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The Edgar Stene Prize Jury 2015 – meet the judges
Each year, a panel of people with experience or knowledge of rheumatic and
musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) has the honour of judging the annual Edgar Stene Prize
competition. This year we welcome our judges who represent the three pillars of EULAR,
and who come from a number of different countries across Europe.
They are joined by the Chair of the EULAR Standing Committee of People with
Arthritis/Rheumatism in Europe (PARE) and the EULAR Vice President, representing
PARE who oversee the judging and offer guidance to the overall process.
Nele Caeyers, PARE Board member from Belgium and
CEO of ReumaNet, is Leader of the 2015 Edgar Stene
Prize Jury
“Reading and writing are two things that have been extremely
important in my life ever since I was a child. Good stories and
books offer me an unlimited way into imaginary worlds. Writing
gives me the opportunity to clear my head and help others by
sharing my experiences. Writing offers you a way to get a grip on
things that can be very complicated and demanding. This is why
I fully support the Stene Prize competition and I am honoured to
be part of the jury.
This year’s theme brings back a lot of memories of the time I got
my diagnoses of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Unaware
of what was happening to me, I put my faith in the hands of a
strong team. But soon, I was part of that team. We made
decisions together and had lively discussions about treatment
options. When I got pregnant, the whole group was equally
excited! The role of health professionals can be so much more
than only the medical part!
I am looking forward to reading inspiring stories from all over
Dr Caroline Ospelt from Switzerland, Liaison
officer EMEUNET, representing the network of
young rheumatologists
“Serving as a member of the Edgar Stene Prize jury is
a unique opportunity for me to get a more personal
insight into patient’s sorrow and hopes. Even though
being a trained medical doctor, I have worked in basic
research for more than 10 years already. Work in the
lab can sometimes be frustrating and tedious, in
particular when you forget about the actual purpose of
this work – namely to create knowledge that brings
forward new therapies and a better life for patients.
Reading the contributions of last year’s winners
reminded me why the long working hours and the
endless attempts before an experiments works are
worthwhile. I’m really looking forward to reading this
year’s essays and to learning about the patient’s views
on one of the most central topics in living with RMDs –
taking control and working together with health
Kjerstin Fjeldstad, Norway, Board member of
the Norwegian League Against Rheumatism
“It is an honour to be a member of the jury for the
Stene Prize. I am looking forward to being inspired by
the vision applicants have for the future. This year’s
theme “Taking control of my life: working together with
health professionals to achieve my personal goals”
gives the authors an opportunity to look at their lives
and how they have reached their personal goals and I
look forward to reading essays.
I am 61 years old and spondyloarthritis (SpA) has been
my friend the last 30 years. I still work, and I do
voluntary work as well. I become involved in the
Norwegian League Against Rheumatism 30 years ago. I
have been a board member and leader in a different
part of the organisation.
I work at the Norwegian Labour and Welfare
Administration. I work full time, but have one day off
every week for rehabilitation.”
Aïda Verstraeten, Belgium, 2014 essayist and
representative of young people with RMDs
“I am 19 years old and from Flanders, the Dutch speaking
part of Belgium. I am a language student, studying the
Dutch and English language. I have a rare form of juvenile
arthritis and I have been living with two prosthetic implants
(hip joints) for more than three years. Last year I was a
participant of this competition and this year I will be part of
the jury. Besides all of the sad and serious stuff: I don't let
my arthritis take over my life, even though it's always
I am ambitious; I have dreams of my own, too. So this
year, I want to know all about the personal goals of the
contestants. I want to know where their passion comes
from, what keeps them going and how health professionals
can help with that. Putting this into words for the Stene
Prize might be a huge step towards achieving whatever it
is you want.
Just remember… Arthritis might be what you have, but it
can never be what you are.”
Costas Ioulianos, Cyprus, President of
cosmosrheuma+, representing the EULAR Health
Professionals in Rheumatology
“Firstly, I would like to say how proud I feel to be a
member of the, Stene Prize jury panel. As a clinical
physiotherapist – and due to my frequent involvement
with people living with RMDs – I have come to the
conclusion that there is an imperative need to involve the
patient in all decisions concerning them and their life.
Since we talk about multidisciplinary and patient-centered
treatment, we should support this – and with our actions.
The patient should be the group leader and must be
actively involved in order to solve and manage their
problems. We have an obligation to feel/understand
everything concerning the patient.
The problem is not only the disease, but all the other
related problems that follow which have to do with the
patient, their family, their occupation and, generally, their
position in the broad community.
By taking part in the judging panel I am sure that I will
gain a lot from the patients themselves – a fact which is
the most important element towards the success of our
Marios Kouloumas, Vice President, EULAR,
representing PARE
"It is always a pleasure to once more be involved in
this fantastic competition which has become very
popular among the people with RMDs across
Europe. At the same time, it is a very important tool
for people with RMDs to share their thoughts,
concerns and hopes for a better future, and a life
with improved quality and dignity.
This year’s topic for the Annual Edgar Stene Prize is
“Taking control of my life: working together with
health professionals to achieve my personal goals”.
It is very important especially for people living with a
chronic disease, because a successful life is one
where the person can be actively engaged with their
treatment and the management of their disease – as
well as having the support of the health
I am looking forward to reading this year’s essays for
successful stories but at the same time to see how
things can be improved – and how the people with
RMDs are making their own decisions and choices
for their lives and health in a partnership with the
treating health professionals."
Diana Skingle, Chair, EULAR Standing
Committee of PARE
“I look forward to the Edgar Stene Prize Competition
every year. I am honoured to have been invited to be
an ex-officio member of the 2015 jury. The essays
submitted by people with RMDs are always
insightful, inspirational and enlightening. This year
will be no exception.
The theme gives people living with RMDs the
opportunity to tell us their experiences of overcoming
some of the limitations of living with these diseases
and of achieving things that they had thought
impossible. Everyone has hopes and dreams. Living
with an RMD often presents challenges to those
However, by sharing personal aspirations with
healthcare teams, and working together with them
through shared decision-making, people with RMDs
can set and achieve realistic milestones in order to
reach particular goals. Whether those goals are to
walk a longer distance each day, to be able to play
with their children, or to return to work, they illustrate
that people with RMDs can take control of their lives
in meaningful ways that are important to each