23 October 2023
Dr Eric Rojas, the current head of the Sleep Unit at Josep Trueta University Hospital in Girona and Santa Caterina de Salt Hospital, has undertaken the leadership of the INNOBICS-SAHS project, after taking the baton from Dr Anton Obrador.
In this interview, Dr Rojas tells us how he started his career and is tackling the new challenge of leading this project to improve the diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea in primary care.
How did you start your career in the field of pneumology?
In 2012 I started training as a pneumology resident at Trueta Hospital where I met Dr Obrador, who was then Head of the Sleep Unit of the Pneumology Service at Trueta Hospital and Santa Caterina Hospital. He passed on his passion for sleep pathology on to me. After completing this training, in 2016, I was fortunate enough to be able to work side-by-side with him and take part in various projects such as the CODI-OSA multicentre study of our area, Girona and Salt, with the participation of primary care; and INNOBICS-SAHS, an international project. These projects have also been presented at various national and international congresses. All this was possible thanks to Dr Obrador, the great dedication and participation of the doctors and nurses directly involved in the projects, and also Dr Orriols, Head of Pneumology Service at Trueta Hospital and Santa Caterina Hospital. Their experience, interest and trust were key to making this possible.
How do you feel about this new responsibility of leading the INNOBICS-SAHS project?
I feel privileged to be able to lead this project. I consider it a great responsibility but I am really motivated. I want to keep learning, keep growing professionally and be able to give the best version of myself so this project continues to be as successful as it currently is. I think it is a very ambitious project that is sure to bring about a great change in the management of obstructive sleep apnea and that it is very necessary in the current public health context of this disease.
Can you detail what your involvement with the project has been so far?
When the project was created, Dr Orriols suggested getting involved. With Dr Obrador’s enthusiasm, and the support of both of them, we have overcome the various phases of the project. I am very grateful that they counted on me to carry it out from the start. This enabled me, on the one hand, to see it created and follow its entire progress, so I experienced all of the project’s difficulties and successes first hand. And, on the other hand, I was able to continue to learn from Dr Obrador’s knowledge and experience.
Hundreds of patients have already benefited from the new care circuit. What would you highlight as the most important milestones achieved so far?
This project allows patients with suspected obstructive sleep apnea to receive, in primary care, a specialisation of a highly complex sleep unit with the support of a sleep nurse and a virtual sleep unit. This provides greater accessibility and equity throughout the Girona and Salt area. I would also like to stress the speed with which patients are treated. By providing early treatment, we promote much-needed preventive medicine.
And what are the main challenges to be tackled until the end of the project in March 2025?
It is a very ambitious project aimed at assessing 3,000 people with suspected obstructive sleep apnea in coordination with primary care. So I will provide the necessary support as the new project leader. In view of the excellent work, effort and dedication of everyone involved in the project today, both in primary care and in the Virtual Sleep Unit, we are sure we will successfully overcome this challenge.Read More Read Less