Sonja Kersten has a background in medical biology. After her studies, she went to Zimbabwe as a volunteer for a local HIV-aids prevention campaign. Back in the Netherlands, she started a PhD in oncological cell biology at the University of Utrecht.
In 2001 she started her career at the Association of Comprehensive Cancer Centres (VIKC, nowadays called IKNL) as a staff member to link the guideline and cancer registry departments. Later, as a national guideline coordinator and head of the guideline department, Sonja has put great effort in continuous improvement of guideline development. She directed the transformation that all guideline developing organisations have gone through the past decade: a shift from local to national, from consensus to evidence, from mono- to multidisciplinary guidelines.
She was a project manager for Oncoline (www.oncoline.nl), the Dutch database for oncological guidelines, which forms the basis for a national medical specialists guideline database. As a task force leader for the EC funded project CoCanCPG (coordination of cancer clinical practice guidelines) she worked on reducing duplication of effort between European guideline developers. In addition, she established a longterm collaboration between European partners: IKNL, KCE and SIGN. Sonja became director of quality improvement and later on director of oncology care at IKNL.
Sonja changed jobs October 2015. She now is Director of the Dutch Nurses Association (V&VN). This professional association has over 70,000 members. Sonja aims to assist nurses and caregivers in the Netherlands to be proud, passionate and professional about their profession. She represents the profession at the Ministry of Health, politics, stakeholders and relevant partners. Thus firmly echoing the voice of all nurses and caregivers in the Netherlands. Nurses have been participating in multidisciplinary guideline development for years, now they have the opportunity to develop their own quality statements to improve nursing sensitive care. V&VN has recently become an organisational member of G-I-N.
Sonja has visited most of the G-I-N meetings as a presenter of guideline related topics like (amongst others) patient participation, reducing duplication of effort, grading the evidence and fast track guideline development. Sonja has been a board member of G-I-N since 2013.
Vision for G-I-N over the next 5 years
- to encourage and facilitate international collaboration on guideline development
- to harmonise methods for guideline development, implementation and evaluation on an international level
- to create a framework for sharing evidence and knowledge on cost effectiveness and budget impact
- analysis, since many of us seem to face similar problems in incorporating these topics into our guidelines
- to create an international database for gaps in knowledge, to direct the research agenda and be part of the creation of new evidence
- to focus on shared decision making by inviting more patients to the G-I-N-communities, activities and meetings