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Keynote speakers

Symptoms in context – symptoms in the making - Mette Bech Risør

Mette Bech Risør is an anthropologist and also holds a PhD. She is a Professor of Medical Anthropology at the General Practice Research Unit at the Arctic University of Norway. She has substantial experience with health research conducted in close collaboration with healthcare institutions, in particular within psychiatry and general practice. Her fields of interest include everyday experiences of illness and disease, their interface with clinical settings and the clinical realities of patients and doctors. A special focus is directed towards healthcare seeking, illness perceptions, interpretation of symptoms, communicative challenges and the relation between patient and doctor; these topics are approached with a critical eye focused on the structures of health care and health systems. Moreover, cultural and social contexts as well as political economies of health inform her research.

Medically unexplained symptoms - Per Fink

Per Fink is an MD and also holds a PhD. He is a Professor of Medicine and heads the Research Clinic for Functional Disorders at Aarhus University Hospital, which is an interdisciplinary clinic focusing primarily on conducting research in functional symptoms or medically unexplained symptoms and developing treatment programmes for patients with these symptoms. The clinic offers treatment of patients with functional disorders, including functional somatic syndromes and health anxiety. He has an extensive publication list and long teaching experience, which places him among the leading researchers within this area. 

Symptoms and diagnostics - Kurt Kroenke

Kurt Kroenke is an MD and also holds a MACP. He is a Professor of Medicine at the School of Medicine at Indiana University and is also affiliated as a Research Scientist with the Regenstrief Institute and the VA Center for Health Information and Communication in Indianapolis. He is a past President of the Society of General Internal Medicine as well as past President of the Association for Clinical Research Training. His research focuses on physical and psychological symptoms in medical patients, including pain, depression, anxiety and somatization. In addition, he is co-developer of the Patient Health Questionnaire scales, including the PHQ-9, the GAD-7 and the PHQ-15.

Symptoms and the professional approach to management - Tim olde Hartman

Tim olde Hartman is a GP and also holds a PhD. He is a Senior Researcher at the Department of Primary and Community Care at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands. His research mainly focusses on mental health in general and MUS in specific. He served as the first author of the national GP guideline on MUS by the Dutch college of General Practitioners. The guideline was translated into English and announced in the British Journal of General Practice in 2014. His activities aim to continuously improve the care for the large group of patients with medically unexplained symptoms. His research activities increasingly focus on the therapeutic context of the clinical consultation, in particular optimisation of doctor-patient communication (explanations) and relationship (empathy and support).

Doctor, is my symptom something serious or just something I must deal with? Perspectives on symptom research in primary care - Frede Olesen

Frede Olesen is a Professor of General Practice and a former general practitioner. He has more than 30 years of clinical experience and has authored more than 150 scientific publications. He has served as chairman of the Danish College of GPs and was the founding president of WONCA Europe. Furthermore, he has just finished his 9-year term as chairman of the Danish Cancer Society. Frede Olsen takes a special interest in the diagnostic process and the handling of medically unexplained symptoms.