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Vice President Aymerich receives Trifermed award for her contribution to improving people's quality of life

  Photo: UOC

Photo: UOC

Anna Torres Garrote
The awards recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and initiatives in the health sector

Marta Aymerich, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) Vice President for Strategic Planning and Research, was one of the winners at the Trifermed Awards 2019 for her contribution throughout her career to improving people's quality of life. The award ceremony was held on Thursday 13 June at Barcelona's CaixaForum.

Aymerich, who has a PhD in Medicine and Surgery from the Universitat Autnoma de Barcelona and a Master in Public Health from Harvard, has been the UOC's Vice President for Strategic Planning and Research since 2013. Her career has always focused on serving others. "I always think of the end user, the patient, with the goal of ensuring that scientific results make it to clinical practice," she said. She is a firm believer in translational research, which "enables the results of research in health to reach users and generate a social impact". Indeed, the UOC develops this kind of research, and is pushing the boundaries ever further through its work on e-health.

In terms of education, 2008 saw Aymerich take part in a project to introduce innovative, problem-based learning (PBL) methods in the University of Girona's Medicine programme. These disruptive methods broke with tradition: they see the teacher light the spark, but let students work together with a focus on self-led learning.

She started at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in 2013 as Vice President for Strategic Planning and Research and has continued with her research activity at the University. She is now also President of the Executive Board of the eHealth Center – a pioneering research centre in Europe that generates, transfers and shares knowledge about e-health with the goal of enabling and empowering citizens and professionals alike through the use of digital technologies.

Aware of the social impact that research needs to have, she also devotes time to communicating science and is a regular contributor of articles in the press.

Aymerich saw the award as "recognition of the impact that research can – and does have – on individual and community health, and in particular, on the interaction between tech and health".

The Guttmann Institute's Barcelona Brain Health Initiative, the Hospital de Sant Joan de Du and the Associaci Pallapupes complete this year's winners

The 4th Trifermed Awards for social impact in healthcare also recognized the work of the following individuals and organizations:

  • "Initiatives" category: the Guttmann Institute's Barcelona Brain Health Initiative, represented by lvaro Pascual-Leone, the Guttmann Institute's scientific advisor, scientific director of the Barcelona Brain Health Initiative, and professor of Neurology at the Harvard School of Medicine.

  • "Foundations" category: Hospital de Sant Joan de Du, Barcelona Children's Hospital, represented by its general manager, Manuel del Castillo.

  • Extraordinary Award: Associaci Pallapupes, represented by its founder and manager, Angie Rosales.

The jury was made up of the following experts from academic and research institutions, industry and health centres:

  • Montse Vendrell, managing partner at Alta Life Sciences

  • Clara Camps, partner and co-founder of Asabys Partners

  • Mara Dierssen, president of Trisomy 21 Research Society, Systems Biology Program CRG-Center for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona Institute for Science and Technology

  • Pere Regull, CEO of the Institut Qumic de Sarri (IQS)

  • Joan Comella, director of the VHIR, Vall d’Hebron Institut de Recerca

  • Ignasi Biosca, CEO of the Reig Jofre Group

  • Antoni Villar, CEO of Adacyte Therapeutics

Sergi Trilla, founder of the Trifermed Awards for social impact in healthcare, explained that they "aim to shine a light on the humanistic values in the people and groups of people who wake up every day thinking about how they can help others, improve people's quality of life and find solutions to the diseases we're constantly fighting against". Trilla added that these awards ensure that "the stories that are destined to change the world of health are heard".