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Saturday, 6 June 2015

Update on biosimilars from the European Medicines Agency

The European Medicines Agency has just released an update on biosimilars - the latest in its series of  multimedia briefing sessions. The videos were recorded at a joint briefing session for EMA's Human Scientific Committees' Working Parties with Patients’ and Consumers’ Organisations (PCWP) and Healthcare Professionals’ Organisations (HCPWP). 

Sessions include
- an introductory briefing by Professor Sir Kent Woods
- an overview of the science behind biosimilars
- how they are evaluated by regulators
- how to bridge the scientific evaluation with clinical reality
- public acceptability of biosimilars
- promoting better understanding of biosimilars 

View the videos:


The European Association for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (EACPT) was founded 22 years ago and now includes as members all national organisations for clinical pharmacology in Europe, as well as organisations from further afield internationally.

The EACPT aims to provide educational and scientific support for the more than 4000 individual professionals interested in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics throughout the European region, with its congresses attended by a global audience. The EACPT also advises policy makers on how the specialty can contribute to human health and wealth.

The 12th biennial Congress of the EACPT is being held in Madrid from 27th to 30th June 2015.

Friday, 5 June 2015

New York poet Maya C Popa in Hippocrates evening reading in London - 24th June

New York poet Maya C Popa joined a panel of poets at a Hippocrates evening reading in London on 24th June. Maya Popa won the £5000 2015 Hippocrates Open Prize for Poetry and Medicine for her poem A Technique for Operating on the Past. 

Hear Maya discussing poetry, medicine and her 2015 Hippocrates Open First Prize.

Poets who contributed to the readings included 4 poets commended in the 2015 Hippocrates Prize: Cate Bailey, Valerie Fry, Molly Garbutt, Sandy Goldbeck-Wood, and Norbert Hirschhorn; Wendy French, who won the inaugural first prize in the 2010 Hippocrates NHS awards, and poet and artist Lynne Hjelmgaard. 
Maya Popa was among 9 poets from the US named in the 2015 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine announced on Friday May 22nd at an Awards Ceremony in London at the close of an International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine. 

The Hippocrates Prize is an annual award with a closing date of 31stJanuary. There are 3 categories: an Open International award, First Prize £5000, with entries from over 60 countries since 2010; a UK NHS award, First Prize £5000; and a Young Poet award of £500. 

About her poem A Technique for Operating on the Past, Maya said: "There is something pleasantly elliptical about the fact that a neuroscientist relies on the very instrument that is the subject of his study. I had long wanted to write a poem about Gr.T. Popa, my great-grandfather, after whom the Medical University in Iași, Romania, is named. 
Maya Catherine Popa

He worked on neuro-morphology in the 1930s and 40s, but his remarkable research was ultimately cut short in light of his anti-fascist, and anti-communist affiliations. That he was forced into hiding and died of a routine ailment while escaping the communists still seems a dark irony. In a way, writing this poem felt like a letter to him, an acknowledgement of that unfairness." 

Maya Popa is a teacher and writer living in New York City. She holds degrees from Oxford University, where she was a Clarendon Scholar, NYU, and Barnard College. Her poetry appears in Tin HouseKenyon ReviewPoetry London, and elsewhere. Her essays and criticism appear widely, including in Poets & Writers MagazinePN ReviewThe Rumpus, and The Huffington Post. Her first collection of poems, Severe Clear, was completed this year.
Cate Bailey

Cate Bailey is an Academic Clinical Fellow in Old Age Psychiatry and trainee psychiatrist in East London by day (and often night). At present most of her writing is restricted to systematic reviews, posters and discharge summaries though occasionally she scrawls illegible ramblings on post-it notes and in margins, whilst commuting (if she gets a seat). She has previously won the Mslexia short story competition (2011) and her poetry has been published in Popshot and the Lightship Anthology (2011). 

She said: "Restraint was written after a series of seclusion reviews with a patient seen during a night shift. It attempts to capture the challenge of balancing containment of highly agitated patients with the risk of repeating traumatic experiences in an effort to manage harm to self and others." 

Wendy French is Poet in Residence at the Macmillan Cancer Centre at University College Hospital, London. She also developed healthy heart poems within the Healthy Heart Awards founded by the Healthy Heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust. Wendy was head of the Maudsley and Bethlem Hospital School for fifteen years and now works with people with aphasia/dysphasia, helping them to recover their use of language through poetry. She also facilitates writing in other healthcare settings. 

Lynne Hjelmgaard, Dannie Abse and Wendy French at the 2013 Hippocrates Summer reading evening

She has won prizes in international competitions, including first prize in the NHS category of the Hippocrates Prize in 2010 and second prize in 2011. She co-authored Born in the NHS with poet Jane Kirwan, published by the Hippocrates Press in 2013. More about Wendy French.

