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Stefan Gijssels

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Fourty years of experience in public affairs & communications

Stefan Gijssels is a health policy advisor, focused on making health systems more patient-centric and smarter. He is Co-founder of the Patient Expert Center (PEC) in Belgium, an organisation that trains members of patient organisations to become patient experts in their disease area. He is Co-Chair of the Scientific Committee of Sharing Progress in Cancer Care (SPCC). 


Stefan is a metastatic colorectal cancer survivor.


He is the former 

  • Chief Executive Officer of Digestive Cancers Europe (2019-2021), the umbrella organisation of all digestive cancer patient associations in Europe.

  • He was Co-Chair of the Patient Advisory Committee of the European Cancer Organisation, and a member of the Board and the Executive Committee. 

  • He was Member of the Board and Executive Committee of FT3P (From Testing to Targeted Treatment Programme)

  • Co-Chair of the European Alliance for Value in Health. 

Stefan is a frequent speaker and panelist at health conferences in Europe. He has also been invited to speak at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China, at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland and at a PhRMA Congress in Washington, DC. 


From 2001 to 2016, he was Vice President Communication & Public Affairs at Janssen Europe, Middle East & Africa, member of the company’s EMEA Leadership Team and member of the Global Communications Committee of Johnson & Johnson. 


From 2002 to 2008 he was Vice Chair of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Council.

He was Member of the Board of the Institute of Scientific and Technological Aspect Research of the Parliament of Flanders.


For several years, he was the Chair of the Trust & Reputation Policy Committee of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations (EFPIA), and Chair of the Communications Committee of the Belgian Industry Association (VBO/FEB). He was member of the Executive Committee of Business & Society Belgium. 


In the 90s he was Director and General Manager at Burson-Marsteller, Vice-President at Weber-Shandwick, Public Affairs Manager at McDonald’s, and Project Manager at the Institute of the Enterprise, a Belgian policy think tank. He started his career as an English teacher in Morocco. 

Stefan is also the founder of the Free Jazz Collective, the world's leading source of information on avant-garde jazz and free improvisation.


He has a a master’s degree in Literature and Philosophy from Leuven University, Belgium.

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