This year, as part of the ESO monthly newsletter, we are featuring individuals who have demonstrated enthusiasm and motivation to take on tasks, join a committee and make a mark on the organisation all while growing their careers.

Dr. Nicolas Martinez-Majander is our May 2021 interview candidate. Nicolas is has been a member of ESO since his neurology residency and has never missed an ESOC.  He is an active member of the YSPR and regular contributing author to the ESO blog. He has also successfully presented several posters at the annual ESOC. We chat with Nicolas about his current work and the benefits of ESO membership for early career physicians and researchers.

When did you first join ESO? Was there a person or event that encouraged you to become a member?

I joined ESO during the first European Stroke Organisation Conference (ESOC) in 2015, Glasgow. I had actually just started neurology residency in the Helsinki University Hospital in 2014 and this was the first stroke conference for me ever, with a first abstract presentation as well. So obviously everything about it was quite unique and I’ve been attending ESOC every year since then. Coming together from all around the world to disseminate research findings and to interact with collaborators is highly important – hopefully we will be able to meet in person again soon.

What are you currently working on that you would like to share?

My research currently focuses on risk factors and triggers in early-onset cryptogenic stroke as a part of the SECRETO Study (Searching for Explanations for Cryptogenic Stroke in the Young: Revealing the Etiology, Triggers, and Outcome, NCT01934725), Associate Professor Jukka Putaala as its principle investigator. SECRETO is an international multicenter study aiming to evaluate accurately risk factors, mechanisms, and prognosis of cryptogenic ischemic stroke in young adults aged under 50 years. The study is currently recruiting participants in several European countries aiming to complete the recruitment by the end of 2021 with 600 case-control pairs.

How do you balance ESO with your work and personal obligations?

I believe being active in ESO as such is a great change to my clinical work and other obligations. I’ve met amazing young colleagues in e.g. Young Stroke Physicians and Researchers (YSPR) Committee and it has been enriching both in clinical knowledge and personal experience. ESO is definitely the main reference for all stroke physicians and promotes and supports also interactions for the purpose of research collaboration.

Do you have any advice for young researchers and physicians?

With all said above, I strongly recommend getting involved in Stroke Organizations in addition to clinical work and research. I believe these domains complete each other and such organizations can act as platforms for networking, influence, exchange in experience, and career promotion. I encourage you to read this article, published a few years ago by my colleagues in the ESO YSPR Committee for more details on the benefits of joining a stroke organisation and taking an active role.

Schmidt A, Katan M, Sandset EC. Why Is It Worthwhile to Get Involved in Stroke Organizations? Stroke. 2017 Oct;48(10):e277-e279.