Valerie Fry is part of the duo, Wind and Words, which takes clarinet and poetry recitals into care homes. Using themes, (including love, weather, travel, World War I, Christmas) to integrate the music and the words, the duo also give recitals in churches, WIs and libraries. Valerie's play, A Game of Two Halves won BBC Radio Five Live’s playwriting competition in 2006; she has also been commended in Rottingdean, Ware and South Bank poetry competitions.  Last year she was joint second in the first Carers UK poetry competition. This is her second Hippocrates commendation, the first being in 2013. Valerie lives in London. 

She said: “Nourishment was inspired by my mum, Ruby, whose feet and legs I used to massage regularly.  It was something we both used to enjoy, but it became doubly nurturing when she decided to reciprocate. I used to love her thumbs on the soles of my feet.  Ruby died just over a year ago.”
Molly Garbutt

Molly Garbutt was commended in the Hippocrates Young Poet category for her poem Crystal Violet. She is from Worcestershire and primarily writes on the themes of mythology, feminism and current affairs. Despite her love for all things Literature-related, she will, if all goes well, be taking up an offered place at veterinary school this autumn. She was recently a finalist in the Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate competition, and was also a commended Foyle's Young Poet last year, and hopes to continue her endeavours into the world of poetry in the future. 

She said: "My inspiration for Crystal Violet came, as many of my ideas do, from being a little too daydream-y in Biology, and letting the knowledge I garnered in the lesson loose on my subconscious. From that rose a poem I love simply because it intertwines the complicated and emotional aspects of a terminal diagnosis with the pure, blank results of a medical test, which parallels the deep contrast between humanity and science that I've been seeing for the past three years as a work experience student in various veterinary situations."

Sandy Goldbeck-Wood
Sandy Goldbeck-Wood is a psychosomatic gynaecologist, poet, and international medical journal editor currently living in arctic Norway. She has published poems in anthologies, poetry magazines, medical journals and national newspapers, many of which explore medical language and experience. Several have received prizes or commendations since 2010. 

She has recently completed a first full collection, as part of a doctorate exploring the relationships between medicine, poetry and narrative from a psychoanalytic standpoint (University of East Anglia,Tromsø). With research interests in biopsychosocial approaches to medicine and medical humanities, Sandy is a regular contributor to international medical journals, media commentator on sexual health, and member of international research networks in medical humanities.  

Her commended poem was Anosmia.

Norbert Hirschhorn
Norbert Hirschhorn (photo credit: Cynthia Myntti) is a public health physician, commended by President Bill Clinton as an “American Health Hero.” He lives in London and Beirut.  He has published four collections: A Cracked River (Slow Dancer Press, London, 1999), Mourning in the Presence of a Corpse (Dar al-Jadeed, Beirut, 2008), Monastery of the Moon (Dar al-Jadeed, Beirut, 2012), and To Sing Away the Darkest Days. Poems Re-imagined  from Yiddish Folksongs (Holland Park Press, London, 2013). His poems have appeared in numerous US/UK publications, several as prize-winning (see  

He said: "The tragedy described in my poem Even If He Can't Answer Maybe He Can Hear You happened to my father with whom I had had an awkward relationship, one just beginning to resolve when he was struck.  I thought of him increasingly as my own children reached adulthood.  The poem took shape in the 40th year after the event -- anniversary dates have a way of intruding on the mind."  

Lynne Hjelmgaard (see photo above) was born in New York city and moved to Denmark in 1971. She studied at the Aarhus Art Academy and graduated from Frøbel Seminarium in Copenhagen. She taught Creative Art for children before becoming a full time sailor. As a result of crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat with her husband she wrote poems that were later published in the chapbook, Distance Through the Water in 2002. (I Want Press, France). 
Jane McLaughlin

Her first collection, Manhattan Sonnets was published in 2003. (Redbeck Press, U.K). In 2007 she received a Residency grant for the Danish Academy in Rome. Manhattan Sonnets was recorded in CD format with Brockhoff’s Arhiv in Denmark in 2008, as was her 22 page poem The Coconut Rat Diary. Her work has appeared in many literary magazines such as Acumen, The Rialto, Poetry Wales and Shearsman. She divides her time between London and Copenhagen. 

Jane McLaughlin has been successful in several national competitions including the Hippocrates Prize, in which she was commended in 2014 for her poem All Clear. Her poems and stories have been widely published in anthologies and magazines, and her first collection of poetry will be published by Cinnamon Press in 2016. 

