Prof. Irma M. Verdonck-de Leeuw, PhD
Psychologist, Speech & Language Therapist, Linguist
VU Faculty of Psychology and Education
Outpatient Clinic, Room 2Z118
Irma Verdonck-de Leeuw (1963) graduated as psychologist, speech pathologist, and linguist. She is professor at the Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery of VU University Medical Center (VUmc) / Cancer Center Amsterdam, and the Department of Clinical Psychology of VU University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She holds the chair “Living with Cancer: innovative care programs and e-health” established by the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF) / Alpe d’HuZes Foundation. She is chair of the interinstitutional research program “Quality of life in Cancer and Immunology” of VUmc Research Institutes: CCA/V-ICI and EMGO+.
Her research comprises four main topics: 1) Quality of life and psycho-oncology in cancer patients and their families, 2) Supportive care: the prevention and management of adverse effects of cancer and its treatment from diagnosis through anticancer treatment to post-treatment and palliative care 3) Predictive modelling: quality of life in relation to biomarkers and survival, and 4) Voice, speech, swallowing, and oral function.
The main aim is to generate knowledge on quality of life issues and psycho-oncology in cancer patients and their relatives and to assess cost-efficacy of supportive cancer care. Cohort studies focus on the impact of cancer on quality of life in relation to a broad perspective of possible moderators and mediators such as sociodemography, comorbidity, coping style, lifestyle, and tumour and treatment related aspects. Several randomised controlled trials are ongoing on cost-effectiveness of psychosocial care, allied health services, and (stepped) care programmes. A special focus is on patient empowerment and information technology to improve the efficiency of supportive care.
Irma Verdonck-de Leeuw supervises postdoc researchers and PhD students and is (co-)author of more than 100 peer reviewed papers, chapters, reports and professional publications on quality of life, psycho-oncology, and voice, speech, and swallowing function in cancer patients. She obtained grants from the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF), Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), health care insurance companies, and others. She is co-chair of the Study Group Rehabilitation and Cancer Survivorship of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC), member of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) and the International Psychosocial Oncology Society (IPOS), member of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Group, and Dutch Committee Member of the European COST 2103 project. She was board member of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) from 2004-2010.
She is board member of the Dutch Breast Cancer Society and member of the Advisory Board of the patient societies “Stichting Klankbord” (patients with head and neck cancer) and “Stichting Olijf” (patients with cancer of the female productive organs). She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and was treated with surgery, radiation, chemo-, and hormone therapy. She is married and has two (twin) sons.