Who are you?
I am a pediatrician in training and a postdoctoral scientist in congenital renal disease at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For my research, I currently work at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City before returning to The Netherlands next year. I joined the Global Shapers in 2013 and am one of the initiators of Stichting Blikverruimers, which was a previously designed Shaper project I partly have set up and expanded.
What should we know from you we can't find on the internet?
I love Japan: the culture, the art, the food, the people, the nature: it is just amazing. Even their (virtual reality) toilets are awesome. And as a great enjoyer of whiskey, Japanese whiskey comes quite close to a true Scottish single malt. Everybody should go!
What exciting project are you working on now?
Together with a fellow shaper and 6 six friends, we took up the idea of rejuvenating the board of supervisors of hospitals, schools and other institutions. The typical member of such boards is a white-haired old male at the end of his career. Although he has a lot of governance experience, we encountered much different views on society and technological progress compared to young professionals like us. We believe that diversity is very much important in governance, as it limits excesses, which the NL has seen a lot of in recent years, and makes for much more sustainable decisions. We developed a pro bono educational program for young professionals to become an aspiring member of these boards: Stichting Blikverruimers (www.stichtingblikverruimers.nl). Our program is highly recommended by many giants of the supervisory world in the Netherlands. The first educational year started in October 2016, and contains 11 extremely talented young professionals, ranging from 26 to 36 years old. They are trained by people like Mr Rinnooy Kan and Mrs Scheltema and have a trainee position at several well-known institutions.
What has driven you, starting this project?
As a medical doctor, I am very much aware that my work not only is to treat my patients but also to treat society, making both better (at least I hope). As a scientist, I like to contribute to something that is measurable and find solutions for emerging problems. This project incorporates both of my ambitions. Finally, it was also a world of which I didn’t know much about, so I was curious how the dynamics in the governance world work and if I could move around in this world.
Why did you join the Global Shapers hub in Amsterdam?
Wearing a white coat, everybody immediately believes you do important work, while I sometimes have the feeling doctors are too limited to what happens between hospital walls and my life gets too much directed by the day-to-day buzz at my ward. The Global Shapers gave me an opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and expertise, and while I find out what drives them we are trying to solve the current challenges we are facing. I feel that this task is as much of my responsibility as it is to help my patients improving their health.