January 13, 2020

Professor of dermatology and allergology Antti Lauerma and professor of paediatric allergology Mika Mäkelä have won the first Physician & Congress (Lääkäri & Kongressi) prize. The new annual award recognises doctors who have successfully brought congresses in their own area of expertise to Finland. The prize of EUR 5,000 is donated by the Finnish Fair Foundation. The prize was given at the Doctor, The Finnish Medical Convention and Exhibition, at Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre.

The eligible candidates for the prize were medical specialists who have brought congresses to Finland in the 2015–2019 period. The winning congress, the 2017 congress of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), was held at Messukeskus Helsinki in June 2017. Allergologists Antti Lauerma and Mika Mäkelä played a key role in negotiating the holding of the event in Finland and handling practical arrangements with the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

“Holding an international medical congress in Finland almost always requires the efforts of an enthusiastic and talented local physician. The best clinical scientists in their field also work as specialists, combining the most recent research evidence with deep clinical knowledge, which is best for patients. Finnish expertise also provides assurance to international medical organisations when choosing Finland as a location for international congresses. The Finnish Fair Foundation wants to recognise these efforts”, says training manager Juha Pekka Turunen of the Finnish medical society Duodecim. Turunen was a member of the award committee.

“The work of Antti Lauerma and Mika Mäkelä is a fine display of Finnish determination and close collaboration between Finnish physicians. Efforts had been made to bring the EAACI congress to Finland several times over a 15-year period. Thanks to the congress, Finland and its high level of medical expertise gained great visibility in the year that also marked the centenary of Finnish independence”, says Turunen.

“Bringing a specialised congress to Finland requires long-term hard work in international forums. It is extremely rewarding to see the end result after arranging a top-level congress in such excellent facilities as those offered by Messukeskus, and in our hometown of Helsinki. Positive feedback came from friends and colleagues around the world, which was the best reward of all. The recognition now granted by the Finnish Fair Foundation is significant for us. It is an acknowledgement of the excellent cooperation with Messukeskus and the City of Helsinki, which made it possible to hold the congress here. I hope that this prize will inspire our medical colleagues in Finland to arrange congresses in their own field”, says Mäkelä.

The Finnish Fair Foundation distributes approximately EUR 400,000 in scholarships, funding and recognition awards annually. The best-known awards are the Kaj Franck Design Prize and the Young Designer of the Year Award. Physician & Congress is the newest of the Finnish Fair Foundation’s prizes.