Global patient societies gather in Greece for capacity building conference

IOF-WWC 2015 Athens attendees
IOF members from 39 countries met in Athens for the 15th IOF Worldwide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Societies from September 11-13, 2015.

The IOF Worldwide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Societies (IOF-WWC), held every two years, is a highly anticipated event for IOF’s family of patient societies.

With its outstanding programme, the 2015 IOF-WWC provided 120 participants from 39 countries with an opportunity to share best practice and exchange knowledge on how best to tackle the growing burden of osteoporosis and related fractures in their countries.

The conference, which took place in Athens from September 11-13, 2015, was organized by IOF in cooperation with the Butterfly Bone Health Society (Greece).

Delegates were officially welcomed at the opening by Dr Fotis Patsourakos of the Medical Association of Athens. IOF was also delighted to have the participation of two local celebrities: actress Yvonni Maltezou who spoke on ‘Acting to avoid osteoporosis and fractures’, and well-known Greek Chef Niki Merkouri, who cooked bone-friendly recipes for delegates during the conference. Mrs Yulia Petrakakis, a patient and member of the Butterfly Bone Health Society shared her personal story of life with osteoporosis.

Inspiring key note addresses were made, with Cary Adams, CEO, Union for International Cancer Control, speaking about ‘The Power of Patient Societies’ and the essential role they play in educating people, driving general awareness as well as providing much needed care and support. She was followed by Katie Dain, Executive Director, NCD Alliance, who highlighted how non-communicable diseases had gained increasing political momentum and the opportunities this now presented for the musculoskeletal health community to raise the disease profile on global health agendas.

The two-and-a-half day programme also featured a Roundtable, numerous topical plenary sessions (including a science update by IOF key opinion leaders) and interactive workshops on topics such as fundraising, social media and exercise.

Social activities included exercise breaks, a live cooking demonstration under the World Osteoporosis Day motto ‘Serve up bone strength’, the presentation of two awards, and a new feature called ‘Business Speed Dating.’ The latter was a fun way for the delegates to network by meeting one-on-one with corporate partners, speakers and scientists.

The IOF Linda Edwards Memorial Award, one of the most prestigious of IOF Awards presented every two years to an outstanding IOF patient society, was awarded to the Hungarian Osteoporosis Patient Association (HOPA) for its project ‘Don’t Fall, Don’t Break’. The World Osteoporosis Day Campaign Award was presented to ‘OSTEORUS’ which, in affiliation with the Russian Osteoporosis Association, is carrying out an innovative and far-reaching 2015 campaign.

Judy Stenmark, CEO, IOF stated,

I’d like to thank all the speakers and workshop leaders for their participation and excellent sessions. Delegates gave very positive feedback showing that the sessions and Workshops were well received. The programme provided new insights and valuable information that will help inform their important work at the local level.”

She also thanked IOF-WWC sponsors - AgNovos Healthcare, Amgen, California Prune Board (Europe), and MSD - for their generous unrestricted support, as well as the Butterfly Bone Society for its hospitality and invaluable assistance in organizing the conference.

The Conference created some media buzz in Greece, particularly as the launch of the Greek-language IOF Calcium Calculator was announced in conjunction with the event.
Media reports appeared in leading papers, and more than 2000 people carried the test within a few days of its launch.

In the press release issued prior to the opening, Ms Memi Tsekoura, President of the Butterfly Bone Health Society summed up the importance of the event, stating,

The volunteers who work on behalf of patient societies worldwide carry out outstanding work at the grass roots level in their countries. They actively promote professional and public health education as well as lobbying on behalf of patients with chronic, serious diseases. This conference serves not just to enhance the skills of these non- profit organizations and their volunteers, it also gives them recognition for their highly important work.”

> Summary slide set


IOF Worldwide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Societies - Greece 2015

Posted by International Osteoporosis Foundation on Friday, September 11, 2015 


2015 IOF Worldwide Conference of Osteoporosis Patient Societies