Aspen Healthcare & Quality of Life Program aims to broaden the scope of the debate on health policy, support sustainable reform in the health sector and develop a program community involving the public and private sector as well as civil society and academia.

The Public Policy Programs of the Aspen Institute Romania seek to improve the formation of policy through transparent, non-partisan, evidence-based, multiple stakeholders’ dialogue. Based on the Aspen Method, our programs offer public decision-makers, private stakeholders and representatives of the non-governmental and academic sectors an exceptional platform for reflection, aiming to reach consensus on concrete policy recommendations in Romania’s most relevant policy fields. By engaging with public decision-makers from the start of the reflection process, in an informal and informed dialogue, mutual ownership of our policy recommendations is fostered.

Based on a recommendation made under the Aspen Healthcare & Quality of Life Program, a Working Group on Fighting Cancer was established in the Romanian Parliament, including Deputies and Senators from all political parties represented in Parliament.

Under the Aspen Healthcare & Quality of Life Program a community was created comprising multiple stakeholders from the public, private, and non-governmental sectors, aiming to:

  • Support public policies aiming to improve the access to medicines and healthcare services in Romania and the Central-Eastern Europe region;
  • Support public policies aiming to improve access to new technologies, supporting the development of an innovation-based health system;
  • Map Romania’s healthcare services needs in order to find adequate responses and identify integrative healthcare solutions;
  • Support public policies aiming to improve the efficiency of the health system and identify additional funding sources;
  • Create a system of best practices which can trigger reform processes and developments in the healthcare sectors in the region and stimulate the use of market synergies.
  • Ensure Romania’s resilience, including early warning and rapid response capacity (as a matter of national security) – preparedness for public health emergencies, including pandemics and natural disasters.

The 2018 – 2019 iteration of our program was coordinated by Prof. Dr. Alexandru Rafila (Aspen Healthcare & Quality of Life Program Director) and engaged approximately 300 healthcare specialists in debates on healthcare policies.

In 2019 the core deliverables included:

  • Working level meetings of the Task Force with the participation of key stakeholders, focusing on identifying priorities for the healthcare sector;
  • Thematic Workshop
  • Achieving Improved Access to Cancer Care in Central and Southeastern Europe, organized in partnership with the Central European Cooperative Oncology Group (CECOG) – 29 March 2019
  • International Public Conferences
  • Exploring synergies to enhance the role of digital health in strengthening health systems and increasing access to quality care in Europe, organized together with the Ministry of Health of Romania, in partnership with WHO, under the aegis of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, at the Romanian Palace of Parliament – 13 June 2019
  • Aspen Healthcare Forum (8th edition) – 3 October 2019
  • White Paper with recommendations for the relevant decision-makers
  • Framework presented by Prof. Dr. Alexandru Rafila at Aspen Healthcare Forum 2019; paper to be finalized
  • Custom Socrates Leadership Seminar, partially underwritten by the Simona and Adrian Bot family (11- 13 October)
  • Introduced to AIR’s healthcare community and to the larger AIR members through a one-hour panel discussion on Leadership and Innovation in Healthcare, followed by a cocktail reception, on 10 October.
  • Attended by 16 participants, including key public sector stakeholders and representatives of the Program Partners. The Seminar focused on contemporary challenges faced by leaders in the health sector. The main topic was Technology, Breakthrough Medical Research, and the Future of Healthcare.

The 2020 edition of the Program continued to be coordinated by Prof. Dr. Alexandru Rafila, and, in the context of the SARS-COV-2 pandemic, provided as deliverables:

  • 3 thematic workshops
  • The first workshop, entitled The Impact of the Pandemic on the Future of Work and Public health systems, took place in the form of a webinar on April 30, in partnership with Aspen Institute Italy, and focused on identifying best practices, lessons learned and recommendations on how to exit the global health crisis safely, while emphasizing the right conditions needed to restart economic activities. The report of the event can be found here.
  • The second workshop, entitled The Resilience of Public Health Systems, took place in the form of a webinar on June 12. It analyzed how the Romanian public health system performed during the pandemic and discussed concrete measures to improve its resilience. The report of the event can be found here.
  • The third workshop, entitled The Fight against Cancer – A National Priority, organized together with the Working Group on Fighting Cancer in the Romanian Parliament, took place on September 10 at the Romanian Parliament. It promoted the fight against cancer at the highest level and debated key challenges regarding prevention and access to treatment. The event report can be found here.
  • International public event:
  • Aspen Healthcare Forum 2020, the Program’s high-level, international public event, took place online on October 9 under the umbrella of Bucharest Forum 2020.
  • Custom Socrates Leadership Seminar (22 – 23 October) organized for the program community, focusing on challenges faced by leaders in the healthcare sector. The Seminar took place online and brought together 20 participants from the private, public, academic and non-governmental sector. The topic of the 2020 edition was “The Future of Public Health: Building a More Resilient Post Pandemic System”.
  • Program White Paper with recommendations for relevant decision-makers.

In 2021, a Program Advisory Board, consisting of key stakeholders from the healthcare sector, of diverse professional backgrounds and political affiliations, has been created:


  • Prof. Univ. Dr. Alexandru Rafila – Minister of Health, Government of Romania
  • Dr. Diana Loreta Păun – Presidential Adviser, Department of Public Health, Romanian Presidential Administration
  • Dr. Dafin Mureşanu – President, European Federation of NeuroRehabilitation Societies
  • Radu Gănescu – President, National Coalition of Organisations for Patients with Chronic Conditions
  • Vlad Mixich – Executive Director, Romanian Health Observatory
  • Iulian Trandafir – CEO, Alliance Healthcare Romania & Aspen Board Member (representative of the Aspen Healthcare & Quality of Life Program Taskforce)

The 2021 edition of the Program features the following deliverables:

  • 3 thematic workshops:
  • The first workshop of the 2021 edition took place on March 25th as a webinar, with high-level decision-makers and health professionals as speakers: “The importance of communication and awareness campaigns in the SARS-COV-2 pandemic” (in Romanian).
  • The second workshop took place as an in-person roundtable event, organized in partnership with ARPIM and the Romanian Society for Vaccination and Health Promotion Strategies (SRSVPS), on the topic of Combating Vaccination Hesitancy in Romania, on September 30th.
  • The third workshop will be a webinar on Developing a Biotech Ecosystem in Romania, organized as a closed-door debate with the main stakeholders from the public, private and academic sector.
  • International public event:
  • Aspen Healthcare Forum 2021, the Program’s high-level, international public event, took place in a hybrid format on October 19th.
  • The Custom Leadership Seminar for the Program community took place on May 26th – 27th. The topic of the Seminar was: The Future of Public Health: Building a More Resilient Post Pandemic System.
  • Program White Paper with recommendations for relevant decision-makers.
  • Furthermore, Aspen Institute Romania supported the formation and activity of the Working Group for Combating Cancer in the Romanian Parliament in the 2020 – 2024 legislature, which includes Senators and Deputies from all the political parties represented in Parliament. AIR was Partner of two roundtable meetings organized by the Group, on March 9th and April 14th, 2021, establishing the Group working procedures and thematic priorities, including support for a National Plan for Combating Cancer.

The 2021 Program edition benefits from the valuable support of:

  • Institutional Partners: Ministry of Health, Presidential Administration, Committee for Public Health of the Romanian Senate, Committee for Health & Family of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies, Working Group for Combating Cancer in the Romanian Parliament, National Health Insurance House, National School of Public Health, Management and Professional Development
  • Knowledge Partners: Romanian Society for Microbiology, “Prof. Dr. Matei Bals” National Institute for Infectious Diseases
  • Program Partners: Roche, Alliance Healthcare, Pfizer, Sanofi, Astra Zeneca, BMS