Skip to main content


Hanne Bakelants

Hanne Bakelants

Hanne Bakelants first started a course in pedagogical sciences at KU Leuven. She specialised in education and training sciences. Together with other researchers, she had the opportunity to further develop and publish my thesis, 'The governance of equity funding schemes for disadvantaged schools: lessons from national case studies'. After this, Hanne followed the master's programme in Globalisation and Development Studies at Maastricht University. Subsequently, on 1 October 2020, Hanne started her doctorate at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in social health sciences around the theme 'Compassionate VUB'. 


Liesbeth De Donder

Liesbeth De DonderLiesbeth De Donder is Professor Adult Educational Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel where she teaches the course “Civil Society and Community Development” and three courses on “Research Methodology”. Her research focuses on social participation and inclusion of older adults, active caring communities, with a particular interest in participatory methodologies (peer-research, co-construction and action research). She is promotor of the Compassionate Communities Centre of Expertise and coordinates the research line “Community Development and Change” in the research group Belgian Ageing Studies. 

Andrea Grindrod

Andrea GrindrodDr Andrea Grindrod is a Senior Research Fellow and the Projects Manager at La Trobe University's Public Health Palliative Care Unit. Combining research and practice, she uses a systems approach to build capacity that produces sustainable changes in public health settings. Her evidence-based practice frameworks link this new capacity with health and palliative care service systems. Her PhD explored the use of evidence-informed public health strategies to understand how population-based public health palliative care practice might be enhanced and implemented in varied settings with diverse populations. Andrea is the developer of the Healthy End of Life Program (HELP), a health promotion practice and evaluation framework featured in the World Health Organizations Global Atlas of Palliative Care in 2020, which is used across a variety of settings throughout Australia and internationally. She has over 20 years’ experience in the public health field, is a member of the National Expert Advisory Panel for Palliative Care Australia and a council member of Public Health Palliative Care International.

Max Kleijberg

Max Kleijberg

Max Kleijberg is a designer and postdoctoral researcher with a doctoral degree in medical science from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. He also works as regional expert in cancer care equity at the Regional Cancer Centre Stockholm-Gotland. His research takes a transdisciplinary approach to issues related to health equity, aging, severe illness, and the end-of-life. Through participatory action research he partners with community stakeholders to collaboratively develop knowledge and create meaningful change. His ongoing research addresses cancer disparities among ethnically diverse people in Sweden, and health equity for LGBTQ+ people in relation to aging, severe illness and the end-of-life.

More information will follow soon!

Please contact:

Joachim Cohen

Joachim Cohen

Prof. Joachim Cohen is a social health scientist and a professor of the End-of-Life Care Research Group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
In the research group he is chairing a research program public health and palliative care.
He graduated in 2001 as a Master in Sociology and in 2007 as a PhD in Social Health Sciences.
His research has been awarded with the Kubler Ross Award for Young Researchers and the Young Investigator Award from the European Association of Palliative Care 2010. Both prizes were awarded to him, mainly because of his large-scale population-based and population-level cross-national research on end-of-life care.
Prof. Cohen has published over 150 articles in international peer reviewed journals, co-edited the Oxford University Press book: “A public health perspective on end of life care”.

Marijke Dheedene

Marijke DheedeneMarijke Dheedene joined the End-of-Life Care Research Group in September 2020 as coordinator communication and valorisation. Before, she worked in various communication roles at private companies and in public organisations. She obtained two professional bachelors, secondary school teacher (Dutch, geography and history) and journalism at Artevelde Hogeschool Ghent, and a master in political science, at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).  

Mary Hodgson

Mary HodgsonMary Hodgson is Community Action Lead at St Christopher’s Hospice, London, UK. Mary is an experienced researcher and community practitioner, and has mainly worked in the field of inequalities, campaigning and community based change and innovation. Mary has a PhD in Anthropology which explored citizens perceptions of inequality and rights. She also has a Masters in Research exploring the ethics of knowledge production and an MA exploring the use of media for social change.

Agnes van der Heide

Agnes van der HeideAgnes van der Heide is professor in End-of-life care and decision making at the department of Public Health of Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She was trained as a medical doctor and epidemiologist and has been involved in research on the field of end-of-life care and decision making since 1995. She is interested in public health, clinical and ethical aspects. Topics she has been studying include physician-assistance in dying and other end-of-life decisions, shared decision making and advance care planning, and organisation of palliative care. She has performed qualitative and quantitative studies on the local, national and international level.