My course mates were very committed and the atmosphere was very good: excellent conditions for obtaining knowledge of quantitative and qualitative methods, getting good grades and having fun at the same time. At the beginning of my Master’s, I mentioned to Professor Inge Hutter that I was interested in an internship combined with my Master’s thesis. Thanks to her effort, I could start at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. After completing 5 months of internship, I carried on working there for almost 2.5 years, doing research on perception of infrastructure vicinities, urbanization and the Millennium Development Goals. And … I met my fiancée there.
I found another opportunity in the Jan van Es Institute, a knowledge institute for integrated primary care. Although I knew almost nothing about primary care, I got the job: mainly because I had experience with population forecasts. Thank you Population Studies! My work entailed performing analyses of different types of research, but mainly on population and demand for (primary) health care. Several health care centres now have a platform which makes available maps and data on current and future expected demand for care (based on population and indicators) and actual demand for care (based on their patients’ data). The platform provides health care centres access to information concerning the distribution of patients, target groups, and so on.
After three years at the Jan van Es Institute, I began working for AimTrack (September 2014), together with the owner of the platform and the owner of a health and care innovation database. The scope of the platform has been extended from primary care to an integral perspective which covers costs, health, primary care, secondary care and medication. We have also created a model for elderly, housing and long-term care since the Netherlands has to deal with e.g. ageing and rising health care costs. In the model population forecasts are combined with the current income distribution of elderly (extrapolated by using the cohort method) with indicators (by age and income) of long-term care use at home and in institutions (nursing homes). In the model we take policy into account: housing and care have been separated which implies that patients that got care in a care home will have to pay for their (new) residence themselves. Only the patients in nursing homes can ‘stay where they are’. Next to the demand for care, we also try to get a full overview of the supply of institutions, especially regarding construction year and number of places available. The current state of many institutions will not be sufficient to meet the needs and standards of future elderly with middle or high incomes: new or converted real estate will have to be developed in the next decades. The model provides us with strategic data and information regarding demand and supply of elderly, their income distribution, long-term care in the current and future situation. We collect the data and information into reports for every postal code area, municipality and province in the Netherlands. The strategic information is interesting for e.g. care organizations, insurance companies, municipalities and real estate companies.
The Master of Population Studies degree has equipped me with a large backpack of methodological and theoretical knowledge which I use in my daily work and which also combines policy interventions and daily life practices. Furthermore, by doing an internship I got ‘easily’ enrolled into a working career. I highly recommend students to do an internship (combined with the Master’s thesis) to get to know more about how it is to work, to expand their network and to increase the chance of getting a job soon. If I had not done the Master’s in Population Studies programme, I would not have had the kind of opportunities (personal and career) I have now.
If you would like to have more information, please do not hesitate to contact me: https://nl.linkedin.com/in/aukevlonk