I’m not that ‘new’ anymore, but I still would like to shortly introduce myself. In December 2016, I started working as a PhD candidate at Wageningen University & Research, at the chair group of Health and Society.
All my life I have been interested in health and how to be as healthy as possible. I was always thinking about why some people have an unhealthy lifestyle, while others have a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, before I started my PhD, I studied ‘Voeding en Gezondheid’, and later Nutrition and Health (specialisation Epidemiology and Public Health), also at Wageningen University & Research. Although I really liked doing ‘statistics’ in epidemiology, I did not have the feeling that I was connecting (enough) to my target populations by doing epidemiologic research. Therefore, I decided that I should have a look at more applied research, so I could make a connection between science and practice. And that’s when I saw the vacancy of my current PhD project.
I immediately knew that this project was perfect for me! The subject, ‘care-physical activity initiatives in the neighbourhood’, is really interesting to me. The project focuses on combined lifestyle interventions for vulnerable people (e.g. people with a low SES, people with diabetes, etc.) in Arnhem and Veenendaal. In those interventions, multiple sectors (e.g. sports, health insurers, municipalities) collaborate to connect primary care and PA at neighbourhood level, aiming to stimulate PA, and to improve health and societal participation. Since the project contains action research (meaning that we try to build a bridge between science and practice), it is a more applied research project.
In this project, we are going to focus on 1) the impact of socially vulnerable groups' participation in care-physical activity initiatives, 2) action elements for policy and practice, 3) the societal costs and benefits, and 4) alternative funding methods. So, you could say that the project is quite big and complex. However, I am highly motivated to bring the project to a success and I am very curious to the results. Hopefully, the findings in this research can help vulnerable people to become healthier citizens.