Willemijn Schäfer wins the CaRe Dissertation Award 2016

Willemijn Schäfer won the CaRe Dissertation Award with her PhD thesis 'Primary care in 34 countries: perspectives of general practitioners and their patients'. CaRe (the Netherlands School of Primary Care Research) annually awards this prize for the best PhD dissertation.

Willemijn Schäfer received the prize on May 19th during the national CaRe meeting in Maastricht. Because she currently lives and works in the United States, the prize was received on her behalf by her daily supervisor and co-supervisor Dr. Wienke Boerma.

Former NIVEL researcher Schäfer studied the organization of primary care in 31 European countries and three countries outside Europe. The study involved approximately 7,000 GPs and 70,000 patients. According to the jury, Willemijn Schäfer's research is socially relevant because it indicates important areas of improvement for the organization of primary care. The jury praised the extensive international data collection and the innovative data analyses used for the research.

Patient experiences of GP care
The former NIVEL researcher examined inter alia the experiences of patients with GPs in various areas such as accessibility of care and patients’ communication with their GP.

Patients in all countries assess the communication with their GP as ‘good’. In countries with better financial and economic conditions for primary care, such as higher relative expenses for primary care and better primary care coverage, patients appear to see have less room to further improve accessibility, continuity and breadth of primary care provision.

In addition, the breadth of the GPs’ task profile is also important. Patients who had visited GPs with a broader task profile reported better experiences with accessibility, continuity, comprehensive care and their involvement in decision making on treatments, according to Schäfer in the study for which she received her PhD on 23 November 2016 at Utrecht University.

CaRe Dissertation Award
This year, according to the jury of the prize, two candidates were equally good. The other prize winner is Annerika Slok (Caphri, Maastricht) with her dissertation 'Towards personalized management using the Assessment of Burden of COPD (ABC) tool'.

The CaRe research school is a collaboration of the research institutes Caphri (Care and Public Health Research Institute, University Maastricht), Amsterdam Public Health (VU and UvA, Amsterdam), NIVEL (Utrecht) and RIHS (Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Nijmegen) (www.