European Cities Conferences

ECC "Health Services in transition – Public Health"

27. - 28.11.2023

The Covid-19 pandemic, which was also classified as a public health emergency of international concern by the WHO for three years, represented a major challenge for the public health authorities of all countries. As part of the European City Conference in November 2023, the City of Vienna Health Service looked back on the pandemic together with experts from other European cities and discussed what we can take away for the future in terms of knowledge from the past years.

Further topics that were addressed at the conference: wastewater monitoring for the detection and control of diseases, digital applications to give Viennese citizens the opportunity to directly report health complaints, the challenging field of environmental medicine as well as prevention concept, implementation and the challenges of tuberculosis prevention.





Monday, 27 November 2023

Moderator: Sonja Kato

11 amRegistration, arrival and brunch
12 pmWelcoming address by Peter Hacker, Executive City Councillor for Social Affairs, Public Health and Sports
12.10 pmKeynote on the general contents – Jochen Haidvogel, Head of Municipal Department MA 15 - Health Services
12.30 pmLecture on environmental medicine – Hans-Peter Hutter, Deputy Head of Department, Department for Environmental Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Medical University of Vienna
12.50 pmModerated discussion round with the initiators
1.30 pmPanel 1/1: Covid19 Pandemic - Lessons Learned – Measures taken during the pandemic
Input: Ursula Karnthaler, City of Vienna; Sonja Giljača, Municipal Department of Public Health Belgrade; Gábor Havasi, City of Budapest, Elżbieta Kois-Żurek, City of Krakow; Przemysław Cichy, City of Krakow; Anes Jogunčić, Institute for Public Health of the Sarajevo Canton;
2.50 pmCoffee break
3.20 pm

Panel 1/2: Covid19 Pandemic - Lessons Learned – Hospital treatment, future challenges
Aleksandar Damjanović, Municipal Department of Public Health Belgrade; Milena Jakovljević, Municipal Department of Public Health Belgrade; Pierangelo Sarchi, A.Li.Sa. Genoa; Stefano Boni, Health Protection Agency Pavia; László Polák, Health Service of the 2nd District of Budapest

4.30 pmPanel 2: Wastewater Monitoring
Input: Maximilian Rumetshofer, City of Vienna, Zlatan Hamza, Institute for Public Health of the Sarajevo Canton; Michaela Kadlečková, City of Prague;
5.25 pmWrap-up and farewell
from 5.30 pmNetworking with stand-up buffet


Tuesday, 28 November 2023

8.30 amRegistration and coffee
9 amSchool Nurses – Karin Klenk, City of Vienna, Municipal Department 15 (MA 15); 
9.30 amPanel 3: Heat Monitoring
Input: David Kirsch, City of Vienna; Peter Lajda, Institute for Regional Policy of the Self-Government District Bratislava; Petra Vinařová, City of Prague; Zlatan Hamza, Institute for Public Health of the Sarajevo Canton; Gábor Havasi, City of Budapest;
10.45 amCoffee break
11.15 amPanel 4: Tuberculosis Prevention
Input: Maria Koreny, City of Vienna; Magor Papp, City of Budapest; Christian Schwarzbach, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg; Jan Zukal, City of Prague; 
12.15 pmFinal discussion
12.55 pmWrap-up and farewell
from 1 pmBuffet


© PID/Bohmann

Peter Hacker

Peter Hacker has been working for the City of Vienna since 1982. In 1985 he joined the team of then Mayor Helmut Zilk and was responsible for community services, youth and social affairs. From 1992 until 2003, he was the Drug Coordinator of the City of Vienna. From 2001 to 2018, Peter Hacker was the managing director of the Vienna Social Welfare Fund that coordinated social services in Vienna for persons with care needs, disabled persons, refugees, and homeless persons. In 2015 he was the Refugee Coordinator of the City of Vienna. As Executive City Councillor of the City of Vienna he is head of the Administrative Group - Social Affairs, Public Health and Sports since May 2018.

© Stefano Boni

Stefano Boni

Stefano Boni graduated in medicine and surgery and specialized in Hygiene and Preventive medicine at the University of Pavia and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He has been working for over 25 years in the field of hospital management and public health planning in different areas of northern Italy. Since 2022 he has been Medical Director of the Pavia Health Protection Agency, which deals with public health in the territory of the province of Pavia, located in Lombardy south of Milan.

