Where and when were you born?
I was born in 1956 in Utrecht, as the second of 5 children. My father was a primary care physician with a practice at home. From my earliest years I was fascinated by being a doctor. I never wanted anything else.
Where do you live and with whom?
I live with my husband in Apeldoorn, he is a retired cardiologist. Our oldest son Arthur is 26 and autistic, he lives in a home with other young people with disabilities. To make it easier for him to come around, we decided not to move to Nijmegen. Our second son Eric is 25 and he is a PhD researcher at the institute of pure mathematics in Cambridge. We have two very different children, but as the French say: “les extrêmes se touchent”.
Who was your role model when you were a kid?
In the beginning it was my father with his general practice, but as a student I started to admire hardworking feminist women. I adore the lives of Aletta Jacobs, Marie Curie and many famous female writers and artists. During my training as a cardiologist I knew some very talented older female cardiologist who functioned as mentors-on-distance. I still have important international female role models who I see and follow at regular intervals.
Why aren’t you doing the same thing now as your role model (or do you?)
A role model is not meant to be someone you should copy. They can be very different, but they inspire you by their achievements and the way they handle the problems on the way.
What is the thing in your (work or other) history that you are most proud of?
The steps I made in improving cardiology care for female patients. The change is going on, and I am one of the pioneers in Europe who made that happen.
What is it that you would like to achieve in work in the next 5 to 10 years?
We have to transfer gender-sensitive cardiology care and all the expertise into the next generations. Therefore we need fundamental changes in education and implementation of best practices in daily care. We also need to answer many research questions we still have.
For what can we wake you up?
For an early leave to our house in France. That is where I refuel with energy to continue.
What is your hobby and how good are you at it?
I love art and I am a great collector of paintings since 15 years. The walls are full, but we put them on the ground now. On the picture you can see an artwork from a Russian artist that I bought in 2011. We had to change our sitting room to match with it.
What is your biggest irritation?
That doctors humiliate female patients who they do not understand. It happens too often.
Who would you like to invite for dinner, if you had the chance?
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