Strategy meeting 

First digital DCVA strategy meeting to identify future opportunities

How nephrology and cardiology share common goals, what COVID-19 teaches us about working together with fifteen partners, three dilemmas and no socialising during drinks and dinner: those were the highlights of our first online but vivid strategy meeting on 1 April.

Who attended?
We were happy to be able to say hello to a new face on her first working day: Rianne Ellenbroek, former associate of the venture capital firm INKEF Capital, who will manage the FIRST fund. Wiek van Gilst (director, chair), Dirk Jan Duncker (program management), Bastian Mostert (program management), , Rebecca Abma-Schouten (chair of research policy), Rob de Ree (chair of valorisation), Robert Tieleman (chair of implementation), Jolanda van der Velden (chair of talent), Folkert Asselbergs (chair of data infrastructure), Urmila Gangaram Panday (ZonMw, research policy), Joost Leenders (Heart Foundation, valorisation), Marianne Biegstraaten (ZonMw, implementation), Machteld van Duijne (Heart Foundation, implementation), Daphne Bloemkolk (Heart Foundation, talent), Mira Staphorst (Heart Foundation, data infrastructure), Pjotr van Lenteren (Heart Foundation, communications) and Ron Gansevoort (UMCG, nephrologist) invited for the first topic.

Population screening: a unique opportunity for DCVA?
Early detection saves lives and gives more years in relatively good health. The ‘Niercheck’ has this ambition and in line with the DCVA strategy will reduce cardiovascular and renal disease burden. The project is already engaged in a successful population screening pilot. The idea is to join forces and add cardiac screening to the next population screening and evaluate the synergistic impact of that approach. The combination is logical and a big opportunity, because albuminuria is also a warning sign for heart failure and arrhythmia and relatively easy to test at home. Ron Gansevoort (nephrologist at the UMCG) shows two ways how to do this: the classical way (with a tube via mail) and the modern way (check colour of paper with smartphone app). Afterwards the attendants discuss the opportunities for DCVA. The benefits seem to be obvious, but off course there a lot of challenges. We think it will be essential to create one central, open platform, accessible for all initiatives. Good collaboration between general practitioners, screening centres and hospitals is imperative. Not everyone may be as motivated for early detection and prevention as we are, but we all feel that the present COVID pandemic confirms better to be safe than sorry. A lot of strategic organisation between institutions is necessary, something DCVA is made for. We end the discussion with dividing tasks and actions.

Future focus of DCVA
Rebecca Abma-Schouten starts a brainstorm about the future focus of DCVA. The swift start of CAPACITY COVID Registry proves the necessity and the success of the DCVA, something we are proud of. But it also shows us those things to work on in a growing, maturing organisation. Rebecca discussed this, presenting three dilemma’s:

  • There are many initiatives and we face the risk of doing things twice: transparency, even in an early phase, or first talk to all partners about initiatives? We all feel for as much transparency as possible. The corona crisis is showing us the importance of working together. Initiatives attract initiatives, when they are known.
  • Make DCVA bigger or do we focus on what we have? Working with nephrologists might lead to new partners. Is this a goal or not? We strongly feel we should work together when the opportunities arise, but stick to our mission: lower the burden of cardiovascular disease.
  • Network and facilitate our existing partners and activities or focus on launching new initiatives. We were not allowed to say: both. Consensus: launch new, excellent initiatives, as they attract people in our network anyway.