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Senior Vice president of Patient Care in the Novo Nordisk Foundation

Last week it was announced that our longtime colleague and LUDC researcher/SUS clinician Martin Ridderstråle has been appointed Senior Vice President of Patient Care in the Novo Nordisk Foundation. This is not only a remarkable achievement by Martin but also goes to show that our environment fosters excellent scientists and outstanding clinicians. Martin is one of the most versatile people I know. He trained as a basic scientist, was fostered into a great clinician under Leif Groop’s reign at the Endocrinology Department in Lund/Malmö. He later became Head of the Endocrinology Department at SUS, took on a similar role at Steno Hospital in Copenhagen and subsequently became an executive at Novo Nordisk. As if that were not enough, he found time for an MBA at Copenhagen Business School. He is also a damn good cyclist! I rang Martin up and asked him to explain a bit more about his new role at the foundation.

Congratulations on your new appointment as “Senior Vice President of Patient Care in the Novo Nordisk Foundation”. This is a great achievement!

MR: Thanks, Hindrik! Yes, this is truly an exciting opportunity.


How does the NNF involve itself in patient care?

MR: This is a good question. To academia, the Novo Nordisk Foundation is a major funder of pre-clinical and clinical research. And this will of course, in the end, benefit the care of patients. However, in the statures of the Foundation it is also stated that one of its major objectives is “to support research hospital activities within diabetes in Denmark”. The Foundation has chosen to do so by supporting the development of Steno Diabetes Center’s across Denmark, with Steno in Gentofte (soon to relocate to Herlev) being the original Steno. Following the decision to co-fund and support the Danish regions to develop similar Centers there are now also Steno Diabetes Centers in Zealand, Odense, Aarhus, and Aalborg. Through a research-based approach, the Foundation wants to help make Denmark a global leader in delivering the best patient-centered care within diabetes. As a first priority, the Foundation will advance all aspects of diabetes care in Denmark across a patient’s lifetime through the Steno Diabetes Centers public–private partnership model.


What will you try to do in your new role?

MR: I am a firm believer that treatment of a disease such as diabetes is not only a matter of what we do but equally important of how we do, i.e. the delivery of patient care. This is why the patient-centered approach is so important to everything I do and value. Together with my team I will help the Danish regions with this ambition through active participation and collaboration. Personalizing diabetes care through precision medicine is very high on my agenda. Implementing and developing the principles of translational medicine in clinical science will be paramount. In my role I will also be in charge of other Novo Nordisk Foundation activities within diabetes and comorbidities, along with funding mechanisms for non-diabetic endocrinology and Steno Collaborative Grants.


What will the impact of your work be on diabetes care and research in Sweden?

MR: The Steno Diabetes Centers should be viewed as a “melting pot” and a means to integrate clinical research and development of the delivery of health care. Together, we are shaping what will become tomorrow’s standard of care. I hope this will influence the way patient care is organised and delivered worldwide. But we are of course not working in isolation. We want to inspire and be inspired, and diabetology and diabetes care in Sweden is a true source of inspiration. Researchers and clinicians from nearby and far are welcomed in all sorts of collaborations for which there may also be funding from the Foundation.