News

September 10, 2021

Research close to healthcare a great benefit for the patient

It is only a few hundred meters between the cancer lab at Medicinareberget and the Department of Oncology at Sahlgrenska – where the patients are. Thanks to the covered footbridge over the street, it is possible to hide from the rain all the way. Still, the distance is too far for oncologist Lars Ny.

Lars Ny remembers it as it was yesterday. On a Wednesday at the end of February 2012, a group of researchers and doctors focusing on malignant melanoma gathered. Every now and then, in the university’s conference room on the Medical hill, the participants did not understand the significance of the meeting. But it would not just be the start of a whole new approach to research and patients. It would also increase the chances of survival for people with widespread skin cancer.

As for Kent Persson in Landvetter.

Kent’s story has been told several times in the media. How the metastases in the lungs, among other places, shrank and disappeared completely when he was given the opportunity to test the new pioneering form of treatment immunotherapy.

Lars Ny Photo: Johanna Ewald St Michaels

And we’ll return to him and how his white blood cells fought the tumors.

Went from the meeting too early

But first we must mention that everything was cracking there in the conference room in February 2012 – already after an hour.

– My colleague and I felt that we had to leave to handle our summer schedule. We missed the most important briefing, says Lars Ny about an unconscious wrong prioritization that could have been fatal.

– But another colleague realized that I should also take part in this, and arranged a new meeting a few weeks later.

These conversations were the start of what is called a translational approach to cancer research in Gothenburg, and what was then organized in the Sahlgrenska Translational Melanoma Group (“SATMEG”).

Research at the university became more directly linked to research close to the care and treatment of hospital patients.

“Pulls the curtain apart”

The meeting at Medicinareberget came about more or less by coincidence. Some researchers and doctors met to see if there were any common issues to discuss.

But coincidence came to change a lot. And if coincidence is given a push, the chances of good things developing increase.

This is one of the most important points Lars Ny wants to convey. People who meet unplanned across borders can think new thoughts together.

– I want to pull the curtain apart so that all stakeholders can see each other and meet in new constellations, he says and describes his vision of Sahlgrenska Life’s function as a cluster environment for translational research.

Then, in February 2012, translational research was already a well-established international concept. But the cancer researchers in Gothenburg who worked with malignant melanoma had not started working that way in a more developed way.

– There were still no clearly open doors between academic research and healthcare. The worlds did not meet in a natural way, says Lars Ny.

A couple of years later, the new treatment method immunotherapy had its breakthrough as a fourth and equally important treatment method as surgery, radiation therapy and cytotoxic drugs, for many tumor groups. It extended the life of the cancer patient Kent Persson.

He had to try a treatment that was not yet approved for use in ordinary care. What is usually called a clinical study or trial.

Kent Persson himself has told about how he went from being terminally ill to being declared healthy in seven months. After just one month, all the tumors had shrunk and several were completely gone.

If we start from the patient’s perspective, will care be better if, as you say, the worlds meet?

– It will be more natural for all patients to participate in research in this way, through clinical studies. They will notice that. You will have increased access to the most modern cancer treatment, because it is offered mainly in clinical studies.

An advantage for the patient?

– Those who have participated in our clinical studies often highlight the benefits for the individual. You get security and almost optimal care. A doctor and a nurse with continuity and long-term individualized planning with examination times and follow-up visits. Because that’s how the studies are structured.

– This is how you wish it would be for all patients. But that is not the case.

Could the number of studies increase through Sahlgrenska Life, and more patients get this benefit?

– I believe so. There are many good examples. Kent is not the only example of how participation in a clinical study completely changes the conditions of life.

Had Kent had this chance to live much longer, if you and your team had not had this way of working?

– He and many other patients would definitely not have been allowed to participate if we had not been so involved in clinical and translational research.

Lars Ny points out that the translational approach has become a matter of course in medical university regions and research clusters around the world. In the vicinity of western Sweden, the Oslo Cancer Cluster is an example.

– There they are very close to each other with preclinical research, labs, clinical studies and patient contacts. The experiences from there are very interesting for us.

– But you also see it in the Öresund region, in Copenhagen they have come a long way, and around Europe and in North America. All the major American cancer hospitals work in this way, says Lars Ny.

His expectations of Sahlgrenska Life are very clear. It is about proximity and stimulating interaction between the various actors that contribute to research results and new treatment methods.

But it is not only the already functioning networks and personal contacts that would benefit.

– These bridges between the Medical hill (Medicinareberget) and the care here at the hospital have significantly improved the accessibility. I see Sahlgrenska Life as an extension of these contact paths, so that more people can reach each other in an easier way. You meet in a natural way in everyday life.

About Lars Ny

Senior lecturer in immunooncology at the University of Gothenburg. Chief physician and associate professor at the Department of Oncology  and active at Sahlgrenska Center for Cancer Research, which is at the forefront of immunotherapy as a new form of treatment for cancer.

Medically responsible for the clinical trial unit with phase-1 at the Department of Oncology.

Background as a research physician at AstraZeneca and manager at Gothia Forum.

Originally published in Swedish in Sahlgrenskaliv – Sahlgrenska University Hospital’s digital magazine

August 20, 2021

Patients lead the way at the Pediatric Cancer Center

With children as patients, patient-centered care becomes a matter of course to fulfill the task. – For us, it is so obvious. A three-year-old who thinks the doctor is stupid will run out from the room, says Karin Mellgren, head of the Pediatric Cancer Center at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

Letting the hospital apparatus revolve around the patient based on the patient’s needs has long been a matter of course in pediatric cancer care. It has been required to be able to create the good care you want to provide.

– We need to create a secure environment for the child, but also for those around the child. There will be no good care if the patient is terrified and you cannot treat a child without the parents feeling safe, says Karin Mellgren.

She is the director of the pediatric cancer center, which receives children with cancer from all over western Sweden. In addition to Region Västra Götaland, the catchment area extends over Värmland, Northern Halland and Jönköping County.

The task is to take care of all children who have received a suspected cancer diagnosis – within three days.

– It is common for the children to come in, for example, on a Sunday, be investigated on Monday and for treatment to start as early as Monday evening, says Karin Mellgren.

– We want to get started as soon as possible.

The whole family is taken care of

Already there and then begins the important work of meeting the patients, the children with cancer, directly in their reality. As soon as a child is diagnosed, the pediatric cancer center takes responsibility for involving the entire circle around the child. When a pandemic does not put obstacles in the way, the whole family, including siblings, grand parents, is encouraged to participate from the beginning, to share the first shock and all the information.

– It is not a patient who is in crisis, it is a family. A cancer diagnosis always messes things up in a family; parents can be forced to stop working, siblings can have their schooling affected.

There are employees with a special focus on the siblings and there are those who have the task of taking care of the other parts of the patient’s wellbeing, such as school, kindergarten and surroundings.

“We are the children’s contact in everything”

Central to the work is that there should be a way in, and it should be easy.

– We are the children’s contact in everything. They come to us when they get a fever or complications, but we also take care of them if they break their legs because they have been out cycling. All contact with healthcare begins with us, says Karin Mellgren.

The pediatric cancer center also works actively to explain things to the patients based on their abilities. Picture materials, illustrations, fairy tales and parables become ways to reach the children – and others.

– It is sometimes the case that when we explain to the children, suddenly everyone understands.

There are magnetic figures to take home and use so that the child can easily explain to their friends and maybe siblings.

The pediatric cancer center has the overall responsibility and handles all heavy treatments, but over the years has also developed a good collaboration with the county hospitals so that the children do not have to travel to Gothenburg every time they have to take a test or receive chemotherapy.

Karin Mellgren is convinced that it is the model that is best for the patient.

Rooms with space and warm ambiance

Children diagnosed with cancer often have a long relationship with healthcare. There are children who spend 300 of a year’s 365 days in hospital. It places demands on the environments and Karin Mellgren was very pleased when the center in March 2021 was allowed to move into completely new premises.

– We have worked with this for a long time and we have been involved in the planning process all the way. It really is a building for children, made with those who spend a lot of time in hospital in mind.

She tells with warmth in her voice about the large atrium that is located in the middle of the new building and the large glass walls that open the view to the forest and nature outside.

– On our floor there is a long balcony, where children can move and play.

There is also a special lock-equipped unit with day room and corridor where children who are really susceptible to infection can receive care. There they can feel that they belong, but are still protected.

New technology in the new building also provides better opportunities to monitor patients with the help of connected instruments without constantly having to disturb them in their rooms.

Responsibility for the whole

The pediatric cancer center is responsible from the time the child falls ill until the day he or she turns 18 – or dies.

There are no hospices for children in the Västra Götaland region and no obvious model for home care. But with the patient in focus, it makes no difference to the children and their families who end up there.

– We take care of this too, says Karin Mellgren.

