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Patients once again took part in a wide range of activities at the ERS International Congress in Milan during September 2017. 15 patient representatives gave presentations as speakers in scientific sessions, sharing real-world perspectives on topics including:

Feedback from participants indicated that they value patient perspectives integrated alongside scientific content: “The cystic fibrosis patient/parent testimonial from Zoe Elliott is the most powerful talk I’ve seen yet at ERS Congress” - @DundeeChest via Twitter

Manuela LeonardiSeveral patients also took part in educational sessions, helping to train professionals in a new diagnostic technique and sharing their experience of living with their condition.

Two patient representatives co-led a workshop for professionals, exploring ways to involve patients and the public in medical research and practice. The patients shared their tips for how clinicians and researchers can best work with patients, including when designing clinical trials, setting research priorities, and developing clinical practice guidelines.

Patients attending the Congress were encouraged to complete the EPAP module on participating in healthcare conferences in advance. This helped them to know what to expect and to prepare an engaging presentation for the audience. You can register for this module at https://www.epaponline.org.

The number and variety of sessions at the ERS International Congress involving patients has grown over the last few years and helps to highlight the real-world experiences, perspectives and priorities of people living with a lung condition and encourage healthcare professionals to examine their research and clinical practice from a different viewpoint.

Feedback from the professionals attending Congress was very positive, and it is clear that patient speakers are becoming an integral part of the programme for the future: “It is valuable to have a patient’s perspective and puts a real world emphasis on the importance of what clinicians and researchers are doing” – Chair of ERS symposium on the effects of air pollution on asthma and COPD.

If you are interested in speaking at the ERS International Congress in future, please email Courtney Coleman to register your interest