maanantai 14. kesäkuuta 2021

Baltic Sea Region Network on Personalized Health Care


Baltic Sea Region Network on Personalized Health Care was established in 2015 to connect universities in the area to support health through doctoral education (PhD) in health sciences. Baltic Sea Region covers quite a wide area geographically including the countries on the shore of the Baltic Sea as well as the neighbouring countries. The area is home to millions of inhabitants and general health status differs between the countries; thus, health promotion in the area is essential. Doctoral education provides understanding and skills to produce and disseminate evidence-based care individually. Further, doctoral education prepares health care professionals for leadership roles in academic and clinical settings. The career development of health care professionals would be promoted with available PhD education in health sciences.

The Network aims to offer doctoral students in health sciences a systematically constructed, scientifically ambitious, and multidisciplinary research training which benefits from Baltic Sea Region contacts. Another aim is to strengthen the collaboration in Baltic Sea region. Furthermore, the Network contributes to the scientific standard of personalized healthcare research and increases the number of internationally competitive experts in Baltic Sea Region. Personalized health care is an important element in health promotion, treatment, and rehabilitation strategies. Personalized health care emphasizes the individual uniqueness of a person; each patient is approached individually, and the patient participates in the decision-making. Molecular-based personal health information is also connected to the concept of personalized health care.

Baltic Sea Region Network on Personalized Health Care includes 10 universities in nine countries around the Baltic Sea and neighbouring countries. The universities are (alphabetical order based on the country): Southern Denmark University, Odense, Denmark; University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia; University of Turku, Turku, Finland; University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany; Rīga Stradiņš University, Riga, Latvia; Klaipeda University, Klaipeda, Lithuania; Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania; Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway; Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland; and Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. 
The Network is coordinated by the University of Turku, Department of Nursing Science.

A study within the Network universities was conducted in 2018 to investigate the situation and variations in doctoral training in health sciences. The results showed that the opportunities to apply for doctoral education in the field of health sciences differ in the Baltic Sea Region. The existing programs vary in their prerequisites, curricula, and assessment standards. In some countries, PhD programs in the field are under development. The main challenge to establish PhD programs seemed to be limited resources. To support the equality of doctoral education in the area, the Network has organized a yearly cost-free Summer school for all doctoral students in the Network universities since 2016. In 2020, the Summer school was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Summer school in 2021 will be organized online for the first time. Further, yearly conferences targeted to doctoral students, have been organized for improving their research reporting skills and supporting future collaboration.

The Network has a lot of potential for collaboration which could improve the quality of doctoral education in the area. The plans made for the future cover sharing expertise in teaching and co-supervising of doctoral students as well as international mobility. Virtual theoretical courses will be a cost-effective way to provide high-quality courses for all doctoral students in the area. Co-supervision of doctoral students will serve as a foundation of stronger research collaboration. Mobility between Network universities for both doctoral students and teachers in PhD programmes will provide possibilities for developing, for example, methodological skills. After established practices in doctoral education, more efforts will be addressed to developing the research collaboration in health sciences in the Baltic Sea region. Some universities within the Network have already shared a research interest and awarded with a grant.

In case of you got interested in the Baltic Sea Region Network in Personalized Care and your university/institution is connected with the Baltic Sea area, please contact Hannakaisa Niela-Vilen, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku, Finland, email: hmniel(at)

On behalf of the Baltic Sea Region Network in Personalized Care:

Anna Axelin, Helena Leino-Kilpi & Hannakaisa Niela-Vilen, University of Turku, Finland

Lisbeth Rosenbek Minet & Dorthe Nielsen, Southern Denmark University, Denmark

Mari Kangasniemi, University of Tartu, Estonia

Katrin Balzer, University of Lübeck, Germany

Kristaps Circenis, Rīga Stradiņš University, Latvia

Alona Rauckiene-Michaelsson, Klaipeda University, Lithuania

Natalja Fatkulina, Vilnius University, Lithuania

Alice Kvåle & Tobba Therkildsen Sudmann, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway

Kay Sundberg & Susanne Guidetti, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

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