Director Mikko Pietilä Is University’s Alum of the Year 2023


The Alum of the Year recognition was awarded to Director Mikko Pietilä at the Anniversary Celebration of the University of Turku on 28 February 2023.

The University’s Alum of the Year is Mikko Pietilä, the director of the hospital services at the Wellbeing Services County of Southwest Finland (Varha). Pietilä graduated from the University's Faculty of Medicine as a licentiate in medicine in 1993, specialised in internal medicine in 1999, in cardiology in 2003, and completed his doctorate in 2002. Since 2015, he has held the title of docent in cardiology at the University of Turku. Pietilä has completed all of his degrees at the University of Turku.

“Mikko Pietilä has been a nationally prominent and positively visible figure in the fight against the coronavirus. With his attitude, Pietilä has enabled the continuation of clinical teaching in medicine throughout the pandemic,” says Rector Jukka Kola of the University of Turku.

Alum of the Year Mikko Pietilä says that contact teaching in medicine was organised so that is was as safe as possible for the students and, above all, for the patients whose resistance to the serious disease was weak.

“Medical training requires different kind of learning and arrangements than university studies in general. People treat people – you cannot become a doctor without seeing and examining patients. I feel that it was extremely important to secure a straightforward clinical training also during the pandemic. If we hadn't done so and the students’ studies had prolonged, we would have made the shortage of doctors even worse,” Pietilä sums up.

Connection to Universities a Critical Success Factor in Health Care System Reformation

It is stated in the selection criteria that Pietilä has consistently highlighted the importance of science and education, and promoted them also in the planning of the Wellbeing Services County Varha.

“Universities’ significance for health care is enormous. Academic connections characterises all the best hospitals in the world – this is evident in international rankings where the Turku University Hospital has been successful. A university hospital is a teaching hospital as well as an active research centre. Universities are one of the critical success factors in the radical reformation of the health care system. We must ensure that this critical factor is not underestimated and that it has enough resources,” says Pietilä and continues:

“It is great that the Alum of the Year recognition was directed at medicine this year. I feel that it honours the work that we have done at the University Hospital throughout the coronavirus pandemic.”

Pietilä has worked at the Hospital District of Southwest Finland since 1994. In 2013, he became the head of the coronary care unit of the centre for cardiovascular diseases at the Turku University Hospital. In 2018, he was appointed as the Medical Director of the Hospital District of Southwest Finland. Mikko Pietilä has been the director of the Varha hospital services since the beginning of 2023. 

The Alum of the Year recognition is awarded annually to a former student of the University of Turku who has promoted the success of the University of Turku and Finnish society with their activities- Previously, the Alum of the Year recognition has been awarded to Mayor Minna Arve (2022), Medical Counsellor Sakari Alhopuro (2021), and President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö (2020).

Phoenix Universitatis Turkuensis Medal to Mari Pantsar

The University of Turku and Turku Finnish University Society have awarded the Phoenix Universitatis Turkuensis Medal to Mari Pantsar. Pantsar has been an active and long-standing advocate of sustainable development. In her work and positions of trust, Pantsar has made an impact on the Finnish climate policy and has highlighted the significance of mitigating the biodiversity crisis and solving challenges in ecological sustainability with practical measures. She has been the Chair of the University's Advisory Board since 2022 and has advanced the strategically significant sustainable development measures at the University of Turku.

Rector of the University of Turku Jukka Kola gave a speech at the Anniversary Celebration, read the speech in the University’s blog.  

Created 28.02.2023 | Updated 28.02.2023