Professor of cardiovascular and clinical pharmacology and connector Wiek van Gilst knighted

Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau

Prof. dr. Wiek van Gilst, until recently managing director of the Dutch CardioVascular Alliance (DCVA), is awarded Officer in The Order of Orange-Nassau by the Dutch Royal Family. The emeritus professor also received a collaboration award named after him for his efforts to stimulate collaboration in cardiovascular research.

Van Gilst received the royal award from deputy mayor Eelco Eerenberg of Utrecht on Friday 24 June. The award ceremony took place during the annual symposium of the Dutch Cardiovascular Alliance and Netherlands Heart Institute.

Better treatment for high blood pressure and heart failure
As a researcher and head of the Experimental Cardiology department in Groningen, Van Gilst has conducted various experimental and clinical studies, especially into ACE inhibitors. These have contributed to better treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure.

Research agenda
From Groningen, Professor Van Gilst focused on collaboration across the borders of the institute. First, he did this as director of the Interuniversity Cardiological Institute of the Netherlands. After that, he worked as a scientific advisor for the Dutch Heart Foundation from 2013 onwards. As chairman of the supervisory committee, he worked on a national and later European research agenda for cardiovascular disease. Scientists, healthcare professionals, patients, relatives, volunteers and donors together came up with what was most needed.

Unite people
Subsequently van Gilst managed to unite all relevant organizations involved in reducing cardiovascular disease in an alliance and now more than 800 researchers are involved in this Dutch CardioVascular Alliance. Since the start of the alliance in 2018, together they have raised a total of more than 129 million euros to achieve the goals of the DCVA: lower the cardiovascular disease burden by 25% in 2030 by earlier recognition of disease and rapid translation of excellent science into health improvement.

After preparing and forming the alliance, Professor Van Gilst has led the DCVA for the past three years as managing director. He resigned from both the Dutch Heart Foundation and his position at the DCVA at the end of last year. Today, he received the first Wiek van Gilst DCVA collaboration award from the current DCVA managing director, Jolien Roos-Hesselink. The aim of the award is to promote collaboration in the cardiovascular field to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease. The collaboration award will be awarded annually.

Top of the world
Hans Snijder, CEO at the Dutch Heart Foundation: “Professor Van Gilst has taken collaboration within cardiovascular research, between universities and between all kinds of disciplines, to a higher level. As a result, the joint effort to reduce cardiovascular disease is now more effective than before. Dutch research and care in this area can be counted among the best in the world.”


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