Management responses to violence against healthcare workers

Workshop concept note


EHMA 2023 is the 28th edition of the EHMA Annual Conference, taking place in Rome on 5-7 June 2023 co-hosted by ALTEMS, Graduate School of Health Economics and Management of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. The last few years acted as an unprecedented catalyst to health systems’ transformation, adding new layers of complexity to health management. New topics emerged and old ones gained renewed importance: the increasing use of digital technologies; the need for workforce upskilling and reskilling; and the One Health approach. Gathering experts from Europe and beyond, EHMA 2023 is a platform to discuss today’s challenges; identify innovative, long-lasting approaches to overcome them; and ensure health systems resilience.

More information on the conference can be found at  

Short description of the session

Healthcare workers are enduring violence that jeopardise their physical and mental health. Incidences of violence against health and care professionals are increasing, occurring in-person as well as verbally online. According to the World Health Organisation, up to 38% of the healthcare workforce are exposed to physical violence during their careerand many more are verbally assaulted by patients and visitors. Despite the risk that this phenomenon poses to public health and healthcare systems, it still receives inadequate attention at European and international policy levels. Because of the role that healthcare professionals play in systems’ resilience and sustainability, addressing this pressing issue is ahealth management priority. 

In December 2022, international stakeholders from public health, policy and management published a commentary to address violence against healthcare workers as a health policy and public health issue and highlight the complex dimensions. The commentary urged the need to protect healthcare workers, while raising awareness on the political dimension and calling for public engagement and research. Furthermore, the lack of effective implemented protective measures and prevention policies calls for immediate action. Six months after its release, call to action takes on a new dimension by reconvening authors in a workshop to interactively identify sustainable solutions with health managers in the audience. The roundtable will also include front-line healthcare professional to inform the debate with their insights and day-to-day experiences.


• Develop European and international initiatives that aim to prevent and reduce violence against the healthcare workforce.

• Hear the first-hand experiences of responses.

• Discuss dimensions for action to address all forms of violence against healthcare workers more effectively.


Date and time

Tuesday, 6 June 2023   |   15:10-16:25 [75 minutes]


• Dr Ellen Kuhlmann, European Public Health Association section Health Workforce Research (EUPHA-HWR)and University of Siegen, Germany

• Dr Marius Ungureanu, Babeş-Bolyai University, Romania

• Dr Ellen McCourt, European Junior Doctors Association, Belgium

• Rolf-André Oxholm, Norwegian Nurses Organisation, Norway  

• Zoi Mylona, EHMA, Belgium

• Dr Michelle Falkenbach, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, United Kingdom



15.10 – 15.20

(10 minutes)

Introduction and workshop objectives

• Ellen Kuhlmann, EUPHA-HWR (facilitator) and Marius Ungureanu, Babeş-BolyaiUniversity, Romania (co-facilitator)

The facilitator will introduce the call to action and ask the audience to consider the challenges posed by violence against healthcare workers in their own work environments, and to be ready to offer examples for discussion and engage in problem-solving.

15.20 – 16.20

(60 minutes)



1. Each speaker will have 5 minutes to offer their unique perspective on the causes, challenges and possible solutions to violence against healthcare workers (policy, research, public education, supports for healthcare workers, etc.). 


Lived experiences

• Ellen McCourt, European Junior Doctors Association

• Rolf-André Oxholm, Norwegian Nurses Organisation


• Ellen Kuhlmann and Marius Ungureanu 


• Zoi Mylona, EHMA 


• Michelle Falkenbach, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies


2. Audience members will present their examples/case studies and speakers will have the opportunity to directly respond, grounding the high-level discussion in practical examples that are relatable for the audience. [35 min]


16.20 – 16.25

(5 minutes)

Main conclusions and take-home messages

• Ellen Kuhlmann, EUPHA-HWR and Zoi Mylona, EHMA