In particular, he works with his team in the field of planning, authorisation, accreditation and control of health and social services.

© Przemysław Cichy

Przemysław Cichy

Przemysław Cichy was born 1981 in Krakow, Poland. He is a civil servant, Deputy Head of the Department of Social Policy and Health in the Krakow Municipal Council. Przemysław Cichy is graduate of the University of Management and Banking in the fields of Management and Marketing as well as Human Resources Management. He can look back on 18 years of experience in municipal administration. He implements the policy of the City of Krakow in the following areas: health, care of children under three years and family. He supervises the operation of the city's three health facilities and more than 300 crèches, children's clubs and day care centres. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he was responsible for the organisation of vaccination centres in Krakow and the implementation of vaccinations. He is also the coordinator of the aid provided by the City of Krakow for war refugees from the Ukraine. Mister Cichy is married and the father of two children. He is also an amateur runner and football player.

© Aleksandar Damjanović

Aleksandar Damjanović

Aleksandar Damjanović was born in Belgrade and studied there at the Medical Faculty of the University of Belgrade. He worked for several years at the Institute of Blood Transfusion in Belgrade. He is currently working at the Institute of Public Health in Belgrade as Head of the bacteriological diagnostics department. He is a specialist in medical microbiology and parasitology. He took part in various training courses on quality assurance, biosecurity et cetera.

© Sonja Giljača

Sonja Giljača

Sonja Giljača completed her medical studies at the Medical University of Belgrade in 2003. In 2008 she also acquired the academic degree of Master of Medical Sciences in the field of cardiology. She has been working at the Institute of Public Health in Belgrade since 2006 – initially as a doctor of medical sciences, and since 2015 as a specialist in epidemiology. In November 2022 she enrolled in the doctoral program in the field of epidemiology. To date, she has published 17 scientific research papers (ten of which are in the field of epidemiology, the rest from various areas of medicine). During the Covid-19 pandemic, Sonja Giljača was a team member of the Belgrade Institute of Public Health and participated in the monitoring and implementation of all pandemic measures in the Belgrade urban area. She was a participant in the online congress as part of the Erasmus+KA2 project "Crisis: Comparing Resources for Subjects in Severe Situations". She was also a participant in the training project for migrants "Continuation of support for the increase and improvement of capacities for managing the migrants in the RS-MADAD 2".

© Jochen Haidvogel

Jochen Haidvogel

Mr. Haidvogel, who holds a doctorate in health economics, joined the City of Vienna in 2010 and was Deputy Head of the Vienna Ambulance Service until 2018. During the refugee crisis from 2015 to 2016, he also acted as the overall head of the integrated staff work of the Operations Staff.

From 2018 to May 2020, Mr. Haidvogel was hospital director at Krankenhaus Nord and Krankenhaus Floridsdorf, and in June 2020 he switched to the Municipal Directorate - Organisation and Security Division and was Head of the Staff Unit for Project Coordination and Control. During the pandemic, Mr. Haidvogel joined the Health Services as interim manager in 2020 and was appointed Head of Department as of May 2021.

In addition to his professional successes, Mr. Haidvogel is also the author of specialist books on the subject of health care, President of the Provincial Judo Association for Lower Austria and Deputy President of the Austrian Judo Association, and also a passionate judoka himself in his spare time.

© Zlatan Hamza

Zlatan Hamza

Zlatan Hamza was born in Sarajevo where he also completed his medical studies. Following his studies, he worked as a general practitioner in the general and emergency medicine practices at the Novi Travnik Health Centre. In 2014, he switched to the Health Department of the Canton Sarajevo, where he still works today. In 2017, he became a specialist in health ecology and hygiene and was appointed Head of Department of Environmental Hygiene and Sanitary  Engineering in the Working Group for Environmental Protection and Improvement at the Health Department of the Canton Sarajevo. He is currently Head of the Working Group for Environmental Protection and Improvement. Since 2022, he has also been Head of the Department of Epidemiology, Microbiology and Environmental Protection, which operates as the first response unit to public health emergencies within the Health Department of the Canton Sarajevo.

