ESC Gold Medal awarded to Ireland's Minister for Health and Children

August 28, 2004

28 August 2004, Munich, Germany: This week, gold medals are not just for Olympic athletes; great leaps in the fight against cardiovascular disease are also worthy of official commendation. As such, the ESC is pleased to award the Gold Medal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) to Micheál Martin TD, the Minister for Health and Children of Ireland.

Professor Jean-Pierre Bassand, President of the ESC, will present the Gold Medal to Mr Martin at the Opening Ceremony of the ESC Congress 2004, 16.30 CET on Saturday 28 August 2004, in Munich, Germany. The ESC Congress is Europe's largest medical meeting, with 25,000 attendees each year, and is a leading international forum for debate, education and the advancement of global cardiology practice.

Mr Martin is receiving the Gold Medal in recognition of his pivotal role in moving cardiovascular disease up the political agenda in recent months, during Ireland's Presidency of the European Union, from January to June 2004. The Irish Department of Health and Children has taken the lead in a number of initiatives in both the public health and medical arena. All of these initiatives have been conducted with the significant involvement and support of the ESC.

Professor Bassand states, "It is my great honour to present the Gold Medal of the European Society of Cardiology to Mr Martin. It has been a pleasure to work with Mr Martin and the Irish Department of Health and Children during the Irish Presidency of the European Union. Mr Martin has made a major contribution to European cardiology standards and public health overall. We are proud to award Mr Martin with the highest accolade of the ESC and look forward to building upon our relationship with the Irish and the rest of the Ministries for Health of the European Union to further improve the cardiology practice and public policy in the fight against Europe's biggest killer - cardiovascular disease. "

Promoting Heart Health - A European Consensus

In February, the first of a series of initiatives focusing on heart health took place in the form of an expert meeting entitled 'Promoting Heart Health - A European Consensus', held in Cork, Ireland, and involving the Ministers for Health of all 25 states. At this meeting, the importance of a consistent approach to European cardiovascular care and provisions was discussed and the following six recommendations were agreed:These recommendations were presented to the European Council of Health Ministers in June 2004 and accepted unanimously and in full. Furthermore, the Health Council called upon the Member States to include heart health promotion in their national public health strategies and invited the European Commission to promote cardiovascular health in the framework of the Public Health Action Programme.

Cardiology Audit and Data Registration Standards

In May 2004, a further meeting took place, this time to address one of the key recommendations: the need for coordinated data collection across Europe. 'Cardiology Audit and Data Registration Standards' (CARDS), also held in Cork, Ireland, was developed by the Irish Department of Health and Children in partnership with the European Commission and the ESC. Its purpose was to set standards for data collection and analysis in clinical cardiology practice. As such, a consistency of approach was developed for use in institutional, national and international registries, in order to ensure quality and enable international comparison of health care processes and outcomes.

Three specific areas of cardiology data were addressed in the CARDS meeting:The expert committees reviewed existing databases and registries, assessed their adequacy for clinical audit, health service planning and epidemiological surveillance and also ensured consistency of definitions. The National Societies of Cardiology, the appropriate Working Groups and associations and the National Health Authorities were involved as well as two representatives from each of the 25 member states' ministries of health (1 expert in cardiology and 1 expert in public health policy).

Workplace Smoking Ban

On 29 March 2004, Ireland became the first country to implement a public smoking ban in all workplaces, including bars, restaurants and nightclubs. As such, Ireland has become a model for Europe and the rest of the world. The ESC was proud to support this major move towards improved public health and the fight against cardiovascular disease, as well as all other diseases related to tobacco consumption. The ESC looks forward to assisting all EU member states in following suit and demonstrating a similar commitment to the heart health of their populations.

The ESC congratulates Mr Martin on his exceptional contribution to European heart health and awards him the ESC Gold Medal in recognition of his outstanding commitment in accordance with the ESC mission: to improve the quality of life of the European population by reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
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European Society of Cardiology

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