About ESO

About European Stroke Organisation (ESO)

The European Stroke Organisation (ESO) is a pan-European society of stroke researchers and physicians, national and regional stroke societies and lay organisations that was founded in December 2007. The ESO is an NGO comprised of individual and organisational members. The aim of the ESO is to reduce burden of stroke by changing the way that stroke is viewed and treated. This can only be achieved by professional and public education, and by making institutional changes. ESO serves as the voice of stroke in Europe, harmonising stroke management across the whole of Europe and taking action to reduce the burden of stroke regionally and globally.

The Mission of the ESO

The mission of the ESO is to reduce the burden of stroke. ESO aims to improve stroke care by providing medical education to healthcare professionals and the lay public. By offering best practice approaches, the ESO’s goal is to harmonise stroke management in Europe. ESO works as the voice of stroke in Europe to bring about political change. The ESO focuses on European level projects while working toward global solutions. The ESO is dedicated to the following purposes:

  • To promote awareness, management, teaching and research in all aspects of stroke;
  • To develop and promote public policies to reduce the number of deaths by stroke and to improve the care of stroke victims and the quality of life of stroke victims.
  • To reduce the burden of stroke throughout Europe
  • To develop and promote professional and public education;
  • To develop and promote other appropriate activities such as fundraising and prevention programs;
  • To develop, promote, and coordinate international teaching programs through national/regional organisations;
  • To advise and guide on fundraising skills in order to enable national foundations and societies to finance a greater level and range of activities;
  • To foster the development of an international communications system by encouraging the regional activities of organisations, stroke networks, foundations and organisations, as they operate within the goals and objectives of the organisation.


Executive Committee

Dr. Bart van der Worp

Dr. Bart van der Worp

Utrecht, Netherlands

Bart van der Worp is a neurologist with a special interest in cerebrovascular diseases at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, the Netherlands. He has been (co-)Chief Investigator of the randomised clinical trials HAMLET, PAIS, COOLIST, and VAST and is (co-)Chief Investigator of PRECIOUS (www.precious-trial.eu), APACHE-AF (www.apache-af.nl), and MR ASAP (www.mrasap.nl).

Prof. Martin Dichgans
Munich, Germany
President Elect

Martin Dichgans is a Professor of Neurology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, LMU (Munich, Germany). He is the Founding Director of the Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research, Director of the Interdisciplinary Stroke Center Munich, and on the Board of Directors of the DFG funded Excellence cluster ‘Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology (SyNergy)’.

Dr. Else Charlotte Sandset

Oslo, Norway
Secretary General

Else Charlotte Sandset graduated as a medical doctor from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2006, achieved her PhD from the University of Oslo in Norway in 2012, and completed a year as visiting fellow at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia in 2016.

Prof. Valeria Caso

Perugia, Italy
Past President

Valeria Caso is a stroke neurologist at the University of Perugia Stroke Unit. She earned her PhD from the University of Perugia in stroke medicine in 2003 and is currently an associate professor of Neurology.

George Ntaios

Larissa, Greece

Member at Large

Peter Schellinger

Minden, Germany

Member at Large

Charlotte Cordonnier

Lille, France

Vice President

Daniel Strbian

Helsinki, Finland


Board of Directors

Diana Aguiar de Sousa


Rustam Al-Shahi Salman

United Kingdom

Marcel Arnold


Heinrich Audebert


Eivind Berge


Hugues Chabriat


Martin Köhrmann


Atte Meretoja


Carlos Molina


Paul Nederkoorn


Nikola Sprigg

United Kingdom

Thorsten Steiner


Katharina Stibrant Sunnerhagen


Georgios Tsivgoulis


David Werring

United Kingdom

Council of Fellows

The aims of the Council of Fellows are to support the objectives of the European Stroke Organisation and to advise and report to the Board of Directors.

Prof. Gary A. Ford

Chair of the Council of Fellows


Gary Ford, FRCP, CBE, FMedSci is Consultant Stroke Physician at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Chief Executive Officer of the Oxford Academic Health Science Network and Visiting Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Oxford University; he has been a FESO since 2005.

He was Director of the NIHR Stroke Research Network in the UK from 2005-14 and prior member of the Board of Directors of ESO.  He is Chief Executive Officer of the Oxford Academic Health Science Network, a regional health partnership established to spread innovation to improve health and generate economic growth.

He is a consultant stroke physician at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.  His research interests are pre-hospital diagnosis of stroke, optimal service organisation to deliver hyper acute stroke therapies and effect of age on response to stroke treatments. He developed the FAST and ROISER scales and has published over 250 peer reviewed articles.

