The EpiDoC Unit is a top research unit that combines epidemiology, clinical research and behavior science to reduce the burden of rheumatic diseases and promote healthy, active aging. It is located at NOVA Medical School and coordinated by Ana Rodrigues.

The EpiDoC Unit is presently composed of four research groups:

  • Health innovation – Headed by Helena Canhão
  • Epidemiology of chronic non-communicable diseases and aging – Headed by Ana Rodrigues
  • Epidemiology of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases – Headed by Jaime Branco
  • Behavior science – Headed by Marta Marques

This unit has been involved in several national and international projects. Helena Canhão is also the present coordinator of the Comprehensive Health Research Center (CHRC), a FCT funded R&D Unit rated as Excellent. EpiDoC’s members are also part of the European Reference Site for active and healthy aging - Lisbon AHA.

Activity Reports

Graphical Abstract
  • Effectiveness and implementation of a self-management programme to prevent recurrences and long-term disability and promote musculoskeletal health in Low Back Pain patients - “My Back”. Funded by FCT (PTDC/SAU-SER/7406/2020 in 249 689,80 euros).
  • COTIDIANA - Mobile Patient-centered System to Improve Drug Trials and Care of Older-adults with Rheumatic Diseases. Funded by AAL.
  • Personalized therapy for RhEumatic DIseases via machine learning (PREDICT). Coordinated by Instituto Superior Técnico and funded by FCT (PTDC/CCI-CIF/29877/2017) in 240 000 euros. Helena Canhão is the principal investigator at NOVA Medical School.
  • Optimizing the mental health and resilience of older adults that have lost their spouse via blended, online therapy (LEAVES). This project is coordinated by Roessingh Research and Development, NL and is funded by Active Assisted Living (AAL) European Funding Programme 2019 (1 490 000 euros). Helena Canhão is the principal investigator at NOVA Medical School and the pilot design study leader.
  • Prevention of occupational disorders in public administration based on artificial intelligence (PrevOcupAI). This project is coordinated by NOVA FCT and is funded by FCT DSAIPA/AI/0105/2019 (239 000 euros). Helena Canhão is the principal investigator at NOVA Medical School and will lead the medical tasks of the project.
  • Improving Osteoporosis Treatment Adherence using ICTs: The Healthy Bone Program. Funded by Amgen USA (150 000 USD). This project is also co-funded by a Research grant from Portuguese Society of Rheumatology (SPR) / Pfizer (10.000 euros) and another one from CHRC (40 000 euros).
  • Intelligent frailty pathways for the Portuguese elderly population and impact analysis of the telecare service SNS24 Proximidade Sénior (FrailCare.AI). Funded by FCT DSAIPA/DS/0106/2019 (237 000 euros).
  • Revolutionizing Healthcare: Empowering patients by valuing innovation and promoting entrepreneurship: Patient2Entrepreneurship (P2E). Funded by FCT (231 100 euros).
  • Fast Track COVID - investigação de uma estratégia nacional de rastreio da exposição ao SARS-CoV-2. Funded by P2020 (319 712 euros).
  • Prevalence of Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) and performance evaluation of a PsA screening Questionnaire in the population of Portuguese patients with Psoriasis followed in a Dermatology setting (CheckAP). Funded by Novartis (83 258 euros).
  • Impact of Dietary Protein on Disability in ageing Europeans (InDEPENDEnt). Funded by Marie Curie Sklodowska Action H2020 MGA MSCA-IF GA (up to Jul 2021) in 147 815,00 euros. It is being developed by Nuno Mendonça (MSc, PhD), at NOVA Medical School, under the supervision of Helena Canhão.
  • No + Fracture Portugal Fracture Clinics Network Implementation. Funded by Grand Prize SPR 2018 (50 000 euros).
  • DigiAdherence – supporting senior people at home. Funded by Directorate-General of Health (15 000 euros).
  • The burden and costs of refractory depression. Funded by Janssen (42 500 euros).
  • PIC 4 COVID-19, Plano Individual de Cuidados. A project led by Universidade de Évora and funded by FCT's Research 4 COVID Initiative in 30.000€. NOVA Medical School is a participating member and represented by Ana Rodrigues, Maria João Gregório, Nuno Mendonça and Rute Dinis de Sousa.


