Inaugural Lecture Prof. dr. Veerle Coupé

13 February 2024

As of July 1, 2023, Veerle Coupé has been appointed professor of 'Medical decision making in cancer care and prevention'. Professor Coupe's primary objective is to enhance decision-making processes related to cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as to refine strategies for cancer prevention. Scheduled for March 8, 2024, at 3:45 PM in the Aula of the VU main building, her inaugural lecture entitled ‘Models in Cancer Care and Prevention: Exploring Idealism, Pragmatism, and Optimism’ marks a significant milestone.

The societal importance of optimizing cancer treatment and prevention is large. With an aging population, the number of yearly cancer diagnoses is increasing. Moreover, in the last 20 years, diagnostic and treatment options for cancer have tremendously increased. But these innovations are costly, causing cancer care to become unaffordable. How can we optimally spend the limited healthcare budget in order to achieve maximum health benefits? Prof. Coupé addresses this question using mathematical modeling, with the aim of providing guidance for an efficient and affordable healthcare system.

Mathematical modeling allows for the integration of all relevant aspects of a decision problem, that is, underlying biological processes, preventive measures, the care pathway, clinical outcomes, quality of life and healthcare costs in one comprehensive disease model. Using such models, predictions are made of the
long-term health and economic impact of various decision options, such as different selection criteria for prescribing a specific systemic therapy. Mathematical modeling supports recommendations for medical guidelines and policy regarding (cost-)effective care. But when is a model a good representation of a disease process, such that it can be a trustworthy basis for decisions? What should everyone know about modeling in order to critically judge the generated evidence and more effectively use the insights gained from models?

These questions will be adressed in Professor Coupé’s inaugural lecture. Preceding the lecture, a symposium titled ‘From Modeling to Decision Making in Healthcare and Prevention’ will take place between 10:30 AM and 3:00 PM at De Veranda, 1081 JK Amsterdam. Interested individuals can access the symposium program and registration details here