Our Aletta fellows
Adriana Tami is an Assistant Professor in Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Department of Medical Microbiology, University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), Groningen, The Netherlands and associate Professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad de Carabobo (UC), Valencia, Venezuela. She trained as a medical doctor at the UC and later obtained her MSc, the Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK. She works as a researcher and teaches medical and biomedical students at UMCG. As a researcher, Adriana has worked on malaria epidemiology, molecular diversity and drug resistance in the Venezuelan Amazon, Gambia and Tanzania. She currently also focuses on arboviral diseases of importance. More recently, she has been involved in the analysis of the health situation during the current humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, her country of origin. Adriana Tami heads the Epidemiology of Tropical and Infectious Diseases group (EPITROP) at UMCG.
Albert Boonstra is a full professor of Information Management at the Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. His research interests include the implementation of advanced information technologies in healthcare environments, especially the socio-political dimensions. He is interested in the transformative potential of digital technologies in healthcare, including eHealth, Internet of Things, Electronic Health Records and Telecare. He presented his work at international conferences and is author of three books and more than 60 international journal articles. He is senior editor of Information Systems Journal. He is research fellow of research school SOM and of the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health.
I am Aleid Brouwer, I work as a lecturer at the Faculty of Spatial Science at the University of Groningen and as a full professor at the NHL Stenden University of Applied Science in Leeuwarden. My Aletta research focusses first on ‘housing solutions for an aging population’; answering questions such as where do older adults want to live, what kind of whishes do they have, can they afford to age in place, are they prepared to age in place, do they have the social network to age in place? The second focus is on ‘who cares for the informal care giver’, what are the effects of the participation society for elderly and for the people who will do the caretaking, What are the effect for the caregiver on the long term, in work life balance, career perspectives and health and how can employers take care of their employees that might be overburdened.
Anja Visser is assistant professor Spiritual Care at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen. She is affiliated with the Centre Religion, Health and Well-being of this faculty and coordinates the masterprogram Religion, Health and Well-being. Her research is focused on the integration of spiritual care in primary and secondary healthcare and in the social domain. For this purpose she examines the organization of spiritual care (who provides it, where and when) and the effects that spiritual care can have on health and (spiritual) well-being.
My name is dr. Anke Coumans. I am professor of the research group Image in Context of the knowledge Center Art and Society. My research can be situated on the crosslines of arts and the social and health care domain. I initiate projects in which artistic means create environments in which stakeholders are enabled to reposition themselves, create new narratives and find promising and sustainable alliances. Most of my projects are aimed at elderly care and people with dementia. The professorship is mostly known for its educational expositions with portraits of people with dementia made by student of Minerva art Academy, called Ik zie ik zie wat jij niet ziet.
Esther Hartman is associate professor at the Center of Human Movement Sciences (UMCG). Her research is centered around on child development and health in physical activity and sports. She studies motor development and physical activity behavior in relation to cognitive functioning and health. In the last few years, she supervised several PhD trajectories focusing on development, implementation and evaluation of school-based interventions in primary and secondary schools.
My research interests include digital inequality, social implications of IT use, IT adoption and use by older adults, IT implementation in community settings.
Fanny Janssen is Associate Professor in Mortality and Ageing at the Department of Demography, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Since September 2014 she has a secondment of 0.2fte at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute in The Hague. Fanny Jansen holds a Bachelor in Human Geography and a Master in Demography (both from the University of Groningen), a Master in Epidemiology (Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences, Rotterdam) and a PhD in Medical Demography from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She conducts research on mortality and healthy ageing at the population level, mainly in the Netherlands and Europe. Her research focusses on mortality differences between men and women, between countries/regions, over time and across generations. She also conducts research on the role of health-related lifestyle factors (smoking, alcohol, obesity), with the aim to improve mortality forecasting. May 2014, she obtained a prestigious Dutch research fellowship (VIDI) for her research Smoking, alcohol and obesity – ingredients for improved and robust mortality projections. She is winner of the European Demography award 2018.
Fons van der Lucht
I am medical sociologist and started my career as a PhD student at Groningen University. In 1992 I took my PhD with a study on health inequalities among children. Since 1998 I am working at the centre of Public Health Status and Forecasting of our National Institute of Public Health (RIVM). From 2007 -2010 I was the project manager of the Dutch National health report ‘towards better health’, the Public Health status and Forecast 2010. After a few years of management positions at the RIVM, I continued my career at this institute as a senior public health researcher. One of the recurring themes in my work is health inequalities.
My name is Frederike Jörg, I have a background in Psychology, Epidemiology and Public Health. I have done various research projects; I have studied (cost-)effectiveness of lifestyle interventions in severe mentally ill patients, risk factors of adolescents seeking specialist mental health care, and lately the use of administrative health care use and outcome data to predict the course of depression with the aim to support personalised treatment decisions. Currently I am working on prevention of mental health care problems in children of parents with mental illness.
I am a postdoc researcher at the Faculty of Economics and Business, department Operations. My research interests are in the field of Healthcare Management and include regional healthcare networks, value-based healthcare, and evaluating the hospitalist, a new medical function in Dutch hospitals. Currently, I'm involved in a project in which we investigate the way in which value-based healthcare in regional oncology networks facilitates improvement of healthcare delivery.
I am Govert Schoof, coordinator of the Geodienst, the spatial expertise center of the RUG. We provide a research environment for RUG students and staff so they can get their data on a map and analyze it. We also build software to structure data and aid research. At Aletta we are working on the Aletta Atlas and we did some analytics and visualizations for the "kwetsbare groepen in het Groninger gezondheidslandschap" report. If you need support working with spatial data don't hesitate to contact me.
Helco van Keeken
I have a PhD in medical sciences and I am a physiotherapist by training. You can find my publications in biomedical engineering and physics journals. Most of the publications are about the fundamental, neuromechanical concepts of prosthetic limb gait. To study these topics, we developed mathematical computer models based on prosthetic gait data of transfemoral amputees.
I work as a university teacher for the Department of Human Movement Sciences of the UMCG, focusing strongly on rehabilitation & prevention (public health, physical capacity and activity), and assistive technology, within the ‘Healthy Ageing’ and ‘Exercise is Medicine’ research themes. I am the coordinator of the HMS Skills lab, responsible for the computer programming course and project manager of the innovation projects in the Academic Workplace learning community.
I am a professor Personalised Digital Health, Hanze University of Applied Sciences. My research focuses on the question how personal data, gathered by broadly available consumer technology, may be used in order to stimulate people in a personalized way to make healthy choices. The effective combination of psychology (behavioral influence) and technology (data science) is therefore crucial.
Jenny van Doorn
My name is Jenny van Doorn, I'm professor of Services Marketing at the Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen. My research focuses on the use of technology in services, in particular the use of robots and artificial intelligence. Use of such technology becomes also more and more common in healthcare and is seen as a potential solution for the challenges that the health care system faces given the increasing health care demand due to ageing populations and personnel shortages. The current generation of technological devices often already goes beyond a mere functional role and also engages its user on a social level, such as a robot doing physical exercises with the elderly or devices using speech technology to remind their users to e.g. take their medicine. In my research I explore how consumers react to such technology, and whether there are ways to overcome reluctance that in particular elderly people may feel to use it.
Johan de Jong
Johan de Jong is professor Healthy Lifestyle, Sports & Physical Activity at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen. His main research objective is to develop and evaluate approaches that stimulate people, from young to old, to become more physically active as part of a healthy lifestyle. Within the Centre of Expertise Healthy Ageing, Johan coordinates the theme Community-based lifestyle interventions. Since 2011, he is coordinator of Erasmus+ Sport and Knowledge Alliances projects focusing on the development of education material for a lifestyle program on bachelor level (2011-2013), development of Health Enhancing Physical Activity (HEPA) modules for the sport sector (2015-2017), sport injury prevention in youngsters through sport and physical education (2019-2021) and how to set up communities of practice for a healthy lifestyle (2018-2020). He (co) authored over 45 publications and is reviewer for the Journals Preventive Medicine and International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. Finally, Johan is board member of the European Network of Sport Education and representative of Hanze University in the HEPA Europe network.
Jurjen van der Schans
Jurjen van der Schans has a background in medical pharmaceutical sciences with a focus on epidemiology, (health) economics, and pharmacotherapy. He is involved in the evaluation of (cost-)effectiveness in the H2020 project on Scaling-Up Non-communicable diseases Interventions in South-East Asia (SUNI-SEA) and the IMI project on Vaccines and InfecTious diseases in the Ageing popuLation (VITAL). He previously worked as a visiting researcher at the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, New Zealand, and as a lecturer at the Department of Health Technology and Services Research, University of Twente.
I am an Associate Professor at FEB and my background is social psychology. I am doing research on ethical behavior, moral norms, rules/laws and sanctions. With regard to the topic of health, I am focusing on the effects of moral appeals and of rules and sanctions on vaccination. Also, my research has focused on moralization of obesity and it's psychological and behavioral effects, and on the effect of Workplace Health Programs and responsibility attributions on stigmatization of people who have overweight.
Louise is associate professor in Health Geography and is leading a research programme on Well-being, mobility and attachment to place in later life. Her key contributions to the field have been on the outdoor mobility of older adults; place and identity after stroke; and the multi-dimensionality of well-being in later life. Her work is interdisciplinary, at the intersection of geography, gerontology and public health. Currently, she is leading an ERC-funded project called Meaningful Mobility, in which she aims to develop a novel approach to in- and outdoor movement in later life, in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and India.
Maarten Lahr, PhD, graduated from University of Groningen in 2009 as human movement scientist and behavioral and cognitive neuroscientist, and subsequently was enrolled in a PhD programme at University Medical Center Groningen, department of Neurology, which was successfully completed in 2013. Within his PhD he performed multi- and interdisciplinary research in the field of organisational models for acute stroke care, together with the faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Groningen and the department of Epidemiology and Medical Technology Assessment of the University of Groningen. In 2013 he was appointed postdoc researcher with Healthy Ageing Team UMCG on an European project aimed at setting up and implementing eHealth and integrated care models for chronic diseases. Starting July 2016 he works as a postdoctoral researcher at the department of Epidemiology, Groningen. His research focuses on modelling and (early) evaluation of innovations (i.e. eHealth) and new treatments in healthcare.
I am a health scientist, experienced in implementation research; studying behaviour and organisational change in healthcare settings. Currently I am interested in designing and evaluating interventions and change processes in a co-creative manner, taking into account a complexity science perspective. In addition, I am interested in the question: 'what skills, knowledge and attitudes do students need in order to tackle the complex challenges of today's societies and what does this mean for education'?
My name is Marika Leving and I have recently defended my PhD in the field of Human Movement Sciences and Rehabilitation. Right now I am working as a junior academic teacher at the Department of Human Movement Sciences (UMCG) where I teach various master and bachelor courses, including the new Aletta minor (Minor More Healthy Years). Additionally I coordinate a number of research projects which are being performed at my department and at the UMCG Center for Rehabilitation in Haren. When it comes to research, I am especially interested in motor learning and motor control in patients experiencing (chronic) pain.
Marlies Hesselman is a lecturer in international law and a member of Global Health Law Groningen at the Faculty of Law. She is particularly interested in international law at the intersections of human rights, environment and health with a focus on the health impacts of climate change, disasters, energy poverty and air pollution. Marlies PhD specifically touches upon human rights and modern access to energy services.
My research involves the structure and function of sugars, both in health and disease. Human milk that infants receive as first food contains a complex mixture of sugars, that are important for a healthy development. I want to understand which sugar structures confer a specific health benefit, in order to add them to infant formula that currently lack human milk sugars. And because bacteria often use specific sugars to adhere an infect, these bacterial sugars are promising targets to develop novel antibiotic strategies against.
Martin Land is Associate Professor of Operations Management at the Faculty of Economics and Business. His healthcare research focuses on the improvement of patient flows in hospitals, matching supply and demand of capacity, and the application of Lean principles in health care settings. Most specifically he has developed new approaches to diagnose the causes of crowding and long patient waiting times in Emergency departments. These approaches have been applied in hospitals in the Netherlands, the USA and the UK.
Max Groneck is Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics, Econometrics and Finance (EEF) at University of Groningen. In his research he studies how people (financially) prepare against important life risks, such as longevity and health risks, or labor income risk, as well as socio-economic differences concerning these risks. He is particularly interested in analyzing biases in beliefs about the future and how they affect economic decision making, for instance, how biased survival beliefs leads to undersaving for retirement. He also investigates the importance of inter-generational transfers within families for old-age support. As a recent interest, he investigates different age profiles of mental and physical health and how those affect labor supply decisions. His research is published in internationally renowned journals, such as the Journal of Human Resources and the Journal of Economic Theory. He received his doctoral degree from University of Cologne. In 2014 he was a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, and from 2015-2017, he worked as a postdoctoral.
My name is Michelle Bruijn and I work at the Faculty of Law, Department of Legal Methods. My research focuses on the developments within the fields of drug and tobacco control. The research on drug control focuses on the underlying rationales for the policies on recreational cannabis in the Netherlands and Canada, the possibilities that international law provide to regulate recreational cannabis, the use of eviction – removing persons from premises – to fight drug-related activities, the legal protection against these drug-related evictions, and the influence of human rights in drug eviction cases. My research on tobacco control focuses on the legal aspects of smoke free policies in the Netherlands, specifically the municipality of Groningen and the municipality of Rotterdam.
My name is Miente Pietersma, and as a historian my research focuses on the body culture and physical exercises of the 15th and 16th centuries. Specifically, I am interested in the agency ascribed to bodily experiences in texts devoted to fields of knowledge that were intrinsically physical (e.g. sports such as wrestling, fencing and running). This topic provides an essential historical perspective to current debates about the nature of our bodies, as well as the daily experiences that help us improve them. I am currently attached to the Minor ‘More Healthy Years’, initiated by Aletta, where I serve as coordinator for the teaching contributions made by the Faculty of Arts.
Nick Degens is chair of the research group User-Centered Design at the Hanze University of Applied Science. The research group aims to support small and medium sized enterprises, in particular those from the creative industry, and (public) organisations with the design of effective interactive digital tools for long-term behaviour change. It does so by trying to relate theory, design decisions, and behavioural outcomes in a generic manner as to better understand how these tools can be used to change the behaviour of the users. There are two major research topics within the research group: Adaptive Systems and New Technologies. The goal of the research topic Adaptive Systems is to better connect interactive tools to individual differences in users, such as differences in motivation, behaviour, or knowledge, to ensure a more suitable and ultimately more effective tool. The goal of the research topic New Technologies is to better understand how novel forms of technology can be used or integrated to deal with (future) societal issues.
I am Nynke Smidt, Epidemiologist and associate Professor at the department of Epidemiology. My research focus is health behavior from a life course perspective, taking into account the physical and social environment. I am especially interested to understand how we can decrease socioeconomic health differences and the prevention of dementia (dementia risk reduction).
dr. Remo Mombarg is a Lector Physical Education (PE) and youth sports at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences. The main goal of this lectorship is to develop knowledge about effective interventions that make children sport, in a pleasant, healthy, and sustainable way. How do we prepare children for a life in sports? Remo has extensive experiences in sportdevelopment for children in vocational education. Recently a project called “selfregulation in sport and health” was funded by the NRO (Dutch council for research). In this project students, researchers, and PE-teachers perform this research, in so called ‘knowledge-working-places’. For children with motor coordination difficulties, such as children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), we focus on a strong learning environment, that stimulates children to trust their bodies and to enjoy to be physically active. This interaction between students, teachers/researchers, PE-teachers, and children, is highly fruitful for all parties. Children receive extra attention from up-to-date students – who learn to work with less capable children, teachers/researchers can perform their research on-the-job, and PE-teachers see their children grow. This cooperation resulted in many products such as curricula,1 a book chapter,2 television parts,3 and several articles, e.g. on Serious Gaming4,5. Further, one of our colleagues wrote her PhD-thesis on DCD6 and supervises graduate students in their research on, for example, the effects of implicit and explicit learning strategies in children with motor coordination difficulties.
The collaboration between students, teachers/researchers, PE-teachers, and children pays special attention to children with motor coordination difficulties, to help them find a way into sports and to receive compliments, because all children deserve to joyfully participate in sports.
Sander van Lanen
I am an urban geographer working on the intersections of economy and culture. My research focuses on the everyday consequences of poverty, concentrated deprivation, and the political economy of everyday life. In other words, how political decisions and economic transformation transform everyday practices like work, mobility and leisure. This includes considerations of work, health, housing, social life and many more.
Susan Ketner has served as professor of Comprehensive Approach to Child Abuse at Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen as of 1 March 2019. Her specific background as a researcher is in diversity, parental support and parenthood. She is keen on using her professorship to improve parental support in families where parents face various types of pressure and where concerns over safety exist. In doing so, she prefers to link up research, education, policy and practice.
Susanne Täuber is an expert in moral motivation and defensive inaction. As a social psychologist working in Economics and Business, her research is interdisciplinary and spans questions of inequality, justice, trust, polarization, identity, and conflict. Täuber applies her research to understand the discrepancy between policy and actual progress, for instance with respect to health disparities between groups with low and high socio-economic status. In an NWO-funded project, Täuber demonstrated how the moralization of health polarizes society. She works with many organziations and the municipality in projects such as the "Healthy Livingroom".
Talitha Feenstra is Associate Professor of pharmaco economics and specializes in the economic evaluation of precision medicine. She has a second affiliation at the Dutch Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Her public Health interests concern the health economic aspects of large non communicable disorders with strong public health impact, especially Diabetes Melitus, Depression and other mental disorders. She investigates these using administrative datasets and registries, and performing model based scenario analyses. She has been involved in economic evaluations of tobacco control policy, and other prevention policy aiming at a healthy lifestyle.
Thea van Asselt
My name is Thea van Asselt, I am a health economist working at the departments of Epidemiology and Health Sciences of the UMCG. My research is mainly in the field of health technology assessment (HTA), which evaluates costs relative to effects of interventions in healthcare, with interventions including pharmaceuticals, prevention, and alternative organization of care. Where it concerns public health, examples of current and recent projects I am/was involved in are about the value of diagnostics for better use of antibiotics, screening for pre-eclampsia in pregnancy, and integrated care for older adults.
Trained as a researcher in Germany and the UK, I came to Groningen in 2011, first as postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Sociology and later UMCG, and now as Associate Professor in the Department of Pedagogy and Educational Sciences. In my research, I use longitudinal cohort data to understand social and behavioral development, associations with maladjustment across the life-course, and consequences across generations. My research is genetically informed because I am convinced that associations between risks and outcomes might be explained by a shared genetic basis and I also propose to incorporate genetic information into models of parenting and child development.
My research focuses on the social context of psychiatric disorders, psychosis in particular. Risk of psychosis is determined not only by genetic factors, but also by the environment of the family, the neighborhood, the social and cultural groups a person belongs to and the wider society. I use epidemiology, virtual reality and global mental health perspectives to investigate associations between social context and psychosis, to explore mechanisms, and to develop new treatments.
Wolter paans is a lector Nursing Diagnostics at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences & Clinical Researcher at the Intensive Care Unit, University Medical Centre Groningen. Specialty area’s:  clinical decision making in the field of consequences of illness and (medical) treatment, multimorbidity and frailty,  Diagnostic measurements such as ‘Point of Care Testing’ (POCT), the use of ‘Quantified Self Techniques’ (QS) and diagnostic assessments in primary health care.  Quality measurements of professional documentation and handover in the chain of care.  Target profession in research: Nursing.
Dr. Cornelis Boersma (1978), holds a Master's degree in Pharmacy and holds a PhD in the fields of pharmaco-epidemiology, health economics and health care policy. He has more than 15 years of experience in health care from various roles such as postdoctoral researcher, entrepreneur, consultant and the various positions he held in the pharmaceutical industry. At GSK Nederland he worked as Head Market Access, after which he joined the local management team as Director Corporate Affairs in 2014. Until recently, Cornelis was Head of Global Government Affairs & Communications and Head of Market Access Europe & Canada at GSK in London. As of 1 July 2018, Cornelis started again as an independent entrepreneur (founder of the consultancy firm Health-Ecore). He is also active as a scientific researcher (UMCG/University of Groningen) and is involved in various initiatives aimed at achieving the most optimal, accessible and sustainable affordable care. It is his personal ambition to invest in sustainable care from an economic and social perspective, in cooperation with private and public parties.
I focus on diet and physical activity as the major lifestyle factors of interest, primarily through observational studies and lifestyle interventions. Research themes are typically centered around two main issues: (1) How far are lifestyle factors related to obesity, cardio¬metabolic risk and type 2 diabetes? And in what ways? (2) How far can lifestyle programs reverse overweight and reduce cardiometabolic risk? And how do these programs work? We focus our research on these issues in high-risk groups, such as young children, adolescents, the severely mentally ill, and renal transplant recipients.. For example, we have performed randomized controlled trials looking at how to improve lifestyle in renal transplant recipients and in psychiatric patients. We also study the roles of both the individual and the obesogenic environment.
Marjolein van Offenbeek
Studied and got her PhD in organisational psychology in Amsterdam before she moved to Groningen to engage in interdisciplinary, applied research in healthcare settings. Her research focuses on the implementation and effectiveness of innovations in health care management and organisation. A central theme is how to realise a dynamic fit between the innovation content and context on the one hand and the implementation strategy on the other hand. One line of research concentrates on new occupations, job differentiation and professional projects in healthcare. The second line concerns health information systems and Ehealth implementation.
I am an assistant professor (UD1) in the Department of International Relations and International Organization (IRIO) at the Faculty of Arts (Letteren). My current research focuses on bringing to the fore political ecologies of health, particularly of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). From this perspective, health issues such as infectious diseases are not simply biomedical problems. They result also from socio-political interactions including conflict, (agri-)industrialisation, urbanization, and modern lifestyles, which alter human-animal-microbial relations, sometimes leading to pathogenesis. Some questions also explored relate to the role of public health interventions in the emergence of new diseases (AMR); but also the role of indigenous cosmologies and philosophies such as Daoism in helping to think through an ecological approach to (global) public health (e.g. the One Health initiative). I am currently working on a manuscript tentatively entitled Pathogenic Entanglements: towards an ecological approach to global health security in which I explore these themes more extensively.
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