Prof. Michèle van Vugt delivers ‘tropical frenzy’ inaugural lecture

As the expression goes, you can take the woman out of the tropics, but you can’t take the passion for the tropics out of the woman. Internal Medicine Prof. Michèle van Vugt is proof.

On September 28, 2018, she delivered her inaugural lecture at the Aula University of Amsterdam.

The Dutch title of her lecture was Tropenkolder, loosely translated to ‘tropical frenzy’ in English.

The focus of her lecture is no coincidence: her passion for the field began as a child growing up in the tropics. Since then, she has consistently focused on tropical medicine, specifically around building health care capacity, improving local health systems and malaria resistance. After completing her medical training, she worked as a doctor in refugee camps in Thailand while completing her PhD. Her thesis highlighted a new drug combination for resistant malaria, which became first-line treatment in Africa where it remains so today.

Prof. van Vugt’s research focuses on using a community-centred, multidisciplinary approach to make high quality care the norm.

“I truly believe that in order to deliver high quality care, the end user needs to be involved in the decision-making – patients, registrars, clinicians, policy makers, governments and communities.”

Prof. van Vugt moved back to The Netherlands with her family in 2005 and works at the Amsterdam UMC as an epidemiologist and internist specialized in infectious diseases.

She continues to collaborate with the AIGHD team on a number of research and education projects including delivering curriculum as part of the clinical infectious disease course in the Bachelor of Medicine program.

“It’s very stimulating to work with AIGHD from both the epidemiology side and clinical side,” she said, speaking to the diversity of the team that comes together on projects. “I think we all learn from each other every time we collaborate because we come from different disciplines and worlds.”

Please join the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development in congratulating our colleague Prof. van Vugt for this significant accomplishment in her career.