Denmark leads the world in its pro-research attitude #bio2012

Some highlights from an illuminating interview with Dr. Liselotte Hojgaard, Professor at Copenhagen University Hospital and Chair of the EMRC, member of the standing committee of the European Medical Research Councils, European Science Foundation, and Chair of the Science Advisory Board in Health Research at the EC.

  • Under Denmark’s socialized medicine system, basic research and clinical practice are housed in the same institution, facilitating translational research
  • Danes are the most pro-research citizens in the world. They are eager to participate in clinical trials

I asked her about some of the drawbacks of socialized medicine (e.g. long wait periods for critical cancer diagnoses that can seriously hamper treatment). She replied that there is a patients right charter that guarantees cancer patients a diagnosis within six days.

When I asked her how Denmark was able to develop such a pro-research culture, she responded that Danes long recognized the need to look beyond their borders for trade and economic growth. This has produced a long history of US R&D collaboration. There is also a strong curriculum in basic biological sciences, which likely supports strong public sentiment towards R&D. One of the strongest factors supporting translational medicine and R&D is that 30% of Danish MDs also have PhDs. This interdisciplinary training gives clinicians an appreciation of the importance of research to improving clinical outcomes, along with the skills to direct that research.

A fascinating interview. I look forward to investigating this further…

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