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Kaija Puura receives prestigious René Spitz Award

Published on 14.8.2023
Tampere University
Kaija Puura. Photo: Mirjami Mäntymaa.
Puura is the first Finnish researcher of infant mental health to be awarded the prize.

Tampere University’s professor of infant mental health Kaija Puura has been granted the prestigious René Spitz Award. The prize was awarded in the world congress of the World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) in Dublin in June 2023.

Puura is the first Finn to receive the award which is granted for significant lifetime contributions to clinical or experimental research on topics that are related to infant mental health.

At Tampere University, Puura is leading the research team on infant mental health. She is also working as Chief Paediatrician at Tampere University Hospital. In her research, Puura has concentrated on diagnosing distress in infants and investigated shared joy in the interaction of a parent and a child and its role as a factor that enhances the child’s mental health. In her recent research and development projects, Puura has also developed digital services and treatment options for infants and their parents.

“It is a great honour to receive this specific prize from WAIMH. I feel that this recognition is not just for me, but for the long-term high-quality infant psychiatric research conducted in Tampere. In today’s society, promoting the mental health of young children is particularly important in order to find ways to prevent at least some of the need for psychiatric care that arises in childhood and adolescence,” Puura says.

The previous recipients of the René Spitz Award include Antoine Guedeney (2018) Alicia Lieberman (2016), Colwyn Trevarthen (2014), Peter Fonagy (2012), Mechtild Papousek (2010), Takeo Doi (2008), Robert Emde (2006) andT. Berry Brazelton (2002).