“For the past 17 years, I’ve worked in various places in healthcare: as the director of the NVZ Dutch Hospitals Association, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Jeroen Bosch Hospital and as chair of the Board of Directors of the Deventer Hospital. No, I didn’t plan on joining the Princess Máxima Center. But this came my way. And although I also have experience in the business world at KLM and in public administration, healthcare is close to my heart. Healthcare is relevant, it is a complex sector, and health and wellbeing are at the top of everyone’s agenda. Isn’t it beautiful then to work for a center whose mission is to provide a cure for every child with cancer while maintaining an optimal quality of life? I mean, for a target group that still has a whole life ahead of them.
What’s new for me is that the Máxima is no ordinary hospital. It is a supra-academic knowledge and innovation center with a clinic and treatment center as well. The absolute top in Europe. The focus here is emphatically on the integration of care and research, applied to each child. Everyone here is innovating to accomplish the mission. I love that. People who work here can talk passionately about it. And that mission is well known to everyone, I’ve noticed. There is no uncertainty or discussion about the direction and course. The ‘why’ is very clear, but I notice that there is still some uncertainty about the ‘how’. Fortunately, there is still some work to do here!
What I appreciate is the cooperation with the UMC Utrecht and specifically the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital. We are important partners in both healthcare and research. This offers great opportunities. We’re close together here at the Utrecht-Science Park. When I used to study here myself, we used to call it simply ‘the Uithof.’ It is nice to see what has changed in recent years and also to think about what else is still possible. The institutions at the Science Park can benefit even more from each other. After all, working together is the new competition. But you do have to know each other. The fact that Máxima is now the largest European children’s cancer center happens to be something that many people do not yet know. It’s good for us to realize that. Because we are of course Dutch-made. So I especially want to focus on close cooperation with other parties and organizations, such as the shared care centers, but especially the patient & client organizations. So that we can use each other’s expertise and together ensure that we achieve our mission and continue to innovate.”