  • Mendonça N, Hengeveld LM, Presse N, Canhão H, Simonsick EM, Kritchevsky SB, Farsijani S, Gaudreau P, Jagger C, Visser M. Protein intake, physical activity and grip strength in European and North American community-dwelling older adults: a pooled analysis of individual participant data from four longitudinal ageing cohorts. Br J Nutr. 2022 Jul 6;:1-26. doi: 10.1017/S0007114522002033. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 35791789.
  • Izadi Z, Gianfrancesco MA, Aguirre A, Strangfeld A, Mateus EF, Hyrich KL, Gossec L, Carmona L, Lawson-Tovey S, Kearsley-Fleet L, Schaefer M, Seet AM, Schmajuk G, Jacobsohn L, Katz P, Rush S, Al-Emadi S, Sparks JA, Hsu TY, Patel NJ, Wise L, Gilbert E, Duarte-García A, Valenzuela-Almada MO, Ugarte-Gil MF, Ribeiro SLE, de Oliveira Marinho A, de Azevedo Valadares LD, Giuseppe DD, Hasseli R, Richter JG, Pfeil A, Schmeiser T, Isnardi CA, Reyes Torres AA, Alle G, Saurit V, Zanetti A, Carrara G, Labreuche J, Barnetche T, Herasse M, Plassart S, Santos MJ, Rodrigues AM, Robinson PC, Machado PM, Sirotich E, Liew JW, Hausmann JS, Sufka P, Grainger R, Bhana S, Costello W, Wallace ZS, Yazdany J; Global Rheumatology Alliance Registry. Development of a Prediction Model for COVID-19 Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Patients With Rheumatic Diseases: Results From the Global Rheumatology Alliance Registry. ACR Open Rheumatol. 2022 Jul 22. doi: 10.1002/acr2.11481. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35869686.
  • Bastos P, Meira B, Mendonça M, Barbosa R. Distinct gait dimensions are modulated by physical activity in Parkinson's disease patients.J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2022 Jul;129(7):879-887. doi: 10.1007/s00702-022-02501- 9.Epub 2022 Apr 15.PubMed PMID: 35426538; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC9011371.
  • Destri, K., Alves, J., Gregório, M.J., Dias, S.S., Henriques, A.R., Mendonça, N., Canhão, H. and Rodrigues, A.M. (2022) 'Obesity- attributable costs of absenteeism among working adults in Portugal', BMC Public Health, 22(1). Doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-13337-z.
  • Mendonça, N., Gregório, M.J., Salvador, C., Henriques, A.R., Canhão, H., Rodrigues, A.M. ´Low Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet Is Associated with Poor Socioeconomic Status and Younger Age: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the EpiDoC Cohort´. Nutrients; 14(6):1239. doi: 10.3390/nu14061239.
  • de Carvalho, A., Virgolino, A., Queirós, P., Henriques, AR., Canhão, H., Rodriques, AM., Barbosa,V., Rodrigues, J., de Sousa, Germano., Guimarães,M. “SARS_CoV-2 Antibody Prevalence in the Portuguese Municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia after the First Wave of the Pandemic”. Acta Média Portuguesa. (2022). doi: https://doi.org/10.20344/amp.17676
  • Salvador, C., Rodrigues, A.M., Henriques, A.R., Lopes, D.G., Gregório, M.J., Nunes da Silva, C., Dinis de Sousa, R., Canhão, H., Mendonça, N. (2022) "Animal foods and mobility limitations in community-dwelling young-old adults: longitudinal analysis of the EpiDoC cohort" (in press BMC Geriatrics)
  • Abdulghani S, Afonso Â, Castillo M, Martín-Fernández J, Franco I, Parreira B, Couto A, Bruges-Armas J, Rodrigues AM, Gonçalves A, Dias A, Toader I, Lopes A, Faria C, Marques F, Sousa JC, Silvestre R, Pereira P, Correia M, Maia L, Canhão H, Dias S. “The Role of Biobanks in the Fight against COVID-19 Pandemic: The Portuguese Response”. Acta Médica Portuguesa. (2022). doi: 10.20344/amp.17856. PubMed PMID: 35522822.
  • Jacinto, M.J., Oliveira, P., Rodrigues, A.M. and Canhão, H. (2022) “Editorial: Innovation in Rheumatic Diseases” Frontiers in Medicine, volume 8. Doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.801515
  • De Thurah, A., Bosch, P., Marques, A., Meissner, Y., Mukhtyar, C.B., Knitza, J., Najm, A., Østerås, N., Pelle, T., Knudsen, L.R., Šmucrová, H., Berenbaum, F., Jani, M., Geenen, R., Krusche, M., Pchelnikova, P., De Souza, S., Badreh, S., Wiek, D., Piantoni, S., Gwinnutt, J.M., Duftner, C., Canhão, H.M., Quartuccio, L., Stoilov, N., Prior, Y., Wj Bijlsma, J., Zabotti, A., Stamm, T.A. and Dejaco, C. (2022) 'EPIDEMIOLOGICAL SCIENCE 2022 EULAR points to consider for remote care in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases', Ann Rheum Dis, 0. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2022-222341
  • Visser M, Mendonça N, Avgerinou C, Cederholm T, Cruz-Jentoft AJ, Goisser S, Kiesswetter E, Siebentritt HM, Volkert D, Torbahn G. Towards developing a Core Outcome Set for malnutrition intervention studies in older adults: a scoping review to identify frequently used research outcomes. Eur Geriatr Med. 2022 Mar 12. doi: 10.1007/s41999-022-00617-5. PMID: 35278200.
  • Mendonça N, Gregório MJ, Salvador C, Henriques AR, Canhão H, Rodrigues AM. Low Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet Is Associated with Poor Socioeconomic Status and Younger Age: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the EpiDoC Cohort. Nutrients. 2022 Mar 15;14(6):1239. doi: 10.3390/nu14061239. PMID: 35334895; PMCID: PMC8954252.
  • Fernandes, C., Alves, J., Rodrigues, A. and Azevedo, J. (2022) 'Epidemiological impact of the human papillomavirus vaccination program on genital warts in Portugal: A retrospective, chart review study', Vaccine, 40(2), pp. 275-281. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2021.11.070.
  • Jacinto, M.J., Oliveira, P., Rodrigues, A.M. and Canhão, H. (2022) Editorial: Innovation in Rheumatic Diseases Frontiers Medicine , volume 8. Doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.801515
  • Lawson-Tovey, S., Hyrich, K., Gossec, L., Strangfeld, A., Carmona, L., Raffeiner, B., Yardımcı, G.K., Trefond, L., Roux, N., Rodrigues, A.M., Papagoras, C. and Mateus, E. (2022) 'SARS-CoV-2 infection after vaccination in patients with inflammatory rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases', 81(1), pp. 145-150.
  • Machado, P.M., Lawson-Tovey, S., Strangfeld, A., Mateus, E.F., Hyrich, K.L., Gossec, L., Carmona, L., Rodrigues, A., Raffeiner, B., Duarte, C., Hachulla, E., Veillard, E., Strakova, E., Burmester, G.R., Yardımcı, G.K., Gomez-Puerta, J.A., Zepa, J., Kearsley-Fleet, L., Trefond, L., Cunha, M., Mosca, M., Cornalba, M., Soubrier, M., Roux, N., Brocq, O., Durez, P., Conway, R., Goulenok, T., Bijlsma, J.W., Mcinnes, I.B. and Mariette, X. (2021) Safety of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases: results from the EULAR Coronavirus Vaccine (COVAX) physician-reported registry BMJ.
  • Fernandes, B.M., Guimarães, F., Almeida, D.E., Neto, A., Tavares-Costa, J., Ribeiro, A.R., Quintal, A., Pereira, J.P., Silva, L., Nóvoa, T.S., Faustino, A., Vaz, C., Khmelinskii, N., Samões, B., Dourado, E., Silva, J.L., Barcelos, A., Mariz, E., Guerra, M., Santos, M.J., Silvério-António, M., Teixeira, R.L., Romão, V.C., Santos, H., Santos-Faria, D., Azevedo, S., Rodrigues, A., Dias, J.M., Lopes, C., Pinto, P., Couto, M., Miranda, L.C., Bernardo, A., Cruz, M., Teixeira, F., Mourão, A.F., Neto, A., Teixeira, V., Cordeiro, A., Barreira, S., Inês, L.S., Capela, S., Sepriano, A., Canhão, H., Fonseca, J.E., Duarte, C. & Bernardes, M. 2022, "Portuguese recommendations for the use of biological and targeted synthetic diseasemodifying antirheumatic drugs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis – 2020 update", Acta Reumatologica Portuguesa, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 63-82.








  • 2018 - Prémio Santa Casa Challenge Concurso de Inovação Social Digital – Santa Casa Challenge 2017.
  • 2017 – JANSSEN IMMUNOLOGY REAL WORLD EVIDENCE AWARD 2017 - Trabalho: “Portuguese portrait of psoriatic arthritis”. Canhão H, Rodrigues AM, Branco JM, de Sousa RD.
  • 2016 – GRANDE PRÉMIO BIAL DE MEDICINA 2016 - Obra: “EpiReumaPt – the dream of a generation in a decade of work”. Branco JC, Rodrigues A, Gouveia N, Eusébio M, Ramiro S, Machado P, Laires P, Tavares V, Mourão AF, Silva I, Araújo F, Sepriano A, Sousa R, Sousa S, Coelho PS, Mendes JM, Canhão H.
  • 2015 - PRÉMIO GRUNENTHAL DOR 2015 - Trabalho: “The burden of chronic low back pain in adult Portuguses population – results from a population based study (EpiReumaPt)” Gouveia N, Rodrigues A, Canhão H, Branco JC, Eusébio M, Machado P, Ramiro S.
  • 2015 - PRIZE ASSUNÇÃO TEIXEIRA DA SOCIEDADE PORTUGUESA DE REUMATOLOGIA - Trabalho: “TRAF1/C5 but Not PTPRC Variants Are Potential Predictors of Rheumatoid Arthritis Response to Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Therapy”. Canhão H, Rodrigues AM, Santos MJ, Carmona-Fernandes D, Bettencourt BF, Cui J, Rocha FL, Canas Silva J, Polido-Pereira J, Pereira Silva JA, Costa JA, Araújo D, Silva C, Santos H, Duarte C, Cáliz R, Filipescu I, Pimentel-Santos F, Branco J, Sainz J, Plenge RM, Solomon DH, Bruges-Armas J, da Silva JAP, Fonseca JE, Karlson EW.
  • 2015 - PRÉMIO DE INVESTIGAÇÃO CLÍNICA DA FUNDAÇÃO GRUNENTHAL 2015 - Trabalho: “The burden of Chronic Low Back Pain in adult Portuguese Population – results from a population based study (EpiReumaPt)”. Gouveia N, Rodrigues AM, Canhão H, Branco JC, Eusébio M, Machado P, Ramiro S.
Formalizada a rede portuguesa para o envelhecimento ativo e saudável, incluindo o Lisbon AHA

