Research to improve people's health


The first PhD Day of the IDIAPJGol stands out for its innovation and participation

The assembly hall of the Institut Català de la Salut was filled on March 15 with doctoral students, researchers and healthcare professionals who participated in the first event held in Spain on the doctorate in Primary Care

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The Institut d'Investigació en Atenció Primària Jordi Gol (IDIAPJGol) has successfully celebrated its first PhD Day, an event that has brought together doctoral students, researchers, and healthcare professionals in Primary Care. The event, which is the first of its kind to be held in Spain, took place on Friday, March 15, 2024, in the assembly hall of the Institut Català de la Salut, which was filled for the occasion.

The opening of the event was given by the director of the IDIAPJGol, Josep Basora; from the deputy director, Anna Berenguera, and from the coordinator of the Project Management Unit, Mariona Pujol. Berenguera welcomed the event, highlighting that its objectives were to create a community of doctoral students in the field of primary care, to publicize projects that the IDIAPJGol is carrying out that may be of interest to primary care professionals who intend to pursue the doctorate, and recruit mentors among the Institute’s senior researchers.

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Next, Basora reviewed the main activity indicators of the institution during 2023, highlighting an increase in the number of international projects and studies promoted by the industry. Next, Pujol explained the research calls of the IDIAPJGol, in collaboration with the Institut Català de la Salut, which are aimed at providing aid for research projects, subsidies for the mobility of researchers, aid for the intensification of research and support for the completion of the doctorate. In the latter, the centre has granted five financial aid and two releases of 25 % of the working day for two years to be able to carry out the PhD thesis.

The inaugural session was given by Jaume Alijotas, senior consultant of the Systemic Autoimmune Diseases Unit of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, and professor of Medicine at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), where he is coordinator of the Doctorate of Medicine Program. Alijotas has provided data on the UAB’s third cycle studies and has highlighted the increase in the number of doctoral theses carried out at the University. During a subsequent discussion with the deputy director of the IDIAPJGol, Alijotas emphasized the importance of the doctorate to pursue an academic career and spoke about the application of international quality criteria in doctoral theses.

At the end of his speech, Dr. Alijotas praised the affiliation to the UAB of a “centre of excellence” like the IDIAPJGol, highlighting that it is a beneficial relationship for both institutions.

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Long term strategy

The event continued with a presentation by the coordinator of the Girona Research Support Unit of the IDIAPJGol, Rafel Ramos, who gave advice to people who are carrying out their doctoral thesis. Ramos has compared the doctorate to a trip, “in which you find impressive places that excite you,” and has highlighted the importance of establishing a long-term strategy before starting this trip, as well as a good training plan, and has highlighted the need for a good understanding between the thesis director and the doctoral student. “I learned many things from my thesis director,” stated Ramos, “beyond research.”

The USR Girona coordinator has also highlighted the importance of being clear about the research question and choosing a quality methodology, which allows the research results to “lead us to a good imitation of reality.”

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In addition, Ramos has advised considering “an integrative perspective that contemplates the sustainable development of society,” as well as social conditions and the gender perspective. The IDIAPJGol researcher has also emphasized the importance of seeking citizen participation, because “many times what interests us does not coincide with what interest people.”

During his presentation, the head of the Institute in Girona highlighted the importance of SIDIAP in research in Primary Care, given that “the IDIAPJGol laboratory is the data,” he explained.

Ramos emphasized the importance of honesty, which “is the most important quality of a researcher,” and has recommended the doctoral students in the room to learn to work as a team, to celebrate achievements and, above all, not to eternalize the realization of the doctoral thesis.


One of the highlights of the PhD Day was the Mindfulness workshop, led by the director of the EsMindfulness Institute, Andrés Martín, graduate in Science and doctor in Psychology. Martin, who completed his doctoral thesis on the effectiveness of mindfulness to reduce stress, highlighted the importance of this meditation technique to increase the performance of researchers, through full awareness and stress control.
Martín made the PhD Day attendees meditate, making them aware of the importance of “cultivating presence through breathing control.”

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Award-winning projects

After Andrés Martín’s conference, eighteen predoctoral researchers from IDIAPJGol briefly presented their research projects in Primary Care. Among the projects presented, five have been selected, which have been awarded funding to publish their thesis in open access journals. The communications recognized at the PhD Day were those of Maria Agràs, “Efectivitat d’una App per a la deshabituació del tabac en gestants (TOBBGEST)”; Dúnia Bel, “Impacte dels determinants socials de la salut en població amb patologia mental atesa en Atenció Primària de Catalunya”; Lucía Carrasco, “Multimorbidity and Frailty Trajectories and Explainable Prediction Models for Health-related Outcomes Using Longitudinal Electronic Health Records of the Ageing Catalan Population”; Ana Lozano, “La salud mental de adolescentes y jóvenes en Catalunya”, and Verònica Torras, “Efecte indirecte de la Pn13 pediàtrica, sobre la incidència i mortalitat de pneumònia per totes les causes en adults”.

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The deputy director of IDIAPJGol is very satisfied with the result of the institution’s first PhD Day and highlights that this event “has revealed the commitment of the research community to the advancement of research in the field of primary care.” Berenguera highlights that “with its resounding success, the IDIAP PhD Day will become a must event for doctorates in Primary Care in Catalonia.”

> Mercedes de la Cruz, IDIAPJGol PhD Student talks about the PhD Day (video)

> Tomàs López Jiménez, IDIAPJGol PhD Student talks about the PhD Day (video)

> Lucía Carrasco, IDIAPJGol PhD Student talks about the PhD Day (video)