I grew up in the Netherlands and trained as a medical doctor. I then did a PhD in public health, as I have always had a keen interest in investigating the circumstances in which people live and the impact this has on their health.
I joined the team at Cancer Council NSW at the start of 2017, and my work now focuses on cancer prevention. I look at the main cancer risk factors – dietary factors as well as tobacco, alcohol, obesity and physical activity – from an economic perspective. At Cancer Council NSW, we are finding the most cost-effective ways of reducing the burden of cancer in Australia.
What if we put more tax on sugary drinks? What if we limit advertising for unhealthy foods, and better inform people about lifestyle risks? These are just some of the questions we try to answer.
Recently we have looked into a tax on sugary drinks and the impact this would have on health. Sugar consumption is way too high and is becoming a bigger focus around the world – a sugar tax has now been adopted in many countries including Mexico, the United Kingdom and South Africa.
Our work is closely linked to policy. The information we gather can feed into Cancer Council NSW’s advocacy work to bring about change. Our research also helps determine where we should invest our money to prevent the most cases of cancer, and this aligns well with our path to a cancer-free future.