Almedalen 2017

Back in Stockholm it is time to reflect on three busy days in Almedalen. Karolinska Institutet has less presence in Almedalen, with regard to own initiatives but also as regards management presence, than several of the other large universities. There might be reasons for this but that is something that I think we should discuss for the next year. Below, I touch on some of the events that I took part in.

KI event ”Skärmspel och rollspel – så kan forskning bidra till förbättrad psykisk hälsa bland barn och unga”.

Mental illness among children and young people in Sweden have increased over a longer period of time. What can we do to help children and young people? What does research say and what can we as a university do? This is a real societal challenge and what can be more important than the health of our children? The topic is not so often discussed and we can raise the awareness and invite to discussions on the topic, and that was what we did in Almedalen. We can also show good examples of how researchers at KI can contribute and that was also what we did in Almedalen. As a university we do not only have a responsibility to spread knowledge but also to listen to the society and its challenges

Magnus Jägerskog, General Secretary for Bris, The Children’s rights in Society, set the stage starting with their latest report. There is no simple explanation why mental illness have increased, but it is important to invest in research and to make results available. Professor Danuta Wasserman presented her work how suicide attempts among the young can be prevented by education and role playing. Professor Emily Holmes presented how the screen game Tetris can be used to prevent unpleasant memories after traumatic events.

From the following panel discussion it was clear that collaboration between many actors are needed including the health care system, voluntary organizations such as Bris, universities and politicians. We also have to acknowledge the long term perspective of research and implementation in repeated cycles of testing, evaluating and then taking the next steps based on this.


How well prepared are nurses for their profession?

The “Västra Götaland” region had organized a panel discussion on the theme “How well prepared are nurses for their profession? Newly trained nurses often lack certain practical skills in the profession while the theoretical academic skills are good. The question is what should be done about it?”

I stressed the importance of a solid theoretical foundation in nursing, as a distinct scientific discipline. We should focus on making the practical parts better and more efficient. It is important that the students really get chances to practice their skills, and this requires time as well as trained and experienced supervisors. This is a shared responsibility for higher education authorities and universities along with the health care system. At the same time, everyone will at some point be new at the job and the employer must provide a good and effective introduction. I also noted in the debate that there seems to be a consensus that the theoretical knowledge is important, not the least when the health care system is becoming more and more complex, but that the practical elements need to be developed. To get all our students to complete their education and that nurses remain committed to their profession is of great importance to KI and the society.

How does a university welcome everyone?

Academic Housing had arranged a breakfast discussion about broadened recruitment. How does a university welcome everyone? This is of course a key issue for our society and what can we as a university do and how can Academic Housing provide arenas to facilitate this? I think one important aspect is visibility, going out into the schools to show that university students, teachers, professors and university management are no strangers. We should also open arenas at the universities where we can invite young people to present what a university is and what it can provide for them. The Campus at Flemingsberg was brought up as an example where much can be done to improve integration between the Campus and the surrounding areas. There is hope that the Gymnasium that is planned for the Neo building (that also includes KI activities) might broaden recruitment and also provide an interaction for these students with higher education.

After Macchiarini; About courage and possibilities

Finally, I took part in a panel discussion together with Melvin Samsom and Ann-Marie Wennberg, hospital directors for Karolinska and Sahlgrenska, respectively.

There is a general agreement that we need rules and regulation to support clinical research. We need to further develop an open culture and provide leadership that supports individuals to do clinical research of high quality. Much has been achieved in this aspect as compared to the last time this topic was discussed in Almedalen but there is more to do!


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