Interview with: Lotte Haverman, PhD
Emma Children’s Hospital, Amsterdam University Medical Centers

Lotte Haverman, PhD, has been active in ISOQOL since 2011 and most recently served on the ISOQOL Board of Directors from 2020 to 2023. With her term as a Director-at-Large having concluded following the Annual Conference in October, ISOQOL would like to thank Dr. Haverman for her involvement and dedication to the Society.

In an interview with QualityTALK, the departing Director-at-Large talks about her experience with the Society and lets members get to know her better.

Can you tell a little about your journey to becoming an ISOQOL board member?

Lotte Haverman (LH): My first conference ever, was the ISOQOL conference. It took place in New Orleans in 2009. The conference made me enthusiastic for HRQL research, and of course for becoming an ISOQOL member. The conference itself was truly great, and I really enjoyed the closing Halloween party.

However, I believe that my ISOQOL journey started in Denver for real. I met ISOQOL colleagues, who are now friends, and from that conference onwards, I started to be more involved in ISOQOL.

I chaired the QOL in Clinical Practice (CP) SIG, participated in the committee to evaluate abstracts, joined as a mentor, and co-chaired the 2020 Annual Conference (which ended up online due to COVID). Subsequently, I was invited to apply for the position on the board.

What does serving on the ISOQOL Board of Directors mean to you?

LH: Being part of the ISOQOL board was a pleasure. It was an enriching experience to be surrounded by people being so passionate about advancing the field, and the learning opportunities were invaluable. The experience greatly contributed to both my personal and professional development. During the challenging times of COVID, and with the task of establishing new strategies, I hope that my contributions have set a small step in the future development of ISOQOL.

What is your favorite thing about ISOQOL?

LH: In my view, one of the most enjoyable aspects of ISOQOL is the open communication channels. As a PhD student, it is not only feasible but also encouraged to pose questions to professors, get involved in meaningful conversations with mentors, and immerse oneself in experiences within Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Additionally, the opportunity to enhance one’s knowledge through workshops adds another valuable dimension to the overall ISOQOL experience.

The development of young researchers is truly central. I have been fortunate to benefit from this, and now that I am a little further in my career, I hope to be able to do the same for new researchers.

What does being an ISOQOL member mean to you?

LH: ISOQOL provided me with a number of crucial elements in my work. I acquired a lot of knowledge, learnt from others’ experiences, gained inspiration for new research ideas, and, just as important, I met some incredibly fun and amazing people. Also, I developed important mentor relationships and connected with new partners to collaborate with. These collaborations ended up in several workshops during the annual conference, papers and online symposia. Therefore, I actively encourage PhD students and post-docs to make the most of what ISOQOL has to offer and actively engage and participate.

Why did you join ISOQOL?

LH: For my research group, ISOQOL stands out as the sole conference that perfectly aligns with our focus. It centers on the measurement of outcomes related to HRQL (Health Related Quality of Life), the validation and standardization of questionnaires, and the efficient implementation of these tools in clinical practice. Consequently, attending ISOQOL has proven to be a well-founded decision for us.

What do you love most about HRQL research?

LH: I consider it of critical importance that patients directly benefit from completing questionnaires. That’s why I focus on the optimal implementation of PROMs. This involves various domains: hospitals need to support the use, healthcare professionals must comprehend and discuss the outcomes, patients should understand the reasons for completing the questionnaires, and the results should be interpretable for patients as well as health care providers. Moreover, the PROMs need to be comprehensible for all patients. The implementation is a challenging process where collaboration between different experts is crucial.

I really enjoy being challenged and like to collaborate, so this is why I love this area of research.

What’s your biggest (or one of your biggest) professional accomplishment(s) so far?

LH: Last year, I received a personal grant from the Dutch Government to adapt and implement the PROMIS item banks to meet the needs of specific vulnerable patient groups: patients with low literacy and/or insufficient knowledge of the Dutch language and on patients with speech and motor impairments due to their medical condition.

 What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

LH: The most valuable research ideas emerge during networking events.

What’s one thing – either industry-related or not – you learned in the last month?

LH: That it is challenging to get back on track after maternity leave….My mailbox exploded.

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?

LH: I love cruising around Amsterdam’s center with my two kids in the cargo bike, enjoying the canals and parks. Ultimately, concluding the day by relaxing on a terrace in the sun is the best.

Is there anything else you would like to share with ISOQOL membership (e.g., current projects you are working on)? 

LH: Our work is important for patients and their caregivers, and a crucial aspect to improve patient centered care. I think it should be our mission to educate healthcare professionals, policymakers, and hospital boards that evaluating the patient’s well-being is crucial. In clinical care as well as clinical trials. So, let’s share our knowledge and ensure that valorization of our expertise remains a key focus.

This newsletter editorial represents the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ISOQOL. 

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The International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL) is a global community of researchers, clinicians, health care professionals, industry professionals, consultants, and patient research partners advancing health related quality of life research (HRQL).

Together, we are creating a future in which patient perspective is integral to health research, care and policy.