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Reappointment Henk Nies as endowed professor

4 May 2022
Henk Nies has been reappointed as endowed professor Organisation and Policy of Health Care. This chair is established by Vilans, a knowledge organisation for care and support, and is based at the Faculty of Social Sciences of VU Amsterdam, in the Department of Organization Sciences.

Henk Nies works as Director of Strategy and Development at Vilans and has been endowed professor at VU Amsterdam for the past ten years. He has now been reappointed to this chair for the coming year and a half, until July 2023. Nies: "The purpose of this extension is to continue research into learning and improvement in long-term care. It is very important that not only staff, but also relatives of vulnerable clients receive good support, and that care organisations facilitate this. This is where Vilans and my colleagues at VU meet. We therefore also want to further shape the collaboration between Vilans and VU. We are using this time to prepare a renewed chair for my successor.” Nies is therefore very happy with the reappointment. "I look forward to continuing the cooperation between Vilans and VU, as we continue to make each other a lot wiser.”

Nies his career has been marked by the interplay between practice, policy and research and he has always worked on this interface. At VU Amsterdam, he was able to set up a team with the Department of Organization Sciences that conducts research into the organisation of care, equipping caregivers and the cooperation between education and the practice of care, among other things. "For example, we studied the interaction between carers, family and clients on a ward for people with dementia in a nursing home," says Nies. "But also how a small village in Groningen tried to take over responsibility for local care services. It became clear how complicated the interaction is between professional organisations and care workers on the one hand, and initiatives from society on the other."

The human aspect of his work remains the main motivation for Nies. "What drives me is that people who need long-term care, with complex problems, with physical or cognitive limitations, can live a good life. Policy does not stand alone, it has to lead somewhere, and you can sometimes forget that when you are in the middle of it. I keep on asking myself: am I still contributing to a dignified life for people who need care?"

"It is fantastic that we can continue to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of Henk Nies,” says Sierk Ybema, head of the Department of Organization Sciences at VU Amsterdam. "In recent years he has been an enormous stimulus for care research in the Department of Organization Sciences and within the Faculty of Social Sciences. Henk is a very pleasant colleague to work with and time and again his wide network and long experience come in handy when starting, carrying out and supervising research. He knows the field 'from the inside' and at the same time looks at it from a sharp outsider's perspective."

Mirella Minkman, chair of the Executive Board of Vilans: "Henk is of course an authority in his field. It is valuable that Henk can continue to hold this chair, and in doing so we as Vilans and Vu can also carefully ensure his succession. We will be saying goodbye to Henk this summer in connection with his retirement, but this link between science and questions of practitioners is already a wonderful legacy".