“Temos que começar a preparar o país para os novos idosos, mas isso significa implementar estruturas que ainda não temos”.

Helena Canhão elected Dean of NOVA Medical School

Professor from NOVA Medical School and CHRC Researcher, was elected by the Faculty Council on December 14th and will be fulfill her mandate between 2022 e 2025.

CHRC study reveals that one-third of Portuguese adults do not follow the Mediterranean Diet

The article was published in the scientific journal Nutrients, by first author Nuno Mendonça, nutritional epidemiologist and researcher at the Comprehensive Health Research Centre and the EpiDoC Unit of NOVA Medical School.

NMS collaborates with NOVA SBE on new Open & User Innovation Knowledge Center

The Patient Innovation platform, and its Executive Director Maria João Jacinto of NOVA Medical School, will have their research activities concentrated in this Knowledge Center.


NMS Researcher participates in a Summit on Sustainability

Researcher Marta Moreira Marques from NOVA Medical School, was a speaker at the Plastic Summit Global Event, to discuss the sustainability of plastics in society.

  • EpiDoC Partners
    Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública (ENSP)
    Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica (ITQB)
  • Statistics and Economics Analysis
    NOVA IMS Information Management School: Pedro Simões Coelho; Jorge Mendes
  • Epidemiology
    Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto (ISPUP): Henrique de Barros; Raquel Lucas; Ana Cristina Santos
    Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU): Geir Espnes; Beate Andre; Kjersti Gronnning
  • Innovation & Health Economics
    Catolica Lisbon School of Business and Economics (CLSBE): Pedro Oliveira; Leid Zejnilovic
  • Health Economics & Quality of Life Assessment
    Faculdade de Economia da Universidade de Coimbra (FEUC) – Pedro Lopes Ferreira
    NOVA School of Business and Economics (SBE) – Pedro Pitta Barros
    Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública (ENSP) – Céu Mateus; Ana Moura; Julian Perelman; Rui Santana; Patricia Marques
  • Social & Human Sciences
    Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas (FCSH UNL) – Paulo Machado
  • Medical Expertise
    Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Coimbra (FMUC): José António Pereira da Silva
    Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa (FMUL)
    Sociedade Portuguesa de Reumatologia (SPR)
    Direção Geral da Saúde (DGS)

Principal Investigator

Ana Rodrigues
EpiDoc Coordinator, MD, PhD


Helena Canhão
Jaime da Cunha Branco
Marta Moreira Marques
Co-PI EpiDoc, PhD
Rute Dinis de Sousa
Head of Strategy & Funding
Mª João Gregório
Post Doc Researcher, PhD
Mª João Jacinto
Post-Doc Researcher, PhD
Nuno Mendonça
Post-Doc Researcher, PhD
Veneranda Barbosa
Project Manager, BSc
Ana Rita Henriques
Research Fellow MSc
David Lopes
Research Fellow, MSc
Anabela Barcelos
PhD Student, MD
Helena Carneiro
PhD Student, MD
João Dias
PhD Student, MD
Kelli Destri
PhD Student, MSc
Luís Gomes
PhD Student, MSc
Maria João Aleixo
PhD Student, MD
Rita Oliveira
PhD Student, MScPharma
Maria Valada
Research Assistant, MSc
Alex Moniz
MSc Physiotherapy Student
Daniela Costa
Research Fellow - PhD Student
Sónia Fertuzinhos
Research Fellow, PhD Student
Clara Salvador
Research Fellow