My research focuses on cardiac rehabilitation and is performed in close collaboration with Capri Cardiac Rehabilitation, one of the largest cardiac rehabilitation centers of the Netherlands.
Cardiac rehabilitation programs focus on secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease through lifestyle modification. Available studies provide convincing evidence that the estimated effects of lifestyle modification on CVD mortality are comparable to the effects of cardioprotective drugs. Nevertheless, outcomes with regard to lifestyle modification are suboptimal. The aim of my research is to unravel how we can motivate cardiac patients to adopt a healthy lifestyle (with a focus on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep) and thereby improve their cardiovascular health and quality of life. I am mainly interested in research which can lead to direct implementation in daily practice.
This is what I am most proud of
I am proud on the progress we made in our research. We successfully started collaborations with several partners (among which Maxima Medical Centre, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Technical University of Delft) and completed the data collection of three large research projects (including one RCT and two multicenter projects).
One of our projects resulted in a validated questionnaire (TSK-NL Heart) to measure kinesiophobia in cardiac patients. A license agreement to use this questionnaire was signed by three electronic health record suppliers. Another milestone was reaching the final interview round of the Dekker personal postdoc grant in 2020 with a research proposal focused on sleep and cardiac rehabilitation. After positive judgements of my CV (good to excellent) and research proposal (good to excellent), I was invited to resubmit my proposal in 2021. Last, I represented the postdocs in the scientific staff of the department as a “linking pin” and laid the foundation for closing the gap between postdocs and senior staff.
Milestones for the coming 2 years
- First PhD-student supervised by me (I. den Uijl; Opticare-XL; effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a novel tailor-made cardiac rehabilitation program) will defend her thesis.
- Publish results of three projects and implement outcomes in cardiac rehabilitation: 1. OPTICARE XL: effectiveness of a tailor-made cardiac rehabilitation program for obese patients 2. OPTICARE-M/F: sex differences in outcomes of cardiac rehabilitation 3. Kinesiophobia in cardiac rehabilitation: validity and responsiveness of the Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia (TSK-NL Heart).
- Writing a vision on future research and further expanding our research on cardiac rehabilitation by obtaining funding to investigate how sleep should be targeted during cardiac rehabilitation.