1st Faculty of Medicine joins the European preventive medicine network to be led by Oxford Brookes University

Zveřejnil: Ing. Mgr. Bc. Vendula Běláčková Ph.D. | Poslední úprava: 09.04.2013

Prague, March 14 – Through its Department of Addictology of the First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague has joined a new network of 32 universities and institutions across Europe to help prevent diseases such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and mental illness, led by Oxford Brookes University.

Non-communicable diseases are the most significant burden to society, and are often preventable, yet only a small proportion of national health budgets is spent on preventing them.

The European Commission (EC) is providing more than £500,000 in funding to support the launch of the Science for Prevention Academic Network (SPAN), which will enable an international group of prevention scientists based across Europe to build a wide-reaching new field of scientific expertise to help prevent non-communicable diseases.

SPAN was launched last week in Oxford.

Roman Gabrhelik, who is leading the local partner for the SPAN project, said the future of prevention science, research, and education would be given a tremendous boost by the launch of this international network of experts: “We will build a strong scientific base in this important field and build collaboration which has not existed across Europe in this area until now."

“We aim to build science in this area, attract more young scientists to the field, and make sure that the latest research is shared across Europe.”

The bulk of national health budgets across Europe is devoted to the area of treatment, with only a tiny percentage being spent on prevention.

“There’s a real mismatch here,” said Roman Gabrhelik. “In terms of dealing with these non-communicable diseases most of our health budget is spent on treating them and yet the spend on prevention can be as little as three or four per cent.”

Heart disease and cancer are caused by four main risk behaviours: smoking, excessive drinking, poor diet, and lack of exercise. SPAN will help prevent these diseases in people before they manifest serious symptoms as they grow older.

The EC is providing initial funding to help build the new Europe-wide network. The funding will allow experts from the 32 institutions to conduct an audit of the health prevention sector across the continent, improve education and training, build networks, and run workshops with researchers, in particular young researchers.

SPAN was launched at a two-day event at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford on Thursday 28 February and Friday 1 March. The event will see the 32 institutions finalise the work plan.

SOURCE: Oxford Brookes University

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