The European Lung Foundation (ELF) is an organisation whose mission is to bring together the public and patients with respiratory professionals to improve lung health. A core part of all its activities focus on education: the education of patients on their condition, including how to prevent, treat and manage it; the education of healthcare professionals on how to improve work with patients and awareness about the issues that are important to patients; and education of the public and policy makers of the importance of lung health at a European level. ELF was founded and works in a unique partnership with the European Respiratory Society (ERS).

This article has been written by the recent past Chairs and the new Chairs of three ELF committees (Council (D. Smyth and I. Saraiva), Professional Advisory Committee (K. Lisspers and G. Hardavella) and Patient Advisory Committee (J. Fuertes and K. Hill)) in order to reflect on ELF’s journey in this regard over recent years. In particular, it seems a good moment to assess the success and impact of the first patient Chair of ELF, Dan Smyth, and reflect on what this has meant for ELF’s educational activities, and what the future now looks like.

Educational aims

To understand the importance of educated patients (patients that are knowledgeable on their condition and how healthcare processes work).

To understand the importance of guiding patients to quality reliable sources of information and education.

To establish ways to ensure that healthcare professionals are prepared to work with educated patients.

To outline the initiatives that ELF has driven forward in the field of education.

To see the value in patients advocating at the European level for raising standards of education for patients and physicians.