I am a senior researcher at NIDI, Honorary Professor in Mortality and Longevity at the University of Groningen, and principal investigator of the Future Longevity Inequalities project. I will lead the project, and serve as the main supervisor of the PhD students. The project fits within my overall research programme on mortality, which is at the interplay of demography, epidemiology, and population health. In my work, I focus on discerning the effects of health-related lifestyle factors (smoking, alcohol, obesity) in shaping mortality inequalities and mortality trends in Europe, and to advance traditional mortality forecasts by incorporating these effects. In 2018, I received the European Demographer Award for my work. I am very excited to tackle, within the current project, an important – conceptually and methodology challenging – omission in both the socio-economic health inequalities field and the mortality forecasting field: that of forecasting socio-economic longevity inequalities.
Wanda Van Hemelrijck
I started working on the Future Longevity Inequalities research project at NIDI in January 2021. My research within the project is situated at the intersection of demography, sociology, and public health. Specifically, I focus on the role of smoking on past trends in socio-economic longevity inequalities; on the drivers of past trends in socio-economic inequalities in non-lifestyle related mortality; and on the susceptibility of lifestyle- and non-lifestyle related mortality inequalities to policy interventions. In addition I will co-supervise the two PhD students on the project. Prior to joining this project I wrote my dissertation at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) about Cancer by Migrant Background in Belgium as a joint degree with the University of Groningen. Before that I performed research on the Health Interview Survey and European morbidity statistics at Sciensano (formerly the Belgian Scientific Institute of Public Health). I hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Sociology from VUB, and a Master’s degree in European Public Health from Maastricht University.
October 2020, I started as a PhD student at NIDI on the Future Longevity Inequalities research project. In my PhD research I adopt a demographic approach to the study of past trends in socio-economic longevity inequalities. This entails the detailed study of these past trends; the examination of the role of alcohol, and the combined role of alcohol, smoking and obesity on these past trends; and the consequences of these past trends on improvements over time in life expectancy. Before joining the Future Longevity Inequalities research project I have attended the European Doctoral School of Demography (EDSD) in Rostock and Barcelona, and worked for the Mexico City government on poverty and inequality related issues. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Guadalajara, and a Master’s degree in Population Studies from El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, both from Mexico.
In November 2020, I joined the Future Longevity Inequalities research project as a PhD student at NIDI. My PhD project examines the past and future progression of the obesity epidemic across socio-economic groups in Europe, its impact on trends in socio-economic inequalities in mortality, and its modifiability by policy. I have obtained a Master’s degree in Global Health and Development from University College London and a Bachelor’s degree in the Liberal Arts and Sciences with a major in Public Health from Amsterdam University College (UCL). In my prior academic work at the Athena Institute – Free University Amsterdam and UCL, I have taken an interdisciplinary approach to the global burden of non-communicable diseases, socio-economic inequalities, and healthcare.
Another Postdoctoral researcher (3 years, 1.0 FTE) will start around the end of the second year / beginning of the third year of the project (around September 2022), and will mainly work on the mortality modelling and forecasting part. We hope to be able to hire someone with advanced technical knowhow regarding mortality modelling and forecasting.