Published: 22-02-2018 09:45 | Updated: 23-02-2018 13:59

Suzanne Axell, Yvonne Enman and Ingrid le Roux appointed honorary doctors at Karolinska Institutet

The Board of Research at Karolinska Institutet has awarded honorary doctorates to Suzanne Axell, Yvonne Enman and Ingrid le Roux. They will have their doctorates formally conferred at the university’s traditional ceremony at Stockholm City Hall on 4 May 2018.

Each of the new honorary doctors in medicine have received the award for their major contributions within Karolinska Institutet’s sphere of interest.

Suzanne Axell, hedersdoktor vid Karolinska Institutet 2018.Journalist Suzanne Axell has presented the programme Fråga Doktorn (Ask the Doctor) on Sveriges Television for the past 15 years. The programme, which attracts around one million viewers each week, disseminates medical knowledge and information regarding the latest research through viewer questions, reportage and interviews – often with invited experts from Karolinska Institutet.

The work of Suzanne Axell places the patient’s perspective at the heart of the programme. Her positive and welcoming attitude invites viewers to ask their medical questions, something that also provides valuable feedback to researchers and doctors regarding how successful they have been in communicating information to patients.

“I am incredibly honoured and delighted to be awarded an honorary doctorate. We have always worked to ensure that Fråga Doktorn remains a programme that anyone can watch and understand. In the programme, my responsibility is to the viewer. I dare to ask the straightforward questions that many people sit and wonder over, and it is especially gratifying to see this acknowledged,” says Suzanne Axell.

Yvonnve Enman, hedersdoktor vid Karolinska Institutet 2018. Yvonne Enman is awarded an honorary doctorate in medicine. She has worked for many years to promote cooperation and communication between researchers and patients. Yvonne’s efforts as a scientific writer have contributed to the strong support enjoyed by research from patients and the public at large, including the field of rheumatic disorders.

“Research offers hope to those of us who live with chronic disorders. By telling people about the research being carried out and the progress being made, I can offer them hope. The fact that Karolinska Institutet has seen fit to confer an honorary doctorate on me shows the importance of creating links between research and sufferers. This is important, and a pleasing acknowledgement for me personally. I am delighted and overwhelmed,” says Yvonne Enman.

Herself a sufferer from the rheumatic disorder SLE, Yvonne Enman has among other things produced special research supplements for the Swedish Rheumatism Association’s magazine. Through a combination of scientific insight and empathy for the day-to-day problems of patients, her articles have contributed to both a public understanding of research and an understanding among researchers regarding the needs of patients. Through her participation in teaching at Karolinska Institutet, Yvonne Enman has also provided undergraduates and doctoral students with an insight into living with rheumatic illness.

Ingrid le Roux, Karolinska Institutet educated physician and resident of South Africa since the 1970s, is awarded an honorary doctorate in medicine. In 1979, she launched an organisation to provide healthcare to vulnerable women and children in a township outside Cape Town. Since then, the organisation – the Philani Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Trust – has grown to encompass a number of clinics offering maternity and child welfare services in the townships around Cape Town.

The organisation’s Mentor Mother Programme recruits local women who have successfully raised children despite the difficult conditions in the townships. They are trained to spread their knowledge and experience to other women through home visits. Today, these Mentor Mothers work in many parts of South Africa as well as in Swaziland and Ethiopia.

Through her work, Ingrid le Roux has helped hundreds of thousands of African women to use their own knowledge and energy to improve their own and their children’s health, and to create a more secure life. Philani’s methods have also been evaluated in collaboration with reputable universities.

“Becoming an honorary doctor at Karolinska Institutet is fantastic. I can barely think of a greater honour than to receive the acknowledgement of such an internationally recognised university. This highlights work with women and children that has always been at the bottom of the list of priorities for healthcare in many vulnerable areas,” says Ingrid le Roux.

Becoming an honorary doctor at Karolinska Institutet
Honorary doctors are individuals on whom a faculty has conferred the honour and dignity of the title Doctor – that is, the right to use this title without meeting the usual formal requirements of the university’s study programmes and other regulations.
Karolinska Institutet appointed its first honorary doctors in medicine in 1910 and in odontology in 1949. Since then, approximately 300 honorary doctorates have been conferred.
Since 1999, the Board of Research has appointed honorary doctors in its capacity as one of KI’s faculty boards.