Honorary Members

Prof. Kennedy R. Lees

Institute of Cardiovascular & Medical Sciences, Glasgow, United Kingdom (appointed in 2019)

Prof. Werner Hacke

Honorary Members HackeUniversitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germamy (appointed in 2012)

Prof. Markku Kaste

Helsinki University Central Hospital University of Helsinki Helsinki, Finland (appointed 2013)

Prof. Didier Leys

Honorary_Members_Didier-Leys University of Lille Lille, France (appointed 2014)

Prof. Michael Brainin

michael_braininDonau University Krems, Austria (appointed 2016)

Prof. Heinrich Mattle

mattle, heinrichInselspital Bern, Switzerland (appointed 2018)

ESO Awards Selection Committee

Kennedy Lees

United Kingdom

Anna Planas


Zuzana Gdovinova


Gary Ford

United Kingdom

Heinrich Mattle


Head Office

Do you have questions regarding ESO? Are you interested to become a member? Please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to assist you. Phone: +41 61 686 77 76 Email: esoinfo@eso-stroke.org

Foto Luzia Balmer ESO HO

Luzia Balmer

Head of Association Management


Daniela Niederfeld

Association Services Manager


Martina Mutter

Head of Registration


Lena Schmid

Membership Coordinator

Jennifer Thomsen

Senior Association Services Consultant


History of the European Stroke Organisation (ESO)

The European Stroke Organisation (ESO) is a Paneuropean society of stroke researchers, national and regional stroke societies and lay persons` organisations that was founded in December 2007. ESO was formed as a merger of two previous stroke related associations, the European Stroke Council (ESC) and the European Stroke Initiative (EUSI). At the General Assembly 2010 in Barcelona, the ESO members unanimously agreed to have the new registry office of ESO in Switzerland and to dissolve the German-based ESO within the next years.

ESO has successfully continued the projects of the EUSI and ESC and introduced new activities. In 2014, the ESO first co-hosted the bi-annual  ESO-Karolinska Stroke Update Conference. In 2015, ESO hosted its first annual conference, the European Stroke Organisation Conference (ESOC). After only 2 years, the ESOC has become the premiere event for stroke education and networking in Europe. In 2016, ESO launched the European Stroke Journal (ESJ) as the official scientific journal of the organisation.

Bylaws and Statues

The articles of association of the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) are available in PDF below.

ESO Advocacy

Through adequate advocacy programmes the ESO and its stakeholders aim to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, social, and health systems and institutions. Advocacy can include many activities that our organisation undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking to build awareness, commissioning and publishing research for an improved health care for stroke patients. Our straightforward and very transparent lobbying efforts are a form of advocacy where a direct approach is made to legislators on an issue which plays a significant role in modern healthcare systems and standardising medical trainings and education. Health advocacy also encompasses direct service to the individual or family as well as activities that promote health and access to health care in communities and the larger public. ESO advocates support and promote the rights of the patient in the health care arena, help build capacity to improve public health and enhance health policy initiatives focused on available, safe and quality care for stroke patients. ESO advocates are suited best to address challenge of patient-oriented care in our complex healthcare system. Patient-centered care is also one of our overreaching goals of health advocacy, in addition to safer medical systems, and greater patient involvement in healthcare delivery and design. Doctors, patient representatives, ombudsmen, educators, care managers, patient navigators and health advisers are health advocates who work in direct patient care environments, including hospitals, community health centres, long term care facilities or patient services programmes of non-profit organizations. They collaborate with other health care providers to mediate conflict and facilitate positive change, and as educators and health information specialists, advocates work to empower others. ESO aims to build public awareness, to improve systems and services, to obtain funding and support, and to eventually build a coalition for stroke patients in Europe. The ESO continually strives to represent an allied voice for Europe. To reduce the burden of stroke, we must bring attention to preventative measures as well as treatment and rehabilitation. The ESO works closely with the World Stroke Organisation (WSO), World Health Organisation (WHO), NCD Alliance and other global NGOs to represent the voice of stroke in Europe. Some of the ESO`s recent advocacy activities include:

Annual meeting of WHO’s regional committee for Europe (11-14 Sept 2017 in Budapest) In this annual meeting, health ministers and delegates of the European countries worked on the implementation of WHO decisions in European countries. The WSO participated together with other non-governmental organisations in order to increase visibility and awareness of stroke. The WHO is working on several levels to prevent NCDs including stroke:

  • Global Action Plan on NCDs 2013-2020 which provides a road map and 9 voluntary global targets, including a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025
  • The global HEARTS initiative, directed at heart disease and stroke ; this WHO initiative provides UN-members states with high-impact, evidence-based interventions that will have a major impact on improving global heart health
  • WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which still needs ratification by several countries before going into action
  • Reduce excessive consumption of salt (see the SHAKE program here)
  • The Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018 – 2030 (for the draft, see here)
  • Control of the excessive consumption free sugar by taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Control of the worldwide obesity epidemic, starting in childhood

