Basic training: 1999: Thesis ‘Multimorbidity in a General Practice Population. Prevalence, Incidence and Determinants of Multiple Pathology’, promotors prof. J.A. Knottnerus, prof. F. Buntinx, prof. J.F.M. Metsemakers. 1998: Registration as Scientific Researcher in Epidemiology 1987 - 1992: Masters degree Health Sciences, specialty Nursing Sciences, Maastricht University, the Netherlands 1981 - 1987: Grammar school, Mill Hill College, Goirle, the Netherlands
My research activities focus on comorbidity, multimorbidity, polypharmacy, psychosocial profiles in longitudinal perspective and well-being of older cancer patients/survivors and role of family medicine in the care for cancer survivors. As a young researcher, my main focus of research was epidemiological studies on multimorbidity (prevalence and incidence of multimorbidity and associations with psychosocial characteristics, as well as descriptive studies of co-morbidity of chronic diseases). Increasingly, this incorporates more complex longitudinal epidemiological analyses of the development of multimorbidity and polypharmacy, disentangling morbidity and medication patterns and longitudinal associations between psychosocial determinants and multimorbidity. Additional, analyses of health care concern interactions (disease-disease, treatment-treatment, and treatment-disease) extrapolated from (disease specific) guidelines and the feasibility to apply these guidelines for and with patients who have multimorbidity. Also, intervention studies are initiated focusing on improving care for patients with multimorbidity and polypharmacy, by performing interdisciplinary medication reviews, involving the patients and his/her preferences and goals. Current studies regarding multimorbidity and polypharmacy include epidemiological analyses of data from the Registration Network Family Practices (RNH) of the Department of Family Medicine Maastricht University), data from the Maastricht Aging Study (MAAS) of the Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology (Maastricht University) and data from the Intego database of the Academic Center for General Practice (KU Leuven); and an RCT evaluating a multidisciplinary intervention to optimize medication profiles in people using multiple chronic medication. New studies in this area are being planned. Research among cancer patients/cancer survivors concern epidemiological analyses of comorbidity of cancer, but also includes analyses of data available from our large (Flemish-Dutch) cohort on well-being of older cancer patients. Ongoing qualitative studies involve both patients with cancer and their informal care givers, as well as general practitioners, and study the well-being of older patients with cancer and the role of professional and informal care givers in the period after a diagnosis of cancer.