ERS Vision – live panel discussion

Asthma and climate change

5 May, 2021 | Online

19:00–20:00 CEST

This event is the third in a series of live panel discussions available on the new ERS Respiratory Channel. The event is completely free to access but registration is required.


Taking place on World Asthma Day (5 May), this live discussion will focus on current and emerging issues related to climate change and asthma.

A new ERS position statement on asthma and the environment will be formally launched as part of the event and presented by members of the ERS Advocacy Council. Expert panellists will discuss key areas that are addressed by the statement, including:

  • Effects of climate change on asthma
  • The complex interplay between asthma inhalers, the respiratory patient and climate change
  • “Green” inhalers and the potential for more sustainable treatment options
  • Managing the environmental footprint of asthma

Participants will have the opportunity to submit their questions to the panel after each presentation.


Arzu Yorgancioğlu - profile image
Arzu Yorgancioğlu
ERS Advocacy Council Chair

Arzu Yorgancioğlu, MD, is Chair of the ERS Advocacy Council and full time professor at the Department of Pulmonology, Celal Bayar University Manisa, Turkey. Her research and scientific interests focus on the diagnosis and treatment of asthma and COPD.

Arzu has been a member of the Turkish Thoracic Society Executive Committee for 12 years and served as president between 2014-2016. Her international activities include being the European Respiratory Society Turkey Delegate, member of the ERS Membership Committee, Member of ATS International Lung Health Committee, MECOR Turkey Coordinator, member of the Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma Executive Committee. Arzu is a member of the GINA Board and the Chair of GINA Dissemination and Implementation committee. She has been the Global Alliance against Respiratory Diseases Turkey Country Coordinator, the coordimator of the the reference site of European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Aging. Arzu is the chair of the WHO GARD Executive Committee. She was elected as a fellow of ERS and ATS in 2019.


Omar S. Usmani - profile image
Omar S. Usmani
Head of ERS Assembly 5

Omar Usmani is Head of ERS Assembly 5 (Airway diseases, asthma, COPD and chronic cough). He is a Reader in Respiratory Medicine and Consultant Physician at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London & Royal Brompton Hospital.

Dr Usmani qualified in Medicine at Kings College London and completed his PhD in Aerosol Science and Inhalation Medicine at Imperial College London for which he received the 2005 NHLI PhD Prize for the Best Thesis. His clinical research themes are Inhaled Drug Delivery, Airways Physiology, Lung Imaging, Respiratory Pharmacology and Tele-monitoring / E-health. He was co-investigator and lead Clinical PI, on an EU HORIZON 2020 grant, myaircoach, to investigate the role of Tele-monitoring and E-health in asthma self-management. In 2015, he received one of the highest accolades in Aerosol Science, the Thomas T Mercer Award from the American Association of Aerosol Research and ISAM, recognizing his international research excellence in pharmaceutical aerosols and inhalable materials. In 2019, he was awarded the Fellowship of The European Respiratory Society.

Zorana J. Andersen - profile image
Zorana J. Andersen
ERS Environment and Health Committee Chair

Zorana Jovanovic Andersen is a Professor in Environmental Epidemiology at the Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, and Chair of the European Respiratory Society Environment and Health Committee.

Her main research areas include health effects of long-term exposures to air pollution, where she is leading several projects on with a range of different diseases, including cardiovascular and metabolic disease, chronic and infectious respiratory disease, cancer, and dementia. She has worked with the Danish Nurse Cohort and Nationwide Danish Administrative cohort of all Danish citizens, as well as with the large European projects ELAPSE (European Low-Level Air Pollution: A Study in Europe).

Prof. Andersen has a particular interest in asthma and air pollution and has published a number of studies showing adverse effects of short- and long-term exposure to air pollution on asthma in, both, children and adults. Her other areas of research include health effects of road traffic noise, environmental exposures and aging, interaction between air pollution and physical activity, health effects of ultrafine particles based on Google Air View data in Copenhagen, air pollution and COVID-19, capacity building in air pollution in environmental epidemiology in Serbia and Western Balkans, among others.

Prof. Andersen is passionate about advocacy on clean air and translation of knowledge from research on health effects of air pollution to policy makers and local, national, European and global level, as an active member of the Expert group on Air Pollution in Copenhagen Municipality, Danish Council for Disease Prevention, Policy Committee of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, and International Network on Policy in Epidemiology.

Kjeld Hansen - profile image
Kjeld Hansen
European Lung Foundation Chair

Kjeld Hansen is an asthma patient and patient ambassador, who has been collaborating with the European Lung Foundation for the past 10 years. Kjeld is currently serving in the roles, amongst others, as Chair of the European Lung Foundation, member of the Executive Committee of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and member of the ERS Environment and Health Committee, a patient content associate editor of Breathe and an associate editor of the ERS Respiratory Channel. He has authored several articles on patients, health information and similar topics. Kjeld is also a frequent speaker and co-chair at conference sessions and webinars including at the ERS Congress and the EU Health Policy Platform.

Maureen Donahue Hardwick - profile image
Maureen Donahue Hardwick
Secretariat and Legal Counsel of the IPAC

Maureen Hardwick serves as the Secretariat and Legal Counsel for the International Pharmaceutical Aerosol Consortium (IPAC). IPAC was formed in 1989 in response to the mandates of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and fully supported a timely and effective transition away from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in a manner that balanced patient health and environmental concerns.
IPAC’s mission is to ensure that environmental policies relevant to inhaled therapies are patient-centric and appropriately balance both patient care and sustainability objectives. Maureen represents IPAC before the Montreal Protocol Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, regulatory bodies around the world, and other stakeholders. Maureen is a partner at the law firm of Faegre, Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP and is based in Washington, DC, USA.

François Wakenhut - profile image
François Wakenhut
Head of the Clear Air Unit, DG for the Environment, European Commission

François Wakenhut is Head of the Clean Air Unit in the Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission since mid-2016. In the same Directorate-General, he was previously Head of the Resource Efficiency & Economic Analysis Unit (2015-2016), Biodiversity Unit (2009-2015) and Head of Unit for International Relations, Governance & Development (2008-2009). He has also served as Assistant to the Director-General of the Directorate-General for the Environment (2007-2008); Political Coordinator for the Marine Environment/Water in Water & Marine Unit of the Directorate-General for the Environment (2004-2007); Administrator in charge of Environmental Integration within the Sustainable Development & Economic Analysis Unit of the Directorate-General for the Environment (2001-2004); and Administrator within the team of the Director-General (2000-2001). François Wakenhut studied at the Institute of Political Studies in Strasbourg, Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and at the College of Europe in Bruges.