Meet Per Kallestrup, research director

Per Kallestrup, MD, holds a PhD degree from the University of Copenhagen. He is a professor of global health and family medicine at the Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, general practitioner and research director of the Research Unit for General Practice in Aarhus.

What are your most importants tasks as research director?

First of all, I must provide the framework for a dynamic environment. We must continue the many good projects that are already running, but I should also inspire new ones. I need to ensure that the potential of each employee is realised, and that we recruit and retain good employees and collaborative partners. I must help develop medical research in Danish general practice and create results that can be transferred into clinical routines.

What role does general practice play in healthcare?

General practice has a key role in the healthcare system. The general practitioners are positioned right in the middle of the lived life. And it is important that we do not close in on ourselves. I would like to renew and intensify the cooperation with the local community, and obvious collaborative partners are hospitals, the municipal home care services and voluntary associations.

Which areas are most important to you?

We must engage in topics that are important, relevant and valuable. It is crucial for me that all our activities emphasise the benefits for the patient in the immediate community and for the health professionals delivering  the care. It takes courage to develop initiatives that cut across the traditional sectors… courage to venture out of one's comfort zone and entering into new collaborations. A coherent healthcare system, user involvement, focus on inequality and global initiatives are some of the themes that I would like to pursue in our activities.

Which values ​​are most important to you?

Commitment and integrity. I insist on that. You have to make an effort. And you must contribute to the community. Things have more value to me when you do them together. And the 'so what' test is absolutely central to me: What does it mean that we do this? Who will benefit from it? We must document that new ways of doing things in primary care actually work. And where we end up - that must be a better place than our starting point.

Short bio

Per Kallestrup is an MD and holds a PhD degree from the University of Copenhagen. He is research director at the Research Unit for General Practice in Aarhus, and he works as a general practitioner (partner) in Skødstrup Lægehus near Aarhus. He is also a professor at the Department of Public Health at Aarhus University. His work focuses on global health and the role of primary care. His research interests include global health, family medicine, public health and infectious diseases. Prior to joining the Researh Unit for General Practice, he worked at several hospital departments and served as a medical consultant to organisations such as the Red Cross and Euro-Center USA. He has had several stays abroad, including Spain, USA, Zimbambwe, Rwanda and Nepal. His native language is Danish, and he is fluent in English and Spanish. He is married to Lisbeth, with whom he has three children.