Recap APH Spring Meeting 2019: "Personalized Medicine for Health and Prevention"

On May 14 2019, about 300 researchers and relations in the field of public health gathered for the 2nd Spring Meeting of the Amsterdam Public Health research institute (APH). The meeting was held in the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam.

The focus of this Spring Meeting was on the fascinating field of Personalized Medicine. The afternoon started with parallel program sessions of the 8 APH research programs (more details later on this webpage). After a sort break the plenary session was held in the Aula of the Vrije Universiteit. The keynote talks of Professor Paolo Villari from the University of Rome and Professor Harald Schmidt from Maastricht University provided us with two different perspectives on the near future of Personalized Medicine. First Professor Paolo Villari spoke about the evaluation and the implementation of genetic/genomic applications, Professor Harald Schmidt continued the plenary session with his lecture titled: The end of medicine as we know it. 

The afternoon was continued by Manou Anselma, Yasaman Vali, and Trees Juurlink, three excellent researchers that inspired us with their work in the context of Personalized Medicine within APH with a ‘Pecha Kucha’ presentation. These presentations were part of the travel award competition that the APH Personalized Medicine program organized. At the end of the plenary session the winner of the travel award, Trees Juurlink, was announced. She received a travel grant of 2,000 Euro. Runners-up Yasaman Vali (2nd place) and Manou Anselma (3rd place) received a travel grant of 1,000 Euro and 500 Euro respectively.

More information about the speakers and their presentations in the Spring Meeting program booklet >>

Downloads of the presentations

Parallel program sessions

The APH research programs organized attractive sessions on a broad range of APH research topics.

Health Behaviors & Chronic Diseases
The Health Behaviors and Chronic Diseases (HB&CD) program started with separate sessions hosted by the HB&CD junior and medior council. Under the guidance of ProActief, junior researchers learned all about the ins and outs of networking, establishing leads and making new contacts. Meanwhile, during the inaugural meeting of the medior research council, midcareer researchers in the HB&CD program had their first get-together. The aim of the group is to create a group of peers for whom workshops can be organized and intervision and lectures can be held, about issues particularly relevant to those in their midcareer. The program ended with a plenary session in which three junior members shared the most valuable lessons they learned during their stay at a foreign research institute, facilitated by a HB&CD travel grant. Finally, researcher Trynke Hoekstra (VU) presented the first results of her HB&CD funded project ‘Old habits, new angles’ on unravelling unobserved heterogeneity in lifestyle intervention effects.

Mental Health
At the Mental Health (MH) session the new junior council presented itself and its goals. We also had 7 nominees for the MH travel grant presenting their plan. Three of them did this ‘live’ in a short pitch, and four people, who were not able to join us the 14th, had made a short film which we showed on screen. After that, Joanne Ujčič -Voortman of the GGD Amsterdam gave a nice talk about the Sarphati cohort in Amsterdam, in which children are followed from the moment they have their first consultation in youth health care (at the ‘consultatiebureau’). The Sarpahti cohort is currently mainly focused on the prevention of overweight and obesity and we discussed how we could fit in MH research in this developing cohort study. We concluded our session with the announcement of the 4 awarded alliance funds MH and the award ceremony for the junior MH awards, in which 4 travel grants and 2 best paper prices were awarded.

Societal Participation Health
The junior council of the Societal Participation & Health (SP&H) program organized a pre-symposium workshop for junior researchers. Henny Mulders, an advisor on inclusive work organizations at UWV, presented ways to adapt the work environment in order to modify the workplace for people with a large distance to the labor market. He also discussed different methods which can be applied to help people to stay at work or find work.

Researchers Henk van der Molen (AMC) and Maaike Huysmans (VUmc) organized a session in the afternoon for the whole SP&H program. Sanja Kezic, Pieter Coenen and Gerda de Groene gave a taste of current studies on etiology and prevention of work-related dermal, musculoskeletal and distress/burn-out disorders. We ended with a lively discussion on possibilities for future research themes and potential relevant research populations for our program.

Quality of Care
On May 14th, the researchers attending the Quality of Care (QoC) session at the APH Spring Meeting played a getting-to-know-your-research-and-skills game and connected for a golden ticket of 2,500 Euro!

Six teams took the opportunity to meet each other and they developed six original, inspiring, and innovative ideas and activities. After pitching the ideas, the winner was selected by votes from all researchers present. It was a close call, but one proposal was regarded as most promising to boost QoC collaborative research. And the winner is….: Team 2 with their idea “From results to society”. Congratulations to Lisette van Leeuwen, Fleur ten Tije, Bernadette Schutijser and Marit van der Pijl. We are looking forward to the workshop they will organize and that will focus on means to communicate the results of our research to society. We look back on a very inspiring and interactive meeting!

Aging & Later Life
During the APH Spring Meeting Aging & Later Life (A&LL) has had an inspiring session with its members. We kicked off with a short update on the program presented by program leader professor Cees Hertogh, after which the Junior Council was introduced and installed. The Junior Council will support the program with a lot of enthusiasm. Next, 7 travel grants were handed out and a number of the winners pitched their travel plans to research groups abroad. During the second part of the session the junior and the senior researchers split up for interactive sessions.

Personalized Medicine
The personalized medicine program session consisted of two parts. First, we were presented with the results of two projects sponsored by the program: 'Epigenetics in Asthma: a role for Personalized Medicine' and 'ICT bases solutions to support informed decision-making about colorectal cancer screening for migrants'. In the second half, we enjoyed a workshop by the Bildung Academy about how to present a convincing argument. In this workshop we practiced "personalized" pitching of our current studies or research ideas. A few brave researchers presented their pitch to the whole group and were filmed doing so, in order to learn from it even more.

During the Methodology session of the APH Spring Meeting the newly formed Junior Board introduced themselves and the goals of the Junior Board. They also presented a new call for research and travel grants. The Methodology session contained two keynote speakers. The first keynote talk was by dr. Miranda Langendam about her experiences as a guideline methodologist. She spoke about the development of guidelines, including methods for determining Core Outcome Sets. The second keynote speaker, dr. Michiel de Boer, spoke about the (ir)relevance of statistical significance tests and whether or not we should continue to report statistical significance in scientific research and what the possible alternative are. Dr. Michiel de Boer is presenting a APH Tutorial about a similar subject soon, for which you can still sign up. If any of this has peaked your interest, sign up APH Methodology newsletter today to stay up-to-date on tutorials, meetings and grant calls!