Interview with Anna Ramnemark
Anna Ramnemark is the director of the node Forum North - and thereby part of the network Clinical Studies are working with in Sweden.
Who are you?
My name is Anna Ramnemark. I have an MD in geriatrics and specialise in internal medicine. I have worked in clinical research support since 2004, and with what later became Forum North since 2013.
How is the node organisation structured at Forum North?
Forum North is a joint research infrastructure for the four northern county councils: Norrbotten, Västerbotten, Västernorrland and Region Jämtland Härjedalen, with regional research centres in all the county councils.
When Forum North started, the goal was to make research accessible to large parts of the population and to expand trial centres and skills throughout the region. The basis for Forum North is collaboration between the region’s R&D (research and development) organisations and Regional Cancer Centre North, Biobank North, Register Centre North together with Umeå University, Mid-Sweden University and Luleå University of Technology.
Around 30 persons, from research nurses and coordinators to statisticians and communicators, work with node-specific studies on a daily basis. But as Forum North is not a separate organisation but a platform for collaboration, the overall number of persons involved is much higher.
Why is this assignment so important?
Firstly, it is about an equality aspect, that all citizens shall have the right both to contribute to the development of new pharmaceuticals and treatments, and also to have access to the latest treatments. Through our regional research centre, we try to make this possible for a large part of the population in the northern healthcare region.
Reaching out to a large percentage of the population in more parts of the country is also important from a national perspective. The ability to access a larger population and a more representative selection than just those patients and persons who live around the university hospitals makes Sweden more competitive when it comes to international pharmaceuticals studies and other research collaborations.
Another reason why it is important is that there is a very great amount of high-quality support and infrastructure available for researchers – but researchers cannot find it. It has been difficult to find out what support is available, and where to look for it, when county councils, universities and other actors all offer support services to researchers. Since the creation of Forum North, we can gather together all the services on one platform with a single entry point, at the same time as the facilities are available from various principals, in varying parts of the organisations and all over the region.
For us who work within Forum North, the national assignment is also positive as it provides opportunities for information exchange. You become inspired by each other and we can work together towards the goal of offering the whole population of Sweden the opportunity to take part in clinical studies.
What is currently happening in your region?
Thanks to the support from the Swedish Research Council, we have been able to increase our personnel throughout the region and also our range of services. We consider it important to communicate to all structures within the northern healthcare region that we contribute to collaboration and that there are opportunities to get help with clinical studies, so communication is an important part of our current work. We have now reached the point in the development of the node where the activities are becoming more known and established, which has led to increased demand that we want to be able to meet. There is now for example personnel with monitoring skills available throughout the region, and more will be trained. Several multi-centres are operational in the region.
We are constantly working actively on increasing collaboration in the region. For example, we hold regular monthly meetings with Register Centre North and Regional Cancer Centre North, and we have also established a council for biobank issues to facilitate collaboration in and research into biobanks and registers. All this aims to ensuring success in our goal: to be an entry portal for researchers and companies to research subjects and patients from all over Norrland.
Click here for further information on Forum North and our structure, and the support we offer