Dr. Luíza Mirpuri is the team physician for our crew, and has assessed the medical condition of each of our sailors to ensure they are capable of reaching their peak performance.

Dr. Luíza Mirpuri graduated from Portuguese Medical School in 1994. She specialized in Otorhinolaryngology and Cervical Head and Neck Cancer.

She trained as a General Practitioner and has been practicing for many years in the Portuguese National Health system, Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Medicine, and Air-ambulance. She is board-certified in Aeronautical Medicine and she is the Head of the Medical Department of Hi Fly.

Dr. Luíza is an instructor of First-Aid and Human Factors for Flight Crew in the aviation field. She also has expertise in chemicals and human health.

Her interests also include sailing, and research on Human factors that affect performance in off-shore athletes.

At the Mirpuri Foundation she is responsible for promoting scientific research on plastics and its effects on human health. Her great passion is to bring healing to people suffering from environmental contamination, raising awareness and finding healthy perceptions of our chemical lives.

As team physician, Dr. Luíza has assessed the medical condition of each of our sailors to ensure they are capable of reaching their peak performance and evaluate signs of fatigue.

Dr. Luíza has also trained our sailors in first aid before commencing offshore training earlier this year and leads the team’s Covid-19 task force, checking and performing swab tests on all members of the team to ensure everyone’s safety.

About

Role

Team physician

Nationality

Portuguese

Languages

English, French and Spanish.

Q&A

Who inspires you?

Lance Armstrong and Mahatma Gandhi.

What is your favourite quote?

"Be the best version of yourself."

What is your favourite food?

I love to eat and cook. Among the many meals I enjoy, four-cheese pizza or pepperoni pizza is my favorite, because it tastes and smells fabulous. I like to celebrate with friends by having a gourmet pizza party, and we always have a great time. My love for pizza is eternal, despite the harm it can do to our health, but a pizza lover will always be a pizza lover!

What was your childhood dream?

I’m not 100% sure, but my parents say I was keen on going to work with rocks, like mining or engineering, since I was five years old. I also always had an image of myself when I was young flying in the skies or touching the sky.

What hobbies do you have when not working with the team?

I’m always working because I am lucky to do work that makes me happy (I hate holidays) and I enjoy my projects. But when not working I love running or cycling and sailing.

Give us an example of a sustainable attitude to life – what do you do for a better world?

As Medical Advisor of the Mirpuri Foundation, I regularly give workshops with several schools of all levels about plastic pollution and human health, and to other communities and at events. I am also a member of the Scientific Council of the Ocean, Portugal – CCOceanos.

I work on scientific studies with the University about microplastics in the ocean, and publish several articles and posters about ocean contamination and impacts on human health. Being a doctor, I can measure the relationship between the exposure and the disease, and being more sustainable makes a huge difference in the onset of disease. Unfortunately it’s impossible to escape in our modern world but the important thing is to vary the toxins, so the body can find a balance and reduce health impacts.

What advice would you give to young sailors to protect the planet?

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” If you don’t change, nothing will change, so one should start giving a personal example. I recommend “baby steps”, avoid or refuse in your daily life things that can affect yourself and your family like plastic bottles, or synthetic clothes, cosmetics with microplastics.. Knowing that 60% of diseases come from an exposure, and plastic exposure is one of the most important nowadays.

In my family we don’t drink water in plastic bottles, we take showers with soap, we only buy organic clothes, we have an electric car, and always read a labels on items we buy. We all have a responsibility to rethink our lifestyle. Once we really change, we have more power to influence and inspire others. I’m very fundamentalist on that, as I know that the exposure to endocrine disruptors is the beginning to the countdown to human extinction.

What is one essential simple piece of equipment you always have with you for your daily work?

iPhone for Medical prescriptions.

Why is your work important in preparing our sailors for The Ocean Race Europe?

The teamwork improves confidence in the sailors. They know they are 100% fit in terms of physiological aspects and they have learned some technical skills in the medical training that provides effective support and better work environment if any medical issue happens during the race.

The race is different from the previous editions and will be very challenging. All the sailors need to push the limits in their endurance to the maximum. Not only physical but also mental preparation will make the difference, so we need less fatigue and fewer medical troubles. The sailors trust me and I am available to the team 24/7.

What is a simple piece of advice for athletes to think better about their health day to day?

Eat like a rainbow, and listen to your favorite music to boost good hormones like oxytocin.

Be obsessed to avoid gluten and alcohol. Train early in the morning to seize the peak of cortisol and stretch in the afternoon. Take a 2 hour ‘siesta’ in the afternoon and don’t go on protein powder - this is only marketing and makes the most expensive pee ever!

What are the some parts of your work with the team that we might not automatically think of or might surprise us?

If you want to construct a team with high performance you need to have several techniques of reverse psychology to manipulate some behavior. It’s a paradoxical intervention but it works. All athletes fear failure and if we provide such a situation on the boat we will see how they react and correct the situation.

How does this programme differ from previous projects you have been a part of?

This is a very fine watchmaking work. Nothing could fail, as we are building a work of art.

I used to say to them that we have a “Ferrari team.” As we take this message to the world the gap gets bigger. These extraordinary athletes are focused on an aspect beyond the victory - to demonstrate that you can change the world.

What have you learned from working with the sailors so far?

It’s beautiful to see when the sailors set sail together. They don’t notice it, but I see everything change around them, in their smile - they are like kids in the playground! They are fearless, focused, giving their all and even in strong conditions they are so interlaced as a team that is like your listening to “Chopin”. So perfect...