© Gábor Havasi

Gábor Havasi

Gábor Havasi has been a member of the Budapest Municipal Council since 2019 and is Health Councillor of Budapest. He is 35 years old, lives in the 22nd district of Budapest and used to work there as a member of the ambulance services. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he participated in the management of the pandemic as a member of the Budapest Operational Staff. He is one of the initiators of the capital's programme for shortening the waiting lists for CT and MR examinations at the Budapest Municipality. Furthermore, he coordinates the utilisation of financial sources for the further development of outpatient care in the Budapest districts.

© Hans Peter Hutter

Hans Peter Hutter

Hans-Peter Hutter, who grew up in Vienna's Leopoldstadt district, worked as a public health officer in Vienna after completing his double degree in "Landscape Ecology and Landscape Design" and "Medicine". Since 2000, he has been a specialist in hygiene and microbiology with a focus on environmental medicine at the Department of Environmental Hygiene and Environmental Medicine (Centre for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna), where he is now Deputy Director.

Hans Peter Hutter's main areas of research include health effects of climate change, air pollution, environmental chemicals, electromagnetic fields, noise and (environmental) justice.

His activities focus on scientifically sound risk assessments, comprehensible communication of environmental risks, as well as his commitment to fighting the increasing hostility towards science in our society.

© Milena Jakovljevic

Milena Jakovljevic

Milena Jakovljevic graduated in medicine and completed her specialization in social medicine at the University of Belgrade.  Since 2012 she has been working for the Center for Analysis, Planning and Organization of Health Care at the Institute of Public Health of Belgrade. The main focus of her work are health care use and quality of work at secondary and tertiary healthcare institutions in Belgrade. She is dedicated to analytical work and making recommendations for decision makers in healtcare system. Milena is a PhD student in public health at the Faculty of Medicine. The main topic of her research are unmet healhcare needs in the Republic of Serbia, with special reference to the period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

© Anes Jogunčić

Anes Jogunčić

Anes Jogunčić is a specialist in epidemiology at the Health Institute of the Canton Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He heads health teams in two of the most populous municipalities and is also a lecturer at the University of Sarajevo. Before joining the Health Institute, he worked in forensic medicine. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he implemented a digital patient database, including geomapping for monitoring the spread of the disease. He was involved in the health care provided to migrants and participated in EU projects, including the "UnCover" and the EUPHAM projects. His particular area of interest is the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines. He has published more than 40 articles in the fields of epidemiology, laboratory practice and forensic medicine.

© Michaela Kadlečková

Michaela Kadlečková

Michaela Kadlečková graduated in social work from a specialised secondary school, subsequently from the Higher Technical School for Social Sciences and Law, as well as from the Jan Amos Comenius University in the field of adult education. Since 2012 she has been working in the Health Department of the Municipality of Prague. She also took the exam for professional competence in health care. Since 2022 she has been focusing on health care during crisis and emergency situations in the region as well as on emergency medical services. She cooperates with the capital's hygiene station on a regular basis.

© Ursula Karnthaler

Ursula Karnthaler

Ursula Karnthaler is Director of Public Health for Vienna, Deputy Head of the Municipal Department 15 –Health Services of the City of Vienna. She studied medicine in Vienna and trained as a general practitioner.

Karnthaler is employed in the Public Health Services since 2000. During her employment at the Public Health Department and the Public Health Services of the City of Vienna, infection protection and protective vaccinations have been at the centre of her interest and have always been the main focus of her tasks. From 2008 to 2014 she was the Head of the Department for Infection Prevention and responsible for notifiable infectious diseases, outbreak control and the implementation of the child vaccination concept, as well as various vaccination campaigns in Vienna. From 2014 to 2021 she was the Head of the office of the Regional Directorate of Public Health and in 2019 she acted as Covid-19 Project Manager for Medical Affairs. Since early 2022 Ursula Karnthaler ist he Regional Director of Public Health for Vienna and since 2020 she is also Member of the National Vaccination Board.

© MA 15/Schleininger

David Kirsch

David Kirsch is Head of the Innovation Management Department and also Deputy Head of the Data Competence Centre of MA 15. He also serves as the leader of the pilot project "Digital Heat Monitoring" and will provide an insight into this pioneering project, which not only demonstrates technological innovation but also represents a milestone in shaping the future of our cities.