Originally published in Swedish at Sahlgrenskaliv – Sahlgrenska University Hospital’s digital magazine


International collaborations

Pediatric oncology is by nature internationally oriented. These diseases are so unusual that most people working in the field around the world understand the value of exchanging experiences, it is even necessary to take development forward.

The Pediatric Cancer Center has a long tradition of active participation in international networks. Staff at the Pediatric Cancer Center have helped to adapt treatment protocols in countries with less developed health care systems. For example, in some countries with large distances between hospitals, a model that makes it possible to provide care at home to a greater extent has been introduced.

All children in Sweden, regardless of where they live, have access to equal care. According to the Pediatric Cancer Center it is based on a long tradition of collaborating between centers in Sweden with well-functioning communication channels. This approach  is also used in contact with other countries.

Contact us at Sahlgrenska International Care if you are interested in finding out more about the Pediatric Cancer Center and treatments offered there.

August 19, 2021

Apply for Specialist Training in Orthodontics

Are you a dentist with at least 2 years of clinical experience, interested in specialising in Orthodontics? The admission for dentists applying to enter the Specialist Dental Training Program (SDTP) in Orthodontics in September 2023 is now open.

Welcome to Gothenburg

The Specialist Clinic for Orthodontics is located on the Medical Hill, across the road from Sahlgrenska University Hospital, where you will find the renowned Institute of Odontology. The globally recognized faculty and modern clinical facilities attract many international dentists to the specialist dental training programs.

The concentration of specialist dental care in one place allows close interaction between the Public Dental Service in Region Västra Götaland and the Institute of Odontology at the University of Gothenburg. The result: a research-intensive environment for clinical practitioners that maximizes value for the patients.

Upon completion of the program you will have gained more in-depth knowledge of the Swedish healthcare system with its emphasis on quality, value-based leadership and patient-centred care. Wherever in the world your journey as a specialist continues, we hope that this will contribute to developments in dental care.

Join our team 

You will join a specialist clinic with approximately 50 employees and 12 postgraduate students, offering patients modern, evidence-based and person-centred orthodontic treatments. We treat most types of teeth irregularities in children, young adults and some adults, with the use of a variety of orthodontic appliances, including miniscrews and clear aligners.  Each year, we start approximately 1300-1400 new treatments.

At the Specialist Clinic for Orthodontics you will also treat patients that need interdisciplinary care in close collaboration with specialists in orthognatic surgery, pedodontics, prosthetics (Brånemark clinic), periodontology and endodontics.

Is this you?

As with all specialty fields, there is no one right profile. In fact, there are many. What unites us who choose to become specialists in Orthodontics, is the interest for the field itself.

We are looking for a person with excellent hand to eye coordination as well as communication and interpersonal skills and a very good command of English. Since we treat many young people, an important part of your job will be to involve the patient and educate them on how to take care of their teeth during and after treatment. To achieve good communication with the younger patients you need to be able to express yourself well in Swedish.

Note that if you are applying for a Swedish dental licence, you need to show a certification of proficiency in the Swedish language at level C1 (in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). For dentists without an EU dental licence, proficiency in Swedish at level B2 is required. Sahlgrenska International Care can arrange with language studies prior program start.

Apply

Read more about the program description Orthodontics Postgraduate Program in Göteborg, the program layout, and application procedure  to see if this is the right position for you. Remember to submit your application no later than October 31 2021.

After the deadline we will review the applications and select a few candidates for digital interviews on Teams in November. Those who successfully pass that step will be invited to a second interview.

Please note that we are following the COVID-19 development and the recommendations of relevant authorities closely. We will inform you continuously if this affects the application process.

Our Education Coordinator is happy to help if you have any questions.

We look forward to finding out more about you!

 

 

June 24, 2021

Summer @ the office

Summer is here. Take care out there in the sun, wind and water.

Blåhammaren Mountain station Photo by Paulina Sarbinowska

You can reach us all summer, weekdays 9 am to 12 pm (noon) from 12 July to 20 August at +46 (0)31-342 68 03 or send an e-mail to sahlgrenskaic@vgregion.se.

May 31, 2021

Healing rape victims in war-torn Congo-Kinshasa

A country too rich for its own good. This is where the blood minerals are – a great natural resource as well as a source of
brutality that has ravaged the country for so long.  Hope in Action helps rape victims, used as weapons in the deadliest conflict since the Second World War.

Hope in Action works from Kavumu in the south to Beni in the north and Wakalele in the west, with 2 hospitals and 21 smaller healthcare centres. At the height of the war, 30,000 women and girls – all rape victims – were cared for each year.

