Jesper ’10 and Petter ’13 Aasa, graduates of the Boys Hockey and Boys Soccer Centers of Excellence respectively, recently made strides in their quest to start a global movement towards healthy lifestyles and proper healthcare.
The two brothers are co-founders of the digital health startup company, Vitala, which works to help people suffering from chronic disease due to inactivity and decreased wellbeing. The startup hopes to help individuals take a bigger role in their own treatment and rehabilitation with the right tools and information.
Petter, who is in his last semester at the Stockholm School of Economics, was recently invited to give a talk about the Vitala philosophy of healthcare during a TEDx program put on by the school, a philosophy which relies on prevention and medical exercise. TEDx events are put on independently from the TED conference, in order to help local communities around the world get exposed to “ideas worth spreading,” in the spirit of the TED mission.
In his talk, Petter likened the prevention of chronic illness to a fire department’s strategy of installing smoke detectors and informing community members of safe practices, rather than having to respond to increased fires caused by silly mistakes. “Imagine if doctors and nurses spent the majority of their time, energy, and efforts in the preventing of patients from becoming sick,” he said. “A shift from treatment, treatment, treatment, to prevention, prevention, prevention.”
One of the best forms of prevention when it comes to chronic illness in Petter and Jesper’s view is medical exercise, or, “physical activity that is planned, structured, and continuous, for the purpose of conditioning the body, lowering the risk of becoming chronically ill, enhancing both physical and mental wellbeing, ultimately increasing the quality of life.”
This rethinking of the healthcare system as we know it is Vitala’s ultimate goal. As he concluded his talk, Petter asked his audience, “Why isn’t the word ‘healthcare’ associated with something enthusiastic, motivating, and positive? Why can’t healthcare be associated with taking care of one’s health, being the best version of oneself, preventing the onset of a chronic condition while staying happy, healthy, harmonious?”
Petter’s talk is available on YouTube, beginning at 1:26:04, an excellent example of an SSM student-athlete alum succeeding in a non-athletic industry. Additionally, learn more about Jonah Kagen ’18, a soccer player in the music industry, or Grace Paulsen ’09, a figure skater in the renewable energy industry, student-athletes who took advantage of their educational opportunities at SSM to excel in the world beyond.