David Morphet
David Morphet has published eleven collections of poetry.  He has taken a keen interest in mental health and aftercare.  In 1972 he was a founder member of the National Schizophrenia Fellowship (now RETHINK) and was its Chairman from 1977-82.  For the first part of his career he worked in the Diplomatic Service.  Subsequently he became an Under-Secretary in the former Department of Energy, and he has also worked in the private sector.  

About He Has Turned Within he said that over the years he has written poems inspired by the plight of sufferers from severe mental illness, and in particular that of a (now deceased) younger brother.  He Has Turned Within comes from his 2003 collection The Angel and the Fox.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Poetry to prevent childhood obesity? The Healthy Heart Poetry Project.

Unhealthy lifestyle in children increases risk of premature and preventable heart disease in later life. Since 2011, 22 schools have received Healthy Heart Awards from the healthy heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust. Schools participating in the Healthy Heart initiative receive a Healthy Heart Award certificate to recognize their interest in education about how to keep the heart healthy.
Healthy heart poetry for schools was a theme during the 6th International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine held in London on 22nd May 2015. 

Poet Wendy French described a schools project she undertook with 2015 Hippocrates Prize
Wendy French
judge Rebecca Goss as part of a collaboration between the healthy heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust and the Hippocrates Initiative. Raphael Shirley read poems by children from the edited anthology Love your Heart which arose from the project.

The Cardiovascular Research Trust established Healthy Heart Poetry in 2013 in partnership with the Hippocrates Initiative. The aim of the Healthy Heart Poetry initiative is to encourage interest among children of all ages in lifestyle that helps to keep the heart healthy.

There is now an annual Healthy Heart Poetry event at which the children have the opportunity to read their poems from the published Anthology, and Healthy Heart Awards are presented to participating schools. Selected poems are published in an anthology, the first of which, Love your Heart, was published in December 2014. 

The Poetry and Medicine Symposium was held to mark the announcement of the winners of the 2015 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. The Hippocrates Prize is an annual award with a closing date of 31st January 2016 for the 2016 Hippocrates Prize.

See more about entering for the 2016 Hippocrates Prize. 

With a 1st prize of £5000 for the winning poem in the Open International category of  £5,000, £5000 for the 1st Prize in the NHS category, and £500 for the Young Poets Award the Hippocrates Prize is one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single poem. In its first 5 years, the Hippocrates Prize has attracted over 6000 entries from over 60 countries, from the Americas to Fiji and Finland to Australasia.

A turn for the verse: poetry in medical education

Giskin Day spoke on poetry in medical education during the 6th International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine held in London on 22nd May 2015.  

 In her talk, she described initiatives in her own teaching for enhancing reflection and resilience – two qualities that are ‘trending’ in medical education. She also put the case for a third ‘R’: resonance. 

Listen to the talk by Giskin Day on poetry in medical education

Giskin Day said: "Medical education is well known for having a very crowded, fact-driven
Giskin Day
curriculum. Making space for the humanities, including poetry, often is an uphill struggle. Even so, medical schools around the world are realising that reading and writing poetry can develop important skills".

She added "Where reflection requires the distancing mechanism of a mirror, and resilience requires a degree of emotional hardening, resonance unites the rational and emotional in a state of responsive consonance. As a clinical skill, we need to insist on the importance of understanding and developing aurality alongside medicine’s traditional ocular-centricism. 
It is the attentive, empathic listener who establishes resonance with his or her patients. But resonance is also about setting other strings aquiver. Poetry challenges detachment and unites reason, memory and imagination. This allows us to make a strong case for its inclusion in medical education as an intellectual, creative and practical pursuit."

Giskin Day trained as a botanist in South Africa before falling in love with a British species and moving to London. After five years at the Science Museum she moved next door to Imperial College London. She coordinates some 30 College-wide courses in the humanities and teaches science communication and medical humanities. Giskin is an unofficial ambassador for the humanities in the Medical School and frequently is called upon to suggest resuscitation techniques for lifeless teaching workshops. 

She completed an MSc in Science Communication and an MA in Literature and Medicine from King's College, and might soon embark on a PhD on the rhetoric of gratitude in healthcare. She is possibly the only person to have themed her application for senior fellowship of the Higher Education Academy around medical poetry. Imperial is awarding her a President’s medal for outstanding contribution to teaching excellence.

The Symposium was held to mark the announcement of the winners of the 2015 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine.

The Hippocrates Prize is an annual award with a closing date of 31st January 2016 for the 2016 Hippocrates Prize. 

See more about entering for the 2016 Hippocrates Prize.

With a 1st prize of £5000 for the winning poem in the Open International category of

£5,000, £5000 for the 1st Prize in the NHS category, and £500 for the Young Poets Award the Hippocrates Prize is one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single poem. In its first 5 years, the Hippocrates Prize has attracted over 6000 entries from 61 countries, from the Americas to Fiji and Finland to Australasia.