Prior to joining the City of Vienna in November 2020, Mr. Kirsch, who holds a degree in security science, worked in international crisis management in Israel, Turkey and Egypt, among others, and provided advice to public authorities on how to deal with digitalisation and cyber security.

© Karin Klenk

Karin Klenk

Karin Klenk studied law with an elective subject in medical law in Vienna. She has been an employee of the City of Vienna since 1990. In 2016, she joined the Administrative Service of the Vienna Health Care Association, where she is in charge of the Legal & Compliance Department and is an expert in medical law. Since 2021, she has been Head of the Supervision and Quality Assurance Department of MA 15 – Health Services and also Head of the School Nurses project. She is also a lecturer in the field of education and further training for healthcare and nursing care.

© Rathaus Krakau/Bogusław Świerzowski

Elżbieta Kois-Żurek

Elżbieta Kois-Żurek is a graduate of the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Jagiellonian University. In 2020, as part of postgraduate studies at the Pedagogical University of Krakow, she completed a specialisation in the organisation and management of social institutions as well as postgraduate studies at the Institute of Public Health of the Jagiellonian University in the field of hospital-based HTA system (HB-HTA) - hospital assessment of innovative medical technologies. She has been working in the Municipal Administration for 20 years. In 2004, she started working at the Municipal Centre for Social Welfare in Krakow. In 2018, she switched to the Krakow City Council. Since 1 January 2019, she has been Director of the Department of Social Policy and Health, which is responsible for the implementation of broad social initiatives in Krakow and for the provision of healthcare to residents. Under the Director's leadership, the department cooperates with NGOs, monitors the work of foundations and associations and deals with issues related to youth, senior citizens, multiculturalism and equal treatment. Furthermore, she coordinates matters related to the City of Krakow's citizens' budget and the provision of free legal aid, and supervises the municipal hospitals, the Municipal Care Centre for the Elderly, Chronically Disabled and Needy People in Krakow, as well as the municipal kindergartens. She also cooperates closely with the Municipal Centre for Addiction Prevention in Krakow.

© Maria Koreny

Maria Koreny

Maria Koreny is the coordinator of the Tuberculosis Prevention Team for the Public Health Services of the City of Vienna. A specialist in internal medicine, she obtained a Master's degree in Global Health Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which provided her with an insight into the determinants of health from a global perspective. As part of her Phd at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, she studied the movement behaviour of patients suffering from a chronic lung disease.

What Maria Koreny particularly appreciates in her job is the combination of clinical and regulatory work with health policy relevance.

© Monika Kováčová

Peter Lajda

Peter Lajda studied Geography, Regional Development and European Integration at the Komenius University (PRIF UK) in Bratislava. Since 2021 he has been working at the Institute for Regional Policy in Bratislava, which strengthens the analytical-strategic and implementation capacities of the Bratislava Self-Governing Region (BSK) and is dedicated to the implementation of the Programme for Economic and Social Development of the Bratislava Self-Governing Region, the BSK Programme Statement and the implementation of individual sectoral policies on the territory of the BSK. It co-operates with the analytical institutes of individual ministries and thus creates a supportive system of clear strategic management.

© László Polák

László Polák

László Polák graduated from the Medical University in Târgu Mureș, Romania, in 1985. He started his professional career in Sibiu, Romania, then moved to Hungary. He became a trauma surgeon in 1993 and worked at the hospital in Tatabánya from 1989 to 2009. Between 1996-2010, he was Sales Manager, then Director of Strategic Relations at Johnson & Johnson Kft. In 2006, Dr. Polák graduated as a Health Manager M.Sc. from Semmelweis University. Between 2003-2007, he was President of the Health Committee of AmCham, from 2006-2010 he was Vice President, then Co-President of the Association of Medical Technology. Between 2017 and 2022, he was a medical expert of the programme "Healthy Budapest".

He has been a member of the Presidency of the Association for Outpatient Specialised Care and the Medicina 2000 Polyclinic since 2011 and Vice President since 2014. Since 2010, he has been Director General of the Outpatient Clinic of the second District of Budapest. László Polák speaks Hungarian, English, German and Romanian.

