Featured Doctor

VAN WEEL, Prof Chris : WONCA President 2007-2010

Netherlands - WONCA leader

Prof Chris van Weel wrote this in mid 2012 reflecting on life after WONCA and life to come

Life after WONCA ..

It is now nearly two years after the end of my term as president, that wonderful ceremony in Cancun. And in line with the WONCA bylaws, more than a year now, I have been out of the Executive. Is there ‘life after WONCA’? Certainly there is.

My main focus is on my leadership of the Department of Primary and Community Care, in Nijmegen. The Department is testimony of the prominence primary care has gained in the medical curriculum – we are the largest teaching department in the medical school. To my delight the Department’s research is also maintaining its position. In a recent external audit, it got the highest marks on all relevant aspects of research quality. And with three residency training programs (family medicine, occupational health and the specialty medicine for the elderly) the Department has the largest output of specialists.

All this is exciting work, particularly with the large network of practices, nursing homes and other primary care institutions in the region. Since a number of years, I lead an innovation program, to use this community based network, to connect to the medical school and its hospital departments: the Lead Practices Program, which explores possibilities to connect better primary care and hospitals, public health and individual care, mental health and physical health, health and wellbeing. This should open the opportunity of the medical school to better respond to the actual needs of the population.

This is in fact my ‘last post’, as at the end of the year (2012) my term as head of department will come to an end. After more than 27 years at the university (of which 25 as head of department) this will herald quite a change. Time for travel again; time for longer visits to the many exciting places around the world where primary care is developing. I hope it would be possible to play a role in that context. Because, there is no life after WONCA – there is only life with WONCA and with the international movement of primary care.

 Prof Chris van Weel's final days as President of WONCA, May 2010