Bleddyn Rees


Bleddyn is a vastly experienced commercial lawyer with 30 years experience of outsourcings, privatisations and complex contracting and projects. He has a unique CV for a private sector lawyer, having spent three and a half years on secondment as General Counsel of the Commercial Directorate of the Department of Health. On his secondment to the Department of Health he advised the Minsters (Prime Minister, Secretary of State, Ministers of State), Special Advisors and NHS organisations and gave evidence to the Health Select Committee and the Public Accounts Committee.

Bleddyn has a very detailed understanding of the UK health sector and regulatory framework.

Brian O'Connor


Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Brian developed his career as a consultant, manager and investor. He has worked in the UK, US and Hong Kong and has significant experience as a company director in a variety of industries.

He has acted as a Corporate Recovery Advisor to companies, who have had financial, regulatory or strategic challenges, he enjoys taking on what are described as “hopeless cases” and proving the doubters wrong.

He is currently concentrating on the opportunities in the health and care sector, especially when it involves Digital Health Solutions and often acts is an investor, board director in companies to assist on strategy, fundraising etc.

Around ten years ago, he created, with others, the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance), as a collaborative way of breaking down the many silos that hold back innovation and better healthcare for citizens.
ECHAlliance, a not-for-profit organisation connects Governments, Industry, Research Institutions, Health Services, Patient Groups etc through a Global Network of Ecosystems.

Brian dedicates a considerable amount of his time to connecting people and organisations, who should already know each other.

In recent years, partly driven by the needs and learnings from the Covid-19 Pandemic, he also now leads the Global Health Connector Partnership (GHCP) which connects existing organisations to accelerate positive change globally.

The GHCP brings together like minded individuals and organisations, working together in a trusting, respectful and non-bureaucratic partnership and is having a powerful impact globally.

Julien Venne


ECHAlliance Non Executive Director.

Naturally evolving in an international environment (fluent in English, French and Spanish), passionate about digital transformation & social impact, Julien is an experienced C-level executive with track records in large corporates, start-ups, governments & public authorities, hospitals, universities and non-profit organisations.

Highly-skilled in strategic thinking, Julien supports the innovation in public and private organisations, around public policies, services & investments design, business modelling, market access & business development tactics, ecosystems building, customers’ engagement, marketing & communication.

As an entrepreneur or intrapreneur, Julien is designing digital products and services aiming to improve people’s life such as personalised health and wellbeing programmes, behaviours change strategies and solutions, digital platforms and mobile apps, GovTech & CivicTech, smart human cities, etc.

As a researcher, Julien is affiliated to the United Nations University (UNU-MERIT), the University of Maastricht (Netherlands) and the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (India). His researches focus on digital transformation, data governance and digital trustworthiness, digital democracy, behavioural sciences, health and wellbeing, public and international health.

Involved in ECHAlliance almost since its beginning, Julien has been Director of Strategy and Innovation during 5 years and now he’s Board Director in charge of the Digital Health Observatory (DHO) and the scientific content of our activities, as well as of the deployment of partnerships and ecosystems in Latin America. He’s also Board member of the Digital Health Society (DHS) and member of the Council of the Global Health Connector Partnership.

Julien is also regularly speaking at international events.

Angela Brand


Angela Brand, MD PhD MPH (USA) is Full Professor in the Department of International Health and Founding Director of the Institute for Public Health Genomics at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML) at Maastricht University as well as Professorial Fellow at UNU-MERIT (United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology), Maastricht, The Netherlands. She is also Dr. T.M.A. Pai Endowment Chair on Public Health Genomics and Head of the Department of Public Health Genomics at the Manipal School of Life Sciences as well as Adjunct Professor at the Prasanna School of Public Health at Manipal University (MAHE), India. 

Before she worked in the clinics, at various academic institutions and in governmental bodies in the USA and Germany. She is Paediatrician, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, holds a PhD in pathology, a Master of Public Health (MPH) from Johns Hopkins University, USA, and received her habilitation from the University of Bremen, Germany, focusing on Health Technology Assessment. 

She has been the pioneer of Public Health Genomics in Europe and coordinated and established successfully this field in more than 15 EU Member States within the last years via the Public Health Genomics European Network (PHGEN). She has been founder and Editor-in-Chief (2009-2017) of Public Health Genomics, the leading international journal focusing on the responsible and timely translation of genome-based knowledge and technologies into public health, health policies, and health systems. She is Fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation, USA, of the 21st Century Trust of the Wellcome Trust, UK, and Member of the New York Academy of Sciences. 

For the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2017 she was leading Task Force 2 “Data Donors and Citizen-Controlled Data Governance” to prepare for the Digital Health Society in Europe and beyond. Currently she is Member of the Board of Directors of the Digital Health Society (https://thedigitalhealthsociety.com) enabled by the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance, www.echalliance.com), Director of the European Centre for Public Health Genomics (ECPHG), Expert on „Big Data“ of the International Consortium Personalised Medicine (IC PerMed, www.icpermed.eu) jointly coordinated by the European Commission, over 26 European Member States and Canada, and Member of the Expert Group “Global Health Foresight” of the Science Division of the World Health Organization (WHO). 

She serves as Expert for the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the OECD, WHO, the EC, the German Robert Koch-Institute (RKI), Genome Canada, Science Europe, AXA Research among others. She collaborates with industry partners such as IBM, Roche, Pfizer, AMGEN, Novartis, MSD, Bayer HealthCare. Her research focus is on Public Health Genomics, Personalised Medicine & Personal Health & Care, Translational Research, AI and Big Data Analytics for Public Health, PPP, Innovation Management, and Data Governance & Cooperative Health Ecosystems (e.g. Health Data Cooperatives).

Recent publications of Angela Brand in PubMed you can find here

Publications of Angela Brand in Google Scholar you can find here 


Rachel Dunscombe


Rachel Dunscombe is CEO of the NHS Digital Academy and global lead for the KLAS Arch collaborative – a group of organisations creating academic quality evidence for Digitisation. She was formerly the CIO of the Salford Royal/NCA Group one of the 2 most digitally mature organisations in the NHS. She has worked across the health, care system as well as in the private sector and Europe. She is currently visiting professor at Imperial College London and a member of the UK government’s AI Council.

Maritta Perälä-Heape


Maritta Perälä-Heape, Professor of practice in data-enabled health care and innovation ecosystems; Director, Centre for Health and Technology (CHT), Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland. She is managing the strategic R&D&I collaboration between academia, business and public healthcare sector (OuluHealth ecosystem). She is actively contributing to the policies on health-related data practices and competence building in exploiting the next generation data sets for the development of future predictive service provisions.