Dr. Carlijn Kamphuis

Dr. Carlijn Kamphuis

Universitair hoofddocent
Interdisciplinaire sociale wetenschap
030 253 7143

Carlijn Kamphuis is gezondheidswetenschapper en onderzoeker naar gezondheidsongelijkheid. Zij is als universitair hoofddocent Public Health (met ius promovendi) verbonden aan de afdeling Interdisciplinaire Sociale Wetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht. Met haar onderzoek wil ze zicht krijgen op de fysieke, sociaal-culturele, institutionele en beleidsgerelateerde omgevingsfactoren die bijdragen aan de grote ongelijkheid in (gezonde) levensverwachting tussen sociaal-economische groepen in Nederland. Zij past systeem denken toe (vanuit de theorie van complex adaptive systems) om zicht te krijgen op de complexe, interacterende dynamieken en mechanismen tusssen al deze factoren. In haar onderzoek werkt ze samen met o.a. beleidsmedewerkers en mensen met ervaringskennis en hoopt ze bij te dragen aan beleid en maatregelen om sociaal-economische gezondheidsverschillen in Nederland te verkleinen. Een aantal lopende projecten staan hieronder beschreven.

Dr. Carlijn Kamphuis is a health scientist by training and appointed as Associate Professor of Public Health (with IUS promovendi) at the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science of Utrecht University. With her research, she aims to increase our understanding of how physical, socio-cultural, institutional and policy-environmental factors contribute to socioeconomic inequalities in health. She applies systems thinking (based on the theory of complex adaptive systems) to gain insight into the complex, interacting dynamics and mechanisms between all these factors. In her research she collaborates with policy makers and people with experiential knowledge, and hopes to contribute to policies and measures to reduce socio-economic health inequalities in the Netherlands. Some of her current research projects include:

-        Minding the Gap (2023-2028; NWA project - funded by ZonMw/NWO). In Minding the Gap, Carlijn Kamphuis and prof. Gonneke Stevens lead a large consortium that aims to investigate the complex links between childhood poverty and mental health,  in order to develop system-based actions to improve mental health. Youth growing up in poverty have an increased risk for poor mental health due to multiple, interacting, poverty-related psychological, social, physical and economic circumstances. Most mental health promotion strategies disregard this complexity of risk factors and solely apply individual-level interventions. To realize a breakthrough in youth mental health promotion, we apply the complex adaptive systems theory to 1) gain insight into the complex, multi-layered processes and crucial elements in the system leading to poor mental health among youth growing up in poverty, and 2) to develop a systems-based, integral approach to improve their mental health. Throughout this participatory research project, we intensively collaborate with youth, parents, professionals and policymakers.

-       VIDI “Socioeconomic inequalities in health & health-behaviours – a systems approach” (2019-2024; funded by NWO). The overall aim of this Vidi-project is to understand how multiple, time-varying, interlinked environmental conditions, in interaction with individual factors, contribute to socioeconomic inequalities in health and health-behaviours, by applying a systems thinking approach. First papers came out mid 2021 and early 2022. One paper focuses on socioeconomic inequalities in health-behaviours and explores various mediation pathways through material conditions and time orientation using sequential mediation analysis. Another paper explores to what extent pressing issues, like financial concerns, outweigh the importance people attach to health, and whether this differs between socioeconomic groups. Recently, a systematic scoping review has been published showing the current state of complex systems research on socioeconomic inequalities in health and health behavior.

-      Advisory board of people with experiential knowledge (funded by seed money of Utrecht University).  The importance of experiential expertise and lay wisdom for social scientific research is increasingly recognised. From a wish to more frequently collaborate and interact with people their research concerns, Carlijn Kamphuis, Jantien van Berkel and Sanne Verra initiated an advisory board of people who know what it is like to live with socioeconomic insecurity, e.g. having little money or inadequate housing. We meet with this board about every 6 weeks. Topics to discuss during meetings are broad up by advisory board members or researchers. Topics we have discussed are for instance: how to recruit participants for a qualitative interview stud; how to involve people with experiental knowledge in the teaching of our bachelor and master course; interpretation of interview transcripts; what type of policies could help reduce health inequalities. Recently, an article about our advisory board has been published in Sociale Vraagstukken (in Dutch only).

-       Iedereen een Gezonde LeefOmgeving in Utrecht (IGLO) (2018-2022; funded by ZonMw). Within the IGLO consortium, there is a close collaboration between research and practise. Researchers from the UU, UMC, and Hogeschool Utrecht collaborate with the municipality of Utrecht and professionals working in the deprived neighbourhood of Overvecht (Utrecht) in order to evaluate the mechanisms via which selected interventions planned in Overvecht may impact the health and wellbeing of residents. Kamphuis is work package leader of WP1 and involved in the development of a conceptual, systemic models that visualizes how 'holistic housing renovation' affects the health of residents of Overvecht. Holistic housing renovation combines the physical renovation of social housing with interventions aiming to improve other life domains (e.g. financial situation, social network). The conceptual systems model will visualize how holistic housing renovation, via various mechanisms and feedback loops, may impact on the health and wellbeing of residents. This is a short video about holistic housing renovation (in Dutch). We recently published a realist review into the mechanisms linking holistic housing renovations to health and well-being of adults in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Papers about the conceptual systems model and about a qualitative interview study with residents and professionals in Overvecht are expected to come out in 2024.

-       Policy Evaluation Network (PEN) (2019-2022; funded by ZonMw and the Joint Programming Initiative: a Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life) (https://www.jpi-pen.eu/) The aim of PEN is to evaluate policy measures to promote a healthy diet and physical activity in terms of their content, implementation and effectiveness. As part of PEN, 28 research institutes in seven European countries and New Zealand collaborate within seven workpackages (WP). Kamphuis is leader of WP6, which focuses on the evaluations of the implementation and impact of three selected policies. Several papers on the acceptability and potential impacts of a Dutch sugar-sweetened beverages tax scheme came forth. As part of WP5, a systematic review was undertaken in order to develop  a conceptual systems model visualising the dynamics of the complex food environment underlying dietary intake in low-income groups. As part of WP1, studies were undertaken to assess the implementation of policies influencing food environments by the Dutch government, as well as by the European Union. The report on Dutch food environment policies was published in January 2021 (Food-EPI NL-report 2021) and the report on EU policies in March 2021 (Food-EPI EU-report 2021). Kamphuis took the lead in the development of a framework to guide research into policies promoting physical activity and healthy diets: the system-based PEN framework.

Kamphuis received her PhD in 2008 at the Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, which was awarded the Dutch Public Health prize. In 2016, she received the L’Oréal UNESCO For Women in Science award, which allowed her to work and study at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studiy (NIAS) in Amsterdam for five months. In 2018, she won a VIDI grant to study socioeconomic inequalities in health from a systems perspective. Kamphuis published >100 publications, including >85 international peer-reviewed articles, and contributions to several books and governmental reports.

Profile on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlijnkamphuis