Our history

The European Association for Palliative Care was established in Milan, Italy in 1988 and was the initiative of Professor Vittorio Ventafridda and the Floriani Foundation.  There were 42 founding members.

The aims of the organisation were to:

  • Create  and increase awareness of palliative care throughout Europe and beyond by advocating and educating European and local policymakers and stakeholders
  • Increase awareness and promote the development and dissemination of palliative care at scientific, clinical and social levels
  • Promote learning, development and research in pallaitive care 
  • Support scientific and educational events promoting the development of palliative care
  • Promote and sponsor publications or periodicals concerning palliative care
  • Bring together those who study and practice the disciplines involved in the care of patients with advanced disease (doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and volunteers)
  • Unify national palliative care organisations and establish an international network for the exchange of information and expertise
  • Address the ethical problems associated with the care of the terminally ill 

The founding members recognised the importance of education as a tool for developing palliative care throughout Europe and in one of their early meetings, they made the decision to host the first EAPC World Palliative Care Congress in Paris, France in 1990.  At this early stage, the board recognised the important role of nurses and noted their essential role and impact on the development of palliative care in healthcare systems across Europe. The development of palliative care and the EAPC continued to progress as documented by Ventafridda, De Conna and Blumhuber in 1993.

Led by their shared vision for greater access and improved palliative care throughout Europe, Professor Ventafridda and his early board colleagues: Elisabeth Killander, Derek Doyle, Charles-Henri Rapin, Franco De Conno, Xavier Gómez Batiste-Alentorn, Jeanne Gray Simpson, Frances Sheldon and Giorgio Di Mola, established the foundations of what is now a successful and sustainable Europe-wide membership organisation, which has lobbied and advocated for, and positively impacted on, the development of palliative care throughout Europe and beyond. 

We are very appreciative of the vision and hard work of the founding members of the EAPC, our past presidents, our first CEO, Heidi Blumhuber, and her colleague, Amelia Giordano, and encourage you to follow the links to read more about our history.

Professor Philip Larkin
Professor Philip Larkin
President 2015-2019

Nurse (Switzerland)

EAPC Board 2015-2019

Professor Sheila Payne
Professor Sheila Payne
President 2011-2015
Professor Lukas Radbruch
Professor Lukas Radbruch
President 2007-2011
Professor Marilène Filbet
Professor Marilène Filbet
President 2005-2007

Physician (France)


EAPC Board 2005-2007

Professor Stein Kaasa
Professor Stein Kaasa
President 1999-2005

Physician (Norway)

EAPC Board 1999-2003

EAPC Board 2003-2007

Past-Chair of the EAPC Research Network 

Professor Geoffrey Hanks
Professor Geoffrey Hanks
President 1995-1999
Professor Vittorio Ventafridda
Professor Vittorio Ventafridda
President 1988-1995

Physician (Italy)

The biennial Vittorio Ventafridda Lectures take place at each Research Congress  

EAPC Board 1989-1992

EAPC Board 1992-1995

1927-2008 Obituary