© Balázs Rékassy

Balázs Rékassy

Balázs Rékassy graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the Semmelweis University in 1992 and continued his studies in London. He studied public health and policy health care management at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, as well as at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he was also a PhD student for two years. He also studied under prominent Hungarian experts at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Eötvös Loránd University at the Department of Pharmaceutical Policy and Pharmaceutical Economics of the Working Group for Health Economics.

His professional expertise covers a broad spectrum of healthcare: he has worked in healthcare, at the Ministry of Health, in the World Bank's healthcare programme, as an executive in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as an executive at a Hungarian healthcare insurance company, and he was also involved in the founding and establishment of a Hungarian health insurance fund. His achievements include the establishment of the "Vitalitás" complementary private health insurance, which finances individual services, the "Millennium Medicina" health insurance fund, the launch of the test named "Coordinated Healthcare Model" in Veresegyház, the nationwide introduction of HPV vaccination in Hungary, participation in objective professional and public information on Covid-19, as well as the establishment of the working group "Experts of the Circle of Consensus for Health" (KEKSZ) .

He is currently a health expert at the Budapest Municipality and an assistant doctor at the Department of Family Medicine at Semmelweis University. His main areas of research include the growth of private healthcare, private healthcare insurance, as well as the possibilities of reforming the Hungarian healthcare system.

© Max Rumetshofer

Maximilian Rumetshofer

Maximilian Rumetshofer is Head of the Competence Area "Quality Management and Epidemiological Wastewater Monitoring" at the Data Competence Centre of the Vienna Public Health Services. He studied environmental and bioresource management at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences and specialised in waste management during his Master programme. In 2021, he took over the epidemiological coordination of the project  named "CSI Abwasser" (CSI Wastewater) as well as the weekly reporting to the Medical Crisis Staff of the City of Vienna during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In June 2023, he also successfully submitted a one-year pilot phase for the expansion of wastewater monitoring as a new innovation project of the Public Health Services to the City of Vienna.

© Pierangelo Sarchi

Pierangelo Sarchi

Pierangelo Sarchi graduated in medicine and surgery, specialized in Hygiene and Preventive medicine at the University of Pavia, Italy. He worked in preventive and social medicine; he spent his carrier working within the directorate in the Public Hospitals in Lombardy. From 2019 to 2023 he was Medical Director of hospitals. Since July 2023 he is the Medical Director of Azienda Ligure Sanitaria-, a regional public health institution which deals in prevention, epidemiology, hospital organization, public health management, health and social policy.

© Christian Schwarzbach

Christian Schwarzbach

Christian Schwarzbach is a specialist in internal medicine and pneumology and has been working with tuberculosis since the beginning of his medical career almost 20 years ago. After completing his medical studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin, he began his professional career in 2004 at the tuberculosis ward of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg. After working as an assistant, specialist and senior physician at various hospitals in Hamburg, he has been working as a specialist at the Hamburg Tuberculosis Control Unit since 2016 and has been Head of Department since 2022. A particular area of concern for Christian Schwarzbach is the care of homeless people.

© Petra Vinařová

Petra Vinařová

Petra Vinařová studied art history and is currently working as a specialist for funerals in the Health Department of the City Municipality of Prague. She moved from the Department of Monument Preservation to the Health Department and can therefore use and combine her previous experiences. In addition to her main job, she is responsible for the administration, supplements and changes to the urban area plan of the City of Prague.

Her professional understanding of architecture and spatial planning, combined with her focus on protecting the interests of the citizens of Prague in the field of health care and funerals, make it possible for her to find new practical solutions. She shows that even seemingly disparate fields such as healthcare, the need for integrated emergency systems and urban planning can benefit from mutual cooperation and broader understanding.

© Jan Zukal

Jan Zukal

Jan Zukal is from Prague and studied law and political science at Charles University. Following his graduation, he worked at ING Bank in the legal department and at the Czech Social Administration. Since 2022, he has been working at the City Municipality of Prague in the Health Care Department. He also took the exams for professional competence in healthcare and criminal offences in healthcare. In the field of health care, he specialises in tuberculosis issues in Prague as well as on citizens' complaints against health care providers.