Jeanine Suurmond
Jeanine Suurmond

Jeanine Suurmond Appointed as Professor of Inclusive Person-Centered Care for Vulnerable Citizens

As of September 1, 2024, Jeanine Suurmond will be appointed as Professor of Inclusive Person-Centered Care for Vulnerable Citizens at Radboud university medical center / Radboud University. This chair is co-financed by Pharos, the expertise center for health disparities. Suurmond's chair focuses on improving access to care for people in more difficult-to-reach and vulnerable situations.

Lower educated people and people with low income live an average of five years less than those with higher education or income. Additionally, this first group typically becomes ill 14 years earlier due to conditions such as diabetes, lung diseases, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and depression. Furthermore, older adults with a migration background perceive their health as poorer compared to older adults with a Dutch background. These health disparities between citizens form the research area of Jeanine Suurmond, currently working at Amsterdam UMC. Starting September 1, she will serve as Professor of Inclusive Person-Centered Care for Vulnerable Citizens in the Department of Primary and Community Care at Radboudumc, collaborating with Pharos, the national expertise center on health disparities.

Jeanine Suurmond's work focuses on how health disparities can be reduced through more inclusive and person-centered care. Her research includes burn care and oncological and palliative care, as well as preventive care such as tuberculosis screening among asylum seekers and bowel cancer screening. ‘In these studies, we found that healthcare providers regularly encounter barriers affecting care, such as a patient not speaking Dutch well or cultural differences.’

Additionally, Suurmond observed that training for healthcare providers and culturally sensitive information for patients improve patient care. ‘Collaboration with the groups we aim to reach is crucial. These groups are often excluded from research because they do not speak Dutch or are distrustful of scientific research. Our research needs to be different, for instance, by working with bilingual researchers,’ says Suurmond. In the coming years, she will further investigate how care can be made more person-centered for people from vulnerable groups.

Livelihood security 

However, healthcare accounts for only about 10% of people's health. Significant health disparities among citizens mainly arise from differences in livelihood security and life conditions. Together with the research group Impuls, Suurmond is building on previously developed methods to support people in disadvantaged situations. She aims to enhance cooperation between healthcare providers and the social domain so that healthcare providers can call upon the appropriate help when needed. ‘Someone who visits the GP several times with headaches may have financial worries. In such a case, it is beneficial if the GP can easily involve social work.’

Education

Jeanine Suurmond teaches inclusive care to medical students, such as how to use an interpreter during a consultation. In Nijmegen, she will continue to develop this education, focusing on the role of biases and discrimination in diagnosis and treatment. ‘There is still a gap here. Think of a treatment not being given because a doctor thinks the patient won't understand it, or educational material showing Lyme disease on white skin but not on dark skin,’ says Suurmond. She also wants to explore how to teach students more about the impact of existential security and living conditions on health. She is considering opportunities for students to gain experience outside the hospital through community-based learning. ‘My mission is accomplished when diversity and health disparities are automatically considered in all areas of care and education.’

Career

Jeanine Suurmond studied Psychology at Utrecht University. She earned her PhD in 1998 with research on the argumentation about refugees and migrants in the Dutch media (dissertation title: ‘Limits to Boundaries: An Analysis of Public Debates about Refugees and Migrants in Terms of Care and Justice’). She then worked at Utrecht University. Since 2003, she has been working at Amsterdam UMC, first as a researcher and later as a principal investigator and associate professor. She is also a principal educator at Amsterdam UMC/University of Amsterdam in the field of diversity in education. Her appointment as professor in the Department of Primary and Community Care starts on September 1, 2024, for a period of five years.

Contact information

Organizational unit
Radboudumc
Theme
Society, Health & Healthcare