Photos: Hope in Action

In the epicentre of the conflict

-We chose the name Hope In Action because it is probably the most important thing, not to lose hope that things will change, that life will get better,” says Tina Björkdahl Andersson, one of the founders of Hope In Action. A number of years ago in Congo-Kinshasa, or Zaire as it was then called, Tina lived in the jungle with her Swedish husband, Dan, who was born and raised there. They had cut ties with Sweden and had no plans to move back, but they were forced to by the war. Their home was Nord-Kivu, which was at the heart of the conflict at that time.

Organization with local roots

– Unfortunately, in one sense Congo-Kinshasa is too rich for its own good. It has a huge amount of natural resources that many want to exploit, at the same time as there are conflicts between livestock and arable farmers, and between established landowners and new settlers in the country. All in all, it is an area with many varied interests, says Tina.

Dan continued to work in Congo-Kinshasa and started up Hope in Action as an international organization there. Tina and Dan later started up the organization in Sweden, which now has a very competent board. They have created a robust organization in Congo-
Kinshasa with local employees, where the aid work is determined by the needs around them. As well as hospitals and smaller healthcare centres, Hope in Action runs rehabilitation centres for women and girls who have been exposed to sexual violence. Some of the material donated by Region Västra Götaland, in West Sweden, now reaches their organization.

Healing rape victims

– Women arrive here and they are so broken inside that they feel everything is finished, but through the healing process at these centres, learning new skills, becoming accepted and getting support long after they go back to their villages, means that together we are slowly changing society. I don’t really think we can understand how much impact this equipment has. We see that we send out some materials, but for them it means the start of something new, says Tina.

– This is recycling at the highest possible level! The material that comes here is amazingly good, even if it
doesn’t measure up to the latest Swedish standards. Consider the hospital beds and think about how many patients are taken in and what it means for them to be cared for in a situation where they doubted whether they would even survive.

The conflicts are complex, but one thing is for sure: women and girls become targets in such a brutal way that it is difficult to believe.

– There are no women out there who are better at taking care of other women than those who have had a similar experience themselves. Many of the women who have been raped work in our team now. Just being able to sit and talk to someone who has been through the same thing means so much.

Hope In Action collaborates with a church network (CEPA:c) which has over one million members, and here they are able to reach out to crime victims. The women who work at Hope In Action’s reception centres often have to walk to inaccessible places to search for women or girls who have been attacked. Medical staff at the centres make an assessment of the injuries and those in need of surgery are taken by ambulance to Kyeshero Hospital in Goma. It is part of the same organization as the Panzi Hospital, which is managed by the Nobel Laureate, Dennis Mukwege. About 300 cases a year are so severe that they are sent directly to Bukavu, where he works.

Goes one step further

The organization has developed a programme that takes a holistic approach, starting with the physical injuries and followed by the psychological healing process. Trained deaconesses, also called listeners, provide psychosocial support. The wounded can also go to school (for a literacy programme) and then learn a new profession or craft. The goal is to be able to return to their home village after a training period of up to six months. Hope In Action works against the stigmatization of rape victims and with changing people’s attitude.
There are often many victims in conflicts, but few who are held accountable. As the only organization in the area, Hope In Action has gone one step further.

– We are affiliated with a lawyers’ office. Together we search for those who committed the violence and ensure that at least some of these people end up in court.

The war was over by 2003, but the conflicts are very much alive. Many people are aware that it is going on, but when a situation is prolonged, reporting and public interest tend to decline.

– There is such a thing as Congo-Kinshasa fatigue. Because worries have crept closer to Sweden, many
people tend to put their own problems first, so it is really encouraging for us that more people want to get involved in
Congo-Kinshasa, says Tina Björkdahl Andersson, from the aid organization Hope in Action.

Safe road for aid

So far Region Västra Götaland has donated textiles and visual aids, and the first container will soon be sent.

– One of our strengths is that we have good warehouses options in Congo-Kinshasa and full control over the logistics involved. As the only organization of our kind, we have an agreement with the customs whereby their officials check the containers in our warehouse, under our supervision. Materials are then distributed where they are most needed.

Growing collaboration with Region Västra Götaland

There are plans to expand collaboration with Region Västra Götaland in 2021. The needs are huge, without any doubt. At the moment there is a dialogue with Anders Lygdman, aid manager at

Sahlgrenska International Care, about what Region Västra Götaland can donate and on what scale.

– We have built a new centre in Masisi through fundraising, but it needs to be fully equipped with 30 beds and operating tables, as well as office furniture and so on. Together we can make a big achievement there, Tina concludes.

