Prof. dr. Jolien Roos-Hesselink, a cardiologist affiliated with the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam and Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, will be the new managing-director of the Dutch CardioVascular Alliance (DCVA). She will succeed prof. dr. Wiek van Gilst. The supervisory board of the DCVA announced this today.
As a researcher, Professor Roos-Hesselink (1961) not only focuses on congenital heart disease, but also on quality of life, sports and pregnancy. She has a large number of international publications to her name and supervised many PhD students. As a board member, she has gained experience in leading research programs and projects with funding from ZonMw and the Dutch Heart Foundation. She was actively involved in fundraising for the Thorax Foundation, which she co-founded. In a European context she was and still is actively involved in various committees and projects.
Floris Italianer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the DCVA: “We have found a strong director in Professor Roos-Hesselink, who can strengthen and perpetuate the relationship with the partners and who is able to further develop the DCVA as an organization. Professor Roos-Hesselink has a lot of experience with the path from ideation during fundamental research to practical application in patients in clinical research. That is one of the core activities of the DCVA. She is also a strong connector with a vision of collaboration between all parties that focus on reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease.”
Professor Roos-Hesselink studied medicine in Utrecht in the 1980s and started working as a cardiologist at the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam. There she became head of the congenital heart disease unit in 1999. She obtained her PhD in 2004 with a thesis entitled Congenital Heart Disease at Adult Age and was appointed professor in 2009. Her research focuses in particular on predicting the health of adult patients after surgery for a congenital heart defect and cardiovascular disease during pregnancy. In addition to her work, she has been active in, among others, the Dutch Society for Cardiology (NVVC) and the European Society for Cardiology (ESC).
Roos-Hesselink: “Everything starts with good research, of course, but I know from my own experience that a a lot of work still needs to be done after that before the patient benefits from it. The application of knowledge only becomes concrete in guidelines and innovations. Guidelines and innovations only mean something to patients if they are applied in practice. By joining forces and working together we can create more impact. Furthermore, I am personally very much looking forward to dedicating myself to talent development. If the top researchers of the future get to know each other early in their careers in such as a national program, this offers opportunities that should not be underestimated. I strongly believe in that.”
As co-initiator, Professor Van Gilst has been one of the driving forces behind the DCVA since its foundation in 2018. He became the first managing-director and was responsible for important first achievements of the DCVA, such as the growth of the alliance from twelve to twenty partners, the establishment of the Leadership Program, which trains scientific and managerial talents for careers in the cardiovascular field, the establishment of the FIRST fund, which raises seed capital for innovative companies and the COVID-19 studies on the relationship between COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease.