New HSO member: Henk Broekhuizen

Published on
August 26, 2020

Hi! My name is Henk and since August I work in the Health and Society group as a postdoc. The changing climate affects both low-income countries and high-income countries. Think for example of the shrinking of lake Chad (more than 90% since 1960) in Africa, which has enormous consequences for fishermen and farmers living in the region. In the Netherlands, the warming climate increases the risk of flooding and makes our country more habitable for insects such as the Tiger mosquito. The coming three years I will work on adaptive prevention and response systems to deal with the risk of infectious diseases associated with this. This will be done from a health economic/systems as well as sociological perspective. My postdoc position is part of a larger WUR-wide postdoc project where the aim is to build new and foster existing collaborations between the various fields of research at the WUR.

In my research I like to explore complex problems in healthcare by talking to stakeholders and building (simulation) models. This started at the University of Twente where I studied Technical Medicine (BSc) and then Health Sciences (MSc). I stuck around in Twente for a PhD about using probabilistic multi-criteria decision analysis to include patient preferences in decisions around healthcare policy (development). I looked specifically at how to optimize the attractiveness of a lung cancer screening program should the Netherlands choose to implement this. After a short period at a company developing machine learning models for hospitals I moved to the Global Health Priorities group at the Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen. My two main projects there were health economic projects in sub-Saharan Africa where we worked from a systems science perspective. In The Gambia I led the health economic work package for the MASSIV trial, a trial where we investigated if a mass drug administration approach with anti-malarial and antiparasitic drugs could help reduce transmission in an area with a small but persistent reservoir of malaria. In the SURG-Africa project I helped investigate the cost-effectiveness of a surgical mentoring intervention in Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia. In addition, together with a variety of stakeholders the SURG-Africa team investigated the sustainability of surgical mentoring from a systems perspective. Apart from these two main projects I worked on some smaller projects, for example on agent-based modeling for HIV in Zambia, acceptability of vaccination policies, and (methods for modeling) complex adaptive systems.

Outside of work I like spending time with my wife and newborn son. When I have the time I like to play squash, play video/boardgames with friends, travel, and work on a variety of creative projects (writing, drawing, programming). I look forward to working at the WUR and learning about all the great research that is being done here. If you’d like to chat, feel free to drop by at 201/3068 or get in touch via email.