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Short biography

I currently work as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Health Sciences at the VU University, on (the methodology of) economic evaluations of health and social care for older adults. 

In 2008 I obtained an MSc in Communication Studies (Cum Laude) at the University of Twente in Enschede. During my study I focused mainly on health communication and patient education. In 2010 I obtained my MSc in Epidemiology (Cum Laude) at the Research Master’s program Lifestyle and Chronic Disorders at the Department of Health Science at the VU University in Amsterdam. 

From 2010-2014 I worked on my PhD project at the Department of General Practice and Elderly Care Medicine, EMGO+ Institute, VU University Medical Centre. This project focused on the economic evaluation of an integrated care model for frail older adults living at home, as part of the ACT study. Next to that I evaluated the measurement properties of quality of life instruments for economic evaluations of care for older adults. As part of my PhD project I visited the ASCOT team at the PSSRU at the University of Kent for three months in 2012. In May 2015 I successfully defended my thesis entitled ‘Integrated care and quality of life of frail older adults. How can we measure what we aim to improve?’.


I am currently involved in two research projects:

  • the ASCOT-NL project, in which we will develop a Dutch version of the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT). This instrument was developed in England and aims to measure and value quality of life as outcome of social care. We aim to adapt the English instrument for the use of economic evaluations, allocation decisions and quality improvement of care services for older adults living at home in the Netherlands. The ASCOT-NL project consists of three phases with the aim: 1) to develop the Dutch version of the ASCOT (ASCOT-NL) by adopting the instrument to the Dutch context; 2) to develop a set of preference weights for the ASCOT-NL; 3) to assess the normative adequacy and applicability of ASCOT-NL for policy purposes. A mix of philosophical analysis, literature review, qualitative and quantitative empirical research is used to examine the theoretical and empirical validity of the ASCOT for the Dutch context, to investigate the relative importance of quality of life domains and to identify facilitators and barriers for implementation of ASCOT in the Netherlands.
  • the TOPICS-MDS 'Goed Besteed' project, in which aim to evaluate the contribution of Adult Day Care to the quality of life of older adults and their caregivers and to societal costs.

Former projects

  • 2010-2014 Frail Older Adults: Care in Transition (ACT).
    In this stepped wedge cluster randomized clinical trial a Geriatric Care Model was gradually implemented among 1147 frail older adults in two different areas of the Netherlands. The Geriatric Care Model has been based on the Chronic Care Model. The project comprised a process evaluation (Maaike Muntinga), effect evaluation ( Emiel Hoogendijk) and economic evaluation (Karen van Leeuwen). 
    ACT Project Page

Research interests

  • Regression methods for health economic evaluation
  • Preference based quality of life measurement
  • Allocation, quality and (cost-) effectiveness of care services for older adults
  • Integrated care


  • Quality of life (Centre for Health Economics, University of York)
  • Regression methods for health economic evaluation (Centre for Health Economics,University of York)
  • Discrete Choice Experiments in healthcare (Clinical Epidemiology and Medical Technology Assessment, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht)
  • Estimating models of public preferences from 'Best Worst Scaling' data (RAND Europe)
  • Introduction to Bayesian Analysis & WinBUGS in Health Economic Evaluations (MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge)
  • Multiple Imputation to Handle Missing Data (MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge)
  • Survival Analysis for clinicians (Nihes Rotterdam)
  • Basic medical knowledge (EpidM, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam)
  • Courses from the Master Vitality and Ageing (Leyden Academy, Leiden)
  • Workshops Qualitative Research & Qualitative data analysis (VU University, Amsterdam & Radboud University, Nijmegen)

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Research Output

What does quality of life mean to older adults? A thematic synthesis

Van Leeuwen, K. M., Van Loon, M. S., Van Nes, F. A., Bosmans, J. E., De Vet, H. C. W., Ket, J. C. F., Widdershoven, G. A. M. & Ostelo, R. W. J. G., 1 Mar 2019, In : PLoS ONE. 14, 3, e0213263.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
  • Open Access
    164 Downloads (Pure)

    Quality of life in a broader perspective: Does ASCOT reflect the capability approach?

    van Loon, M. S., van Leeuwen, K. M., Ostelo, R. W. J. G., Bosmans, J. E. & Widdershoven, G. A. M., 14 Dec 2017, (Accepted/In press) In : Quality of Life Research. 27, 5, p. 1-9 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
  • The Importance of Trust in Successful Home Visit Programs for Older People

    Muntinga, M. E., van Leeuwen, K. M., Jansen, A. P. D., Nijpels, G., Schellevis, F. G. & Abma, T. A., 4 May 2017, In : Global qualitative nursing research. 3, p. 2333393616681935

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
  • Beliefs, Barriers, and Preferences of European Overweight Women to Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle in Pregnancy to Minimize Risk of Developing Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: An Explorative Study

    Jelsma, J. G. M., van Leeuwen, K. M., Oostdam, N., Bunn, C., Simmons, D., Desoye, G., Corcoy, R., Adelantado, J. M., Kautzky-Willer, A., Harreiter, J., van Assche, F. A., Devlieger, R., Timmerman, D., Hill, D., Damm, P., Mathiesen, E. R., Wender-Ozegowska, E., Zawiejska, A., Rebollo, P., Lapolla, A. & 8 others, Dalfrà, M. G., Del Prato, S., Bertolotto, A., Dunne, F., Jensen, D. M., Andersen, L. L. T., Snoek, F. J. & van Poppel, M. N., 2016, In : Journal of Pregnancy. 2016, p. 3435791

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access