NOS-M funds Nordic online course in personalised medicine

Based on an initiative from the deans of the Nordic medical schools, the Joint Committee of the Nordic Medical Research Councils (NOS-M) has decided to fund a Nordic online course for medical students in personalised medicine.

The course will be given as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), and is aimed at providing university-level education in personalised medicine for computational/natural/molecular and medical scientists as well as health professionals working with clinical, research and/or other aspects of personalised medicine.

The NOS-M Chair, Jan-Ingvar Jönsson, Secretary General of Medicine and Health of the Swedish Research Council says:

“In recent years, NOS-M has focus attention on how to strengthen personalised medicine in the Nordic countries. Personalised medicine is not a development for the future, it is already here to stay. However, to be able to offer the best health care we must also be in at the forefront of research. One way of achieving this is to include the topic in the medical education, to educate the next generation of scientists and medical doctors.”

A MOOC with a Nordic focus will be able to build on Nordic strengths in both personalised medicine and education. The course will provide an opportunity to explore Nordic cooperation on distance learning, which is critically important to our activities to adjust to the constraints resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, as these may well last for a few years. It will serve as basis for a summer course specifically for Nordic medical students, as well as other virtual and blended learning curricula.

According to Professor Engilbert Sigurdsson, Dean at the Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, at the University of Iceland and co-PI of the course proposal:

“This course will provide students with a basic understanding of personalised medicine and serve as a platform for their future studies and training. The idea is for the students to use their new knowledge at their home institutions, thereby facilitating research and development, and the validation and implementation of personalised medicine more generally in the healthcare system.”

The coordinating group behind the initiative is particularly highly qualified, with representatives involved in education from several prominent Nordic universities.

“It is a specific aim for this MOOC to increase expertise and consolidate the Nordic countries’ international position in diagnosis, treatment, research and education in personalised medicine.” Sigurdsson adds.

Jan-Ingvar Jönsson believes that the Nordic countries can take a place at the forefront of personalised medicine development if they take steps to implement the required infrastructure.

“Our countries have unique access to good health data at the population level that we can draw on for clinical research. New discoveries based on such data have the potential for applications in clinical testing and implementation. In this early stage of personalised medicine development, we have a chance to create a Nordic model for research, translation, treatment, and education that can serve as an example for the rest of the world.” he says. “NOS-M hopes that funding of this course will be a constructive step towards building a Nordic model of this type.”