The Alumnus or Alumna of the Year recognition has been bestowed by the Faculty of Medicine for nearly a decade, from 2011 onwards. Recipient proposals were welcomed for individuals who are alumni of the University of Helsinki, who have made significant contributions to society and, hence, have promoted the public engagement of the disciplines of the Faculty of Medicine.
The Alumna of the Year in 2019 at the Faculty of Medicine is Marjukka Mäkelä, professor emerita and specialist in general practice, who after retiring from the National Institute for Health and Welfare continues to serve in a professorship at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Mäkelä’s links to the Faculty of Medicine remain strong.
“It’s great to receive recognition from your home faculty. I’m delighted to join a distinguished band of colleagues and to make my personal contribution to the development of the Faculty.”
Mäkelä wishes to provide tools based on scientific evidence to support decision-making in healthcare, having already established the clinical practices of the national Current Care Guidelines as their first editor-in-chief. Mäkelä’s strengths include her professional range and activity on the international stage. She has been described as a collegial doer with a constructive approach who actively expresses herself and motivates others.
As for the strengths of her alma mater, the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Helsinki, Mäkelä cites the ability to work towards reform and keep up with contemporary demands. The sense of community at the University and the importance of its networks bear fruit also after graduation in professional life.
“The Faculty provides you with skills and a network that last a lifetime. You should follow your heart and think about how to change the world!”
Over her career, Mäkelä has received recognition both in Finland and abroad. Alongside an impressive academic career, mentoring a younger generation of researchers has been a source of joy for Mäkelä. She is an inspiring example of how research and teaching can be combined with public engagement. To Mäkelä, the role of alumni in supporting junior colleagues is an opportunity she wishes to advance further.