 

May 7, 2021

Apply for Specialist Training in Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT)

Are you a medical doctor interested in specialising in ENT (Otorhinolaryngology)? We are looking for a communicative team player who always puts patients first to join the Swedish Specialist Medical Training Program (SMTP) starting in 2022. To be eligible as a SMTP-resident you need to have at least 2 years of clinical experience, preferably within ENT or head and neck surgery and research.

Join our team

You will join the ENT department at one of Northern Europe’s largest hospitals. We treat patients from all over Sweden, and some from abroad. We usually carry out around 35 000 outpatient visits and welcome around 2 500 patients per year in our inpatient wards.

During the ENT residency you will get the opportunity to treat both children and adults, which will give you an insight into the entire spectrum of the ENT field. Focus areas are:

  • head and neck cancer and other tumor surgery
  • nasal and sinus surgery
  • facial fracture
  • phoniatry
  • airway surgery
  • otology and otosurgery including hearing implants, otoneurology / dizziness
  • habilitation and rehabilitation

We work in multidisciplinary teams, around Sahlgrenska University Hospital’s three sites (Östra, Mölndal, Sahlgrenska). You will also frequently collaborate with other departments.

Besides their clinical work, all specialists are deeply committed to research. For example, an ongoing high-profile project is the development of a unique bone conducted hearing aid technique together with Chalmers University of Technology.

 

Is this you?

Are you a fast learner who always puts patients first?

We are looking for a communicative team player with prior experience in ENT or head and neck surgery and research. You should have a high level of ambition, easily put theory into practice, not hesitate in stressful situations and be interested in performing research.

To fit into our department, you will need to listen, understand and earn the trust of both adults and children. We are specialists in different, highly challenging areas of ENT and need each other to be able to provide the best possible care for a broad spectrum of patients. All for the benefit of the patient´s safety and treatment outcomes.

Besides your clinical duties (40 hours per week), you will continuously need to study key literature as well as participate in research projects. Not only will you perform on-call duty, but you will also be part of the out-patient service and assist in the emergency and operating room. Eventually, depending on your skill development, you will be able to operate autonomously.

The clinical part of the training program reaches over 5 years. Besides the core training program in ENT, you will also do rotations in other specialties and participate in a number of different courses.

Apply

Read more about the program layout and application process to see if this is the right position for you. Remember to submit your application no later than 30 May 2021.

After the deadline we will review the applications and select a few candidates for Teams interviews in June 2021. Those who successfully pass that step will be invited to a second interview at the hospital.

Please note that we are following the COVID-19 development and the recommendations of relevant authorities closely. We will inform you continuously if this affects the application process.

Our Education Coordinator is happy to help if you have any questions.

We look forward to finding out more about you!

 

April 1, 2021

Look back on the past year with us

Before we take a break for the holidays, we cannot help but look back on a year that stirred everything.

Covid-19, you were not welcome but you forced us to dare more.

At Sahlgrenska International Care, we transformed the recruitment process to our Specialist Training Programs making it all digital.

15 doctors and dentists could continue our Specialist Training Program uninterrupted.

60 international patients were treated at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, in 5 medical areas. 10-12 containers with medical equipment aid was shipped.

But even if borders closed, the doors remained open for international patients referred within our agreements with other countries where the care was deemed necessary.

The road to the recipients of our medical equipment aid donations became more bumpy, but by entering new partnerships with several aid organizations we ensured that it could reach countries in need.

Despite the 50 % decrease in number of international patients and aid, we started off 2021 with a strong financial result.

 

March 8, 2021

A more even gender distribution on training programs

At Sahlgrenska International Care we strive to achieve a more even gender distribution on our Specialist Dental and Medical Training Programs.

 

Two parents with two children playing outside at Isaberg ski resort

This is a family of five from Saudi Arabia, where both parents were highly qualified and admitted to our specialist programs in Internal Medicine and Opthalmology.

We try to find ways for families to have a good study-life balance during their time in Sweden. Access to childcare is key.

Our team is committed to contribute to #sdg5 everyday.

#internationalwomensday2021 #genderequality #globalgoals

February 16, 2021

10 years of international aid - the SIC way

10 years of international aid. For a sustainable world, and good healthcare for all. Thank you Anders Lygdman for leading “our” way!

Staff at hospital in Ethiopia standing next to a donated ultrasound
Donated ultrasound used in Debre Tabor Hospital

Read more about our journey in Sahlgrenskaliv.

December 23, 2020

A Christmas like no other - greetings from us

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