About us

About EPAI

The European Patient Advocacy Institute (EPAI), established as a charitable institution in Germany in 2017, acts as a patient-led education and research platform to strengthen patient advocacy and patient involvement.

EPAI is determined to empower and strengthen the patient community by developing, leading and implementing methodologies, processes, and projects to strengthen patient advocacy, patient involvement and evidence generation in patient advocacy, research, health policy and healthcare services.

EPAI engages with patient advocacy organisations and other healthcare stakeholders to drive change. EPAI’s collaborations are encompassing a range of networks and initiatives that share our commitment to patient-centered care. Among our partnerships, we liaise with everyone that specialises in educational, regulatory, and support services, all aimed at improving patient outcomes and fostering an environment of shared knowledge and patient advocacy.

Meet the EPAI Team

These are the people working on projects driven by the European Patient Advocacy Institute


Jan Geissler

Managing director

Jan Geissler is a cancer survivor and a long-standing patient advocate since 2001. Jan co-founded the patient organisations LeukaNET, CML Advocates Network, Leukemia Patient Advocates Foundation, WECAN and the Acute Leukemia Advocates Network. He was the Director of the European Patients Academy (EUPATI).

Jan represents patients on a number of institutions and committees on the European and global level. He is managing director of the European Patient Advocacy Institute in a volunteer capacity, and is CEO of the patient engagement think-tank Patvocates.


Team Lead

Sara draws from over 25 years of rich experience in leading, training as well as mentoring diverse and multicultural teams towards defined joint goals. With a background in social psychology and new leadership methodologies, Sara brings a unique perspective to her role as coordinator of the EPAI team and navigator of the EPAI project portfolio. Beyond her project management responsibilities, Sara serves as the driving force behind the WECAN Secretariat and is a member of the WECAN Coordination team. She leverages her expertise in leadership and understanding of team dynamics to ensure the optimal use of team resources and foster collaboration, leading to innovation and succesfull team outcomes. Sara is based in Germany, was raised in Spain and is fluent in German, English, Spanish and has a basic level of understanding Catalan, Portuguese and Italian. She has two adolescent daughters.

Francisco Mena   

Legal Project Manager

Francisco holds a Master’s degree in Law (Universitat de Barcelona, 2009) and a LL.M in European Law (Université libre de Bruxelles, 2010). Between 2010 and 2015, he was a PhD researcher in human rights and European law at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Université libre de Bruxelles, where he was also a teaching assistant. Francisco was a Visiting Graduate Student at St. John’s College, University of Oxford, for the academic year 2013-14. He has published several peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as academic book chapters in the field of human rights law, European law and legal theory.

After a long professional break due to health issues, Francisco joined EPAI in February 2024. He is based in Brussels and speaks English, French, Spanish and Catalan.

Sara Rossi 

Research Manager

Before joining EPAI, Sara lived 10 years in England and gained experience in the health and social care sectors. Sara achieved an MSc in Public Health, then specialised in the design and implementation of qualitative research methods. She then worked for a not-for-profit organization set up by the English Parliament, designing community engagement plans and research studies, based on local populations’ needs assessments. Finally, Sara spent 3 years as a qualitative researcher in an Italian palliative care setting for children and adults.
As a patient and an advocate for those with chronic rheumatologic conditions, coupled with her experience, Sara believes in the power of research methods to empower patients’ communities and to bring better outcomes for all.
Sara is now based in Italy, she speaks Italian and English, and she’s studying the French language.

Ana Amariutei 

Research Manager

Ana is a cancer survivor and after finishing her treatment, she decided to study biomedical science. She undertook her bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees at the University of Sheffield, and alongside her studies she acted as a patient advocate for 9 years.

After completing her PhD in July 2023 she joined the European Patient Advocacy Institute (EPAI), where she worked as a Research Manager and is assistng with the Evidence-Based Advocacy (EBA) programmes. Ana is originally from Romania and is now based in Germany. She speaks Romanian and English.

Paula Capparelli 

Senior Project Manager

Paula is equipped with a background in Social Communication from UNLP, Argentina, an MBA from UC, Spain, and specialized training in entrepreneurship (Babson, USA), human-centered design (IDEO), and digital transformation (EOI). At the young age of 23, she co-founded a company in Buenos Aires and two years later she fulfilled a lifelong dream by joining a European field hockey team, embracing the life of a professional athlete.

For over a decade, Paula has merged her enthusiasm for sports with her expertise in design, marketing, and innovation. She served as the head of MarComms for a non-profit entrepreneurship center for more than seven years and spearheaded an innovative health-tech project, leveraging Artificial Intelligence to transform oral pathologies diagnosis. Following a career pause due to health concerns, Paula has now joined EPAI as a Senior Project Manager.

Our mission

  1. Empowerment of patient advocates through education: Provide resources to educate and empower patients, ensuring that patient representatives have the knowledge and skills to advocate for the health and wellbeing of their community.
  2. Research collaboration: Foster collaboration in healthcare research, focusing on patient involvement to ensure that research is patient-centric and address patient needs.
  3. Policy: Influence health policies both at national and international levels to better represent patient interests and needs.

Our Goals & Values

  1. Nothing about us without us: Always ensure that the patients are involved early in projects, initiatives and decisions for their health.
  2. Collaboration: Work collaboratively with different stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, researchers, industry and policymakers to achieve our shared goals.
  3. Diversity and inclusivity: Ensuring all voices are heard and represented.

Statutes & Objectives

Development and implementation of educational measures in the field of medical research and development in various formats, in particular for medical laypersons such as patients, relatives, nursing staff and for local, regional, national and international patient organisations.

Clarification, education and the provision of practical knowledge in the field of medicine, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, making a contribution to constant and sustainable medical research and development, the best and informed use of public health services, as well as consumer advice and consumer protection