COVID-19 and providing crucial information about how logistics, support and therapeutic approaches could help.

Please describe how the first few sessions of “Meet the expert” – global, clinical seminar series felt.

Anne: People have been extremely open and honest in their presentations and shared real example of when things that gone wrong when caring for patients. Listening to our colleagues in Brazil for example, was just devasting. When we went to New York with the series, we saw the chaos they experienced in the beginning of the pandemic, and how within three weeks, they turned it around, by people taking on different roles to support the effort against COVID-19.

In the UK, we have also learnt about many surgeons rolling up their sleeves and acting in many roles to support the collective effort against the virus.

The whole series really has just been extraordinary. I still remember the presentation from Dresden, where they said, that the area was not badly hit by COVID-19, and that they could have carried on as normal with their healthcare but instead opened their doors to patients with COVID-19 from France and Italy. That is exactly something that we wanted to capture in this series; as well as finding out about the latest COVID-19 research and how in some countries non-COVID-19 services were able to be maintained.

When did you decide to open the series to other specialities?

Anne: In the summer of 2020, we took the decision to open the series up to other key healthcare topics, outside COVID-19, which has been hugely successful.  Our most recent seminar, on CAR T cell therapy, with Dr Reuben Benjamin, consultant haematologist at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and honorary senior lecturer, King’s College London, had more than 200 people joining from around the world. The other topics we have explored, include therapies to cure blood cancers and looking at the early onset of psychosis. These sessions have been incredibly useful and interesting to people and there is no doubt that we will continue the series for a long period of time.

Anne: With credit to Francesco, the format is incredibly good. Each session lasts 30 minutes, with 15 minutes for the presentation and 15 minutes to answer questions. The speakers are all aware they are speaking to a very wide-ranging audience, with varying levels of knowledge on the topic. The sessions also take place over lunch to increase participation.

Traditionally lectures would usually last around an hour or so, but we appreciate, at the moment, people just do not have that type of time. The format is incredibly successful with colleagues’ current schedules – it really works.

Please describe the work of the EUHA.

Joseph: The EUHA’s mission is “to build a network of sustainable healthcare ecosystems that achieve the best possible outcomes with the resources available”. The alliance was formed in 2017 with the commitment of nine of the leading university hospitals in Europe to share their expertise in healthcare, research and education.

University hospitals play an important role in driving innovation and translating this into practice. Through the alliance, our members aim to play an active role in shaping the future of European health care, learn from each other to continuously improve patient outcomes and combine efforts to advance research.

Please tell us the benefits of King’s Health Partners collaborating with the EUHA for the “Meet the expert” – global, clinical seminar series.

Joseph: Building and strengthening our relationship with the EUHA, throughout the pandemic, has been incredible.

In particular, the EUHA has been incredibly helpful in supporting and rapidly sharing information and expertise during this time of profound uncertainty.

One of the first contributors to the series, for example, was from San Raffaele in Italy, one of our EUHA partners. Dr Fabio Ciceri presented on COVID-19 clinical and biological insights from the IRCSS San Raffaele Hospital. Even before the webinar took place people in clinical and operational roles were jumping on calls with one another to share their experiences in Northern Italy, to help inform preparations for COVID-19 taking place in other countries.

Another example of the benefit of collaborating with the EUHA is that when we started planning our vaccine roll out, we were able to reach out to colleagues in Germany to ask if there was any guidance on logistical planning, that could support our own.

A key benefit has been about using these relationships in support of clinical, academic and operational teams responding in the best way they possibly can, in timeframes which none of us could have previously imagined.

You can catch-up on King’s Health Partners - “Meet the expert” – global, clinical seminars on our Learning Hub.

Liked this article? Read experts from around the world share how they are managing patients with COVID-19.