About the WECAN SmartStart and Masterclass programs

The WECAN Academy SmartStart and Masterclass programs grow the knowledge and skills of leading patient advocates from Europe in the three main knowledge pillars: “Advocacy Tools & Skills”, “Healthcare Systems, Policy and Access” as well as “Research and Data”.

SmartStart, initiated in 2015 by Sarcoma Patients EuroNet and held from 2019 by WECAN, is a patient advocates’ educational course during which those who are relatively new to patient support and advocacy will have the opportunity to learn basic knowledge and tools which will provide the solid foundations for them

This course is for patient advocates…

  • who are relatively new in existing groups/organisations
  • who would like to take future responsibility as chair, board member or director
  • who want to grow and maintain a national not-for-profit advocacy/support organisation in their own country
  • who are seeking to improve their skills to acquire essential knowledge and learn about advocacy tools

SmartStart provides…

  • basic knowledge to set up and maintain a national cancer patient group in their own country
  • networking with experienced patient group leaders and trainers
  • a balanced mix of practical advocacy and support “tools”

The “Masterclass on Patient Advocacy” was originally initiated by ESO (European School of Oncology) and took place three times between 2014 and 2018. From 2019, it has been taken forward by the patient community as the WECAN Masterclass in Cancer Patient Advocacy.

The WECAN Masterclass is an important educational event for the cancer patient community. It allows highly experienced cancer patient advocacy leaders to enhance their understanding of key cancer policy issues and enhance their advocacy skills. Many issues and topics are similar across all cancer indications, so it is a very important opportunity for advocacy leaders representing different cancer patient organisations active at a European or international level to meet, share and interact and enhance their skills and knowledge in advocacy.

Masterclass is for experienced patient advocates who want to…

  • to enhance their advocacy and leadership skills in complex areas around healthcare systems, access, research, data, and NGO management
  • to discuss ways of improving organizational impact and effectiveness
  • to review state-of-the-art approaches to evidence-based advocacy
  • to have the opportunity to network and share experiences

Webinar Training

Due to the ongoing concerns of COVID 19, WECAN SmartStart and Masterclass programs transformed from in-person training to webinar training. The program is in progress. Web training topics and dates are detailed below.


Sponsors of the WECAN Academy 2020/2021

The WECAN Academy 2020/2021 is supported by additional educational grants from:


WECAN Academy Programme Committee & Coordinators

Ananda Plate, MPE – Bettina Ryll, MPNE – Jan Geissler, CML Advocates Network – Gilly Spurrier, MPNE –
Kathy Oliver, IBTA – Markus Wartenberg, SPAEN – Hans Scheurer, MPE – Susanna Leto Priolo, WECAN


Alison Mendonca (Project manager)

Jan Geissler (Programme coordinator)