New Lundbeck Foundation fellow to map the consequences of mental disorders

Senior researcher Oleguer Plana-Ripoll from the Department of Economics and Business Economics at Aarhus BSS has received a Lundbeck Foundation fellowship of DKK 10 million to establish his own research team within register-based research on mental health. His team will provide a comprehensive overview of the causes and consequences of mental disorders.

Oleguer Plana-Ripoll
Senior research Oleguer Plana-Ripoll Photo: Aarhus BSS Communication and External Relations

Over the next five years, senior researcher Oleguer Plana-Ripoll at the National Centre for Register-based Research at the Department of Economics and Business Economics and newly appointed fellow at the Lundbeck Foundation plans to extend the ‘toolkit’ of health metrics by finding new ways of measuring mental health.

In broad terms, the aim of his project, InfoMetrics, is to understand the causes and consequences of mental disorders. He seeks greater insight into how mental disorders impact education, employment, general health and premature mortality. The result of his project will be a precise and comprehensive map of mental health impact in Denmark, among other things identifying links between mental disorders and premature mortality.

“It is a very interesting project. Basically, it’s a continuation of the work we’ve been doing in the past years. Working with unique anonymous data from the Danish health and population registers allows us to gather large amounts of data and provide precise answers to questions about people with mental disorders. My research aims to generate new ways to interpret all this data. For example, we have previously observed that those suffering from severe mental disorders experience premature mortality. Now, we are going a step beyond to look more at the reasons why this is happening and provide a comprehensive general overview,” explains Oleguer Plana-Ripoll.

The Lundbeck Foundation fellowship of DKK 10 million enables young researchers such as Oleguer Plana-Ripoll to start a new research agenda and establish their own research team. 

“From a personal perspective, this is extremely important to me. It is a unique opportunity to do the research that I am interested in for the next years and establish my own research team at the National Centre for Register-based Research, one of the leading institutions in psychiatric epidemiology,“ he says about being appointed a Lundbeck Foundation fellow.

Per Baltzer Overgaard, vice-dean for research and talent at Aarhus BSS, applauds the young researcher:  

”First of all and on behalf of the deanship, I would like to congratulate Oleguer on winning this prestigious fellowship. Secondly and in particular, I expect many interesting research results on the broader social impact of mental disorders from the research group headed by Oleguer.”

Societal benefits of the research

Mental disorders have a huge impact on society as they account for 6.7% of the total burden worldwide according to the Global Burden of Diseases (GBD). Ultimately, Oleguer Plana-Ripoll hopes his research will have far-reaching impact on society as a whole, seeing as it is going to benefit those with mental disorders and their families as well as healthcare planners and politicians.

 “First of all, clinicians can have a better idea of the average characteristics of their patients. If we are able to provide a description of people with depression or people with schizophrenia, then the clinicians will know more about these groups of patients,” says Oleguer Plana-Ripoll.

In addition, the politicians and the health planners will benefit from this as the researchers will give them a picture of what a more accurate healthcare system could look like, a system where people with mental disorders can receive better treatment. 

“Our research can help design a better healthcare system. For example, in mental health, we find that different disorders sometimes appear together, that is: People experience more than one disorder simultaneously. Providing details about these processes can also give politicians and health planners an idea as to how the healthcare system should be. Ultimately, this will benefit those suffering from mental disorders and more generally speaking our entire society,” says Oleguer Plana-Ripoll.

  • Oleguer Plana-Ripoll is originally from Barcelona, Spain. He started his PhD in Denmark nine years ago and has stayed at Aarhus BSS since he graduated in 2016. He now works as a senior researcher at the National Centre for Register-based Research at the Department of Economics and Business Economics at Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University.
  • Read more about Oleguer Plana-Ripoll and his research on his PURE profile.