WSO and ESO were represented at this meeting by Patrik Michel from Lausanne. He read a joint statement of WSO and ESO on the worldwide importance of stroke which can be found in the attachement, with a video recording here. Prof P. Michel adressing the 67th regional conference of WHO-Europe 2017 in Budapest During the conference, the new Director General of the WHO, Dr Tedros (Ethiopia) emphasized his goal of investing in prevention and universal health coverage as the essentials for better health, also in Europe. <span “>For NCDs, he underlined that the solutions are known and available, and that the governments need to keep fighting on a national and international level to implement these against multiple resistances (industry interest, lack of finances, etc.). <span “>Dr Tedros is also accelerating the pace with which WHO decisions are made in order to react better to forseable and unforseen health risks and diseases. Dr Tedros (Director General of WHO) adressing the 67th regional conference of WHO-Europe 2017 in Budapest The director of the WHO-European region, Mrs Z. Jakab, emphasized that, despite the increasing « healthy life expectancy » in Europe, substantial inequalities persist between countries. The other « hot topics » discussed during the conference were :

  • Insufficient investment in public health and prevention, despite proof of high returns à<span “> currently, only 3% of health budgets in Europe are invested in public health
  • Increasing epidemic of dementia, adressed by the recently adopted WHO Global Action Plan on Dementia 2017-2025)
  • Access to health services:
    • Universal Health coverage problematic also within Europe (-> avoid large out-of-pocket expenses for services)
    • Access to medicines: faire pricing (hepatitis drugs, oncology), continuous supply of essential medicines and more
  • Communicable diseases
    • Antibiotics resistance, Tb-resistance (Eastern European countries)
    • Remerging infections from insufficient vaccination (measles epidemy etc.)

Dr Tedros (WHO) with Prof Michel (WSO) Upcoming international conferences concerning NCDs including : WHO Global Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) in Montevideo, Uruguay on October 18–20th, 2017 (for details see here) Global NCD Alliance Forum 2017, Sharjah, UAE, December 9-11, 2017 (for details see here) 3rd High-level UN meeting on NCDs in New York in the fall 2018 (for details see here) ************************************************************************************************************************************************************************ WHO European Regional Committee 66 (RC66) in Copenhagen, Denmark, September 2016 Watch the statement: World Stroke Organization of Prof. Bo Norrving here.


Together Against Stroke: Meeting between SAFE, ESO and the Industry: Read the meeting report here.

Read the oral statement of the WSO & ESO here.
European Parliament
PRESS RELEASE Leading stroke experts urge Europe to end the “stroke care lottery” 1. New survey presented in European Parliament reveals large disparities in access to highly effective therapy 2. Stroke is the 2nd most common cause of death 3. Therapeutic breakthroughs in acute stroke treatment greatly improve outcomes for stroke survivors 4. Recommendations to reduce inequalities in stroke remission and survival rates 10 October 2017 Brussels – Stroke experts from across Europe gather in Brussels today under the umbrella of the European Stroke Organisation – the pan-European society of stroke researchers and physicians. They call on political leaders to recognise stroke as an EU-wide health priority and end inequalities in access to the current stroke management standards. The adoption of new clot removal technologies (mechanical thrombectomy) can greatly improve stroke survival rates and outcomes for victims of stroke and alleviate the societal impact. A new survey reveals that many patients throughout Europe do not yet have equal access to this highly effective therapy. This partly explains the large disparities among member states regarding stroke survival and remission rates. Today, representatives from the European Parliament, the European Stroke Organisation, physicians and patients will be considering how to remove barriers to acute treatment and support EU member states in translating best practices in stroke management into real life. Hosted by MEP Aldo Patriciello and moderated by Prof. Valeria Caso, President of the European Stroke Organisation, the findings of the survey were presented at the event by Prof. Urs Fischer, the ESO Secretary General. Prof. Valeria Caso said: “We have an opportunity to restructure the pathway for acute stroke and enhance endovascular treatment. It’s a revolution…Don’t forget stroke has significant economic and social implications on survivors, families of stroke victims, and society as a whole.” “There are huge inequalities with regard to stroke treatment. All stakeholders across the stroke care chain need to work together to address them. Governments should be aware of just how cost-effective it is to treat stroke more effectively and efficiently”, said Prof. Urs Fischer. Aldo Patriciello MEP said: “Stroke is a major, pan European, public health concern. We are discussing concrete options to ensure equal access across Europe to quality healthcare. If we improve exchange of best practices, cross-border cooperation and capacity building we can end this stroke care lottery.” ESO’s Call to Action can be read below the press release. About the European Stroke Organisation: The European Stroke Organisation (ESO) is a pan-European society of stroke researchers and physicians, national and regional stroke societies and lay organisations that was founded in December 2007. The ESO is an NGO comprised of individual and organisational members. The aim of the ESO is to reduce burden of stroke by changing the way that stroke is viewed and treated. This can only be achieved by professional and public education, and by making institutional changes. The ESO provides assistance in achieving this goal and in harmonising stroke management across the whole of Europe and taking action to reduce the burden of stroke regionally and globally. Europe allied against stroke. For media queries and further information, please contact: Tel: +41 61 686 77 76 or Email : esoinfo@eso-stroke.org Read the Call to Action here.