Willemijn is the New Zealand Obesity and Diabetes (NZOD) national coordinator for the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre (EDOR).
In this new role, Willemijn is establishing a nationwide network to improve collaboration and communication between groups and individuals involved in diabetes and obesity-related research, service, and advocacy in New Zealand.
Willemijn has a Bachelor degree in Health and Life Sciences from the VU University of Amsterdam. Her postgraduate degree is in ‘Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health & Life Sciences’, specializing in International Public Health.
In addition to her EDOR role, Willemijn works part-time within the Department of Medicine as a research administrator and provides research assistance work for the SNAP IT Study.
From evidence to action
Willemijn has a wide interest in international public health and development, with a focus on issues that pose particularly complex ethical, social, and cultural challenges. As a public health researcher, she is passionate about translating evidence-based public health research into policy:
“Although I truly enjoy performing research, I am even more interested in how we can translate research into policy. By combining these two interests, I hope I can make a difference for people.”
Before moving to New Zealand, Willemijn was employed as International Public Health consultant in her home-country, the Netherlands. She has also worked in South Africa where she performed research on sexuality education and sexual health services in public schools for UNICEF.
Willemijn also works a voluntary board member for the African Woman Foundation, a Dutch NGO that aims to improve maternal health and empower women through projects in Tanzania and Ghana.
Outside of work, Willemijn enjoys field hockey, running, yoga and walking her dog. She enjoys living in Dunedin and feels blessed with both the ocean and the mountains at her doorstep.