Anna-Riia Holmström appointed as Finland’s first assistant professor in medication safety at the Helsinki One Health research network

Anna-Riia Holmström, Doctor of Science (Pharmacy), has been appointed as assistant professor in medication safety and effectiveness in human and veterinary medicine at the Helsinki One Health research network (HOH). The position, shared by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Helsinki, is an internationally significant initiative and the first Finnish professorship in the field.

With her interests lying in chemistry, Anna-Riia Holmström noticed during her studies that there are safe, tested and effective drugs available in Finland, but their usage is not always safe and effective. This causes a great deal of suffering to patients and their next of kin, as well as to the state in the form of expenses rising to billions of euros. Holmström, who will begin working as an assistant professor at the Helsinki One Health research network (HOH) at the turn of the year, aims to develop healthcare operations to improve the prevention of errors related to pharmacological therapy. Her new position is shared by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Helsinki.

Investigating the health, wellbeing and mutual interaction of humans and other animal species, also known as one health, is at the core of the HOH research network. Humans and animals are closely connected in terms of their shared diseases and pharmacotherapy, and the safe provision of care is an important part of the wellbeing of both human and animal patients. According to Holmström, research in the field is practical and there is an acute societal need for it.

In the field of medication safety and healthcare risk management, an increasing amount of cooperation can be conducted between the pharmacotherapies targeted at animals and humans. The field has a long history in human pharmacotherapy, which makes the application of research-based knowledge both ways across the boundaries of human and veterinary medicine the first task Holmström will be tackling in her new position. Another matter requiring further investigation are the most effective ways to promote medication safety in terms of impact.

- With the help of research on medication safety, we will be able to reduce the number of errors in pharmacotherapy and develop healthcare operations. What greatly inspires me in the field is that we are always considering the patient and their wellbeing, Holmström says.

Holmström finds the sharing of views and expertise among researchers as well as dialogue between researchers and society a powerful resource for the multidisciplinary HOH network. The network hosts experts in a number of fields, which makes it easier to achieve new scientific breakthroughs and insights. Holmström believes that a multidisciplinary approach to the concept of one health provides a unique opportunity for groundbreaking initiatives and scientific innovation.

- The future of science lies specifically at the intersection of different scientific fields. It’s there we will find solutions to the present and future challenges related to health and pharmacotherapy.

On 4 November, you can obtain more information about the operations of the Helsinki One Health network at the One Health Day event at Think Corner or via a livestream. Participants in the discussion include Professor Olli Peltoniemi, director of the HOH network; Tarja Pääkkönen and Annamari Heikinheimo, assistant professors at the network; as well as Sanna Lauslahti, DSc (Admin) and managing director of Pharma Industry Finland, former long-serving member of the Finnish Parliament.

More information
Anna-Riia Holmström:
Prof. Olli Peltoniemi, director of the HOH network, vice-dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine:
Prof. Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma, vice-dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy: