Published: 16-02-2023 11:48 | Updated: 28-02-2023 16:46

New professorship at Karolinska Institutet centred on prevention

Grupp av äldre människor som alla gör samma yogarörelse.
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Thanks to donations from numerous actors, Karolinska Institutet is now able to create a new professorship in prevention medicine. The professorship is named after its patron, HRH Prince Daniel.

Healthcare has traditionally focused on treating and curing diseases. Modern research has shown, however, that the most effective contribution society can make to human health is to prevent disease and promote healthy lifestyles. Thanks to donations totalling SEK 23 million, Karolinska Institutet is now establishing a professorship in cardiovascular prevention.

For many years, HRH Prince Daniel has been promoting healthy lifestyles amongst the young, for example through his engagement in Generation Pep and the Swedish Crown Princess Couple’s Foundation. The new professorship at Karolinska Institutet now bears his name: the Prince Daniel Professorship in Cardiovascular Prevention.

Reduce disease and premature death

The primary donors are the Norhed Foundation via the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation, health analysis company Werlabs, transport solutions company Scania and Region Stockholm. The donors, all of which have worked a great deal with prevention, hope that this new professorship will strengthen research in the field of prevention with the aim of finding new ways to improve public health and reduce disease and premature death.

“There needs to be a lot more research done on prevention, so thankfully we can now establish a professorship in this field at Karolinska Institutet,” says KI President Ole Petter Ottersen. “We know that preventative initiatives can bring considerable gains to the individual, to the healthcare system and to society in general. In spite of this, only a small fraction of healthcare resources are put into preventative measures.”

Much of the total disease burden in Sweden is caused by unhealthy lifestyles. Research shows that 45 per cent of all dementias, 80 per cent of all cardiovascular diseases and 30 per cent of all cancers can be prevented through improvements in lifestyle. But what lifestyle changes would be most effective and how can the healthcare services best reach the people most in need of help? These are questions that the new professor will try to find answers to.

The position will be advertised in 2023 and will be partly clinical in order to smooth the passage of new knowledge into practice. Besides conducting clinical and preclinical prevention research, the professorship will also concentrate on collaborating with different societal actors such as companies and associations, and on outreach and communication activities.