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Liesbeth van Vliet honoured with Heineken Young Scientists Award

Leiden health psychologist Liesbeth Van Vliet receives recognition for her research on doctor-patient communication and its influence on quality of healthcare. Van Vliet has been awarded one of four Heineken Young Scientists Award 2022 for promising young researchers working in the Netherlands.

Better communication between doctor and patient

The jury praised her important contribution to improving the quality of healthcare for seriously ill patients, thanks to better communication between doctor and patient. Van Vliet’s research into how communication can help and harm patients shows a valuable translation between research and society. Van Vliet: ‘In addition to high quality medical care, there is a need for excellent information and emotional support for seriously ill patients and their relatives.’

Liesbeth van Vliet has been awarded the Heineken Young Scientists Award 2022 in the field of Social Sciences.

About the research

Van Vliet studies forms of communication that make patients feel better, e.g., experiencing less stress and better remembering information, or feel worse when confronted with a serious illness. She is at the cutting edge of health communication, palliative care, and placebo and nocebo effects. In the laboratory, for example, she uses video vignettes to study the effects of certain ways of communicating. She also uses observational research in the medical office to look at the specific elements of communication and how they relate to patient outcomes. For example, one of her analyses shows that terminally ill patients feel better under the care of more empathic doctors, and that they also remember more of a conversation with this type of doctor. This makes Van Vliet a versatile researcher who not only seeks answers to fundamental questions, but also knows how to translate the results into practice.

Putting knowledge into practice

The jury admires the way in which Van Vliet actively engages in outreach. She regularly appears in newspapers and magazines, presents her work for professionals and other interested parties, and organises scientific events for a wide audience. Her work is also included in clinical bad-news guidelines and is thus directly applied in the consulting room on a daily basis. With her work, Van Vliet makes an important contribution to improving the quality of care for seriously ill patients.

2022 Award Ceremony

The award in the field of Social Sciences is part of a total of four Heineken Young Scientists Awards and six Heineken Prizes for Art and Science, which will be presented at a celebratory event at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam on Thursday 29 September.

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