Acceptance speech for the World Sustainability Award 2020
By Dr. Antonella Santuccione Chadha, Co-founder and CEO of the Women’s Brain Project
As a co-awardee of the World Sustainability Award 2020, Dr. Antonella Santuccione Chadha delivered an acceptance speech on September 15. The notes the speech was based on are shared below. For the related press release, click here.
“When I was a young girl, I used to tell myself that life is like a canvas: We can choose our own colours to make a wonderful painting out of life, it or rather the opposite. This might have been also the result of the way my father brought me up. He was a man of few words who rarely interfered in my choices and my problems, but he always told me “Choose rather than let yourself be chosen”.
Today, being 46 years old, a scientist, a medical doctor, a manager in the corporate world, the mother of two children, a wife, and the CEO and co-founder of the Women’s Brain Project, I can say that I really choose wonderful colours to paint that life canvas.
The colours consisted of the people I decided to interact with. They have been my example and my inspiration – or sometimes providing the clear picture of the person I did not want to be like.
Importantly, they were also the persons who brought me here today.
I am sharing this prize with overwhelming pride with the scientists, the doctors, the communicators, the patients, the artists and advocates, and the journalists which are the essence of the Women’s Brain Project.
Today, receiving this distinguished recognition which we are sharing with Prof. Michael Mann and previous awardees like Sonia and Jeffrey Sachs and Mathis Wanckernagel to mention just a few, we feel privileged and honoured. At the same time, we feel the enormous responsibility of this recognition which inspires us and motivates us to continue our outstanding work aimed to understand how sex and gender differences impact health and diseases. We believe that this is the gateway to achieve precision medicine.
This is extremely important, because precision medicine is key to transform health care system towards sustainability. To develop therapeutic solutions which are effective and safe in the desired and well characterized population will allow to have better adherence to the treatment, reduced side effects, avoid drugs being withdrawn from the market, save on assets and resources, and make drugs sustainable for the health care system.
Even science and medicine are a matter of choices. We choose the way we plan our experiments; we choose how to use our knowledge at best to treat our patients. It is time to choose, for science and medicine, an approach where the word “differences” will be replaced by the word “characteristics” to guarantee better and more precise care and treatments tailored for the person in front of us and not the non-existent average persona. We can do this by making the best possible use of the big data that we have collected, and interpret it in an unbiased way thanks to the use of novel technologies and artificial intelligence. Today, this is possible because our knowledge advanced to a point where we can start to make sense of how sex and gender biases are heavily impacting medical outcomes; this could be seen also during the COVID-19 pandemic which acted as an eye-opener to the world, showing how men where more affected than women by the virus.
We express our profound acknowledgement to the juries of this prize who choose us, the Women’s Brain Project, to arrive here.
Thanks to this outstanding recognition, we will thrive toward our vision to transform health care, drug development, and novel technology design into sustainable health based on characteristics rather than differences.”