Introducing new Top Team member Erik Gerritsen
From 1 July Top Sector LSH welcomes Erik Gerritsen, Secretary General at the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport as the new member of the Top Team Life Sciences & Health. Within the Top Team Erik Gerritsen represents the government. Top Sector LSH would like to thank Gerritsen's predecessor Angelique Berg as Director General of Ministry Health, Welfare and Sport for her contributions.
Let’s get to know Erik Gerritsen and his role at the government!
What is your role at the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport?
The Secretary General is the highest-ranking civil servant at the Ministry responsible for the overall proper functioning of the organisation. For me personally this means ensuring our minister and state secretary as well as parliament receive excellent advice and service and that the Ministry is a strong mission-driven organisation with a sharp focus on creating maximum impact in society. One of my more specific responsibilities concerns Innovation and eHealth.
What are your personal motives for working for the Ministry?
I have a strong passion for working for the public good, making a difference for vulnerable people and solving wicked societal problems. When you want to make an impact on a national and healthcare-wide level then the Ministry is the place to be. Primarily through unleashing all of the positive energy that is going around at the frontline level.
Why do you think that the Top Sector approach is important?
The Top Sector approach has the ambition of organising focus as well as inclusive, multidisciplinary and even cross-sectoral cooperation. These are two key success factors for creating impact. Everything that you give attention to grows and you can get the whole system into a room, so to speak, and lock the door until they have reached a solution.
What is the role of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport in Top Sector Life Sciences & Health?
The first rule of government is ‘do no harm’ and embrace all the positive energy that is going around. The second rule is ‘help to remove obstacles that stand in the way of innovation’. And the third rule is ‘help to create learning communities and facilitate the development of ecosystems’. These general rules are also applicable to the role my Ministry and other ministries (Economic Affairs & Education, Science and Culture) have to play with regard to LSH.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Dutch Life Sciences & Health sector?
I am relatively new in the field and for now have nothing to add to the general consensus that we are a frontrunner in many ways. However, there is no reason whatsoever to be smug about that, because at the same time we are running the risk of falling behind very quickly, with all those mutually reinforcing exponential developments that we are confronted with and that forces all of those involved to work together towards resilient and adaptive networking.
How do you see the future of eHealth?
eHealth is maybe the most important lever for attaining durable affordable, accessible and higher quality healthcare. More focus on low-tech high impact eHealth is needed. To quote my minister Edith Schippers ‘from the waiting room towards the living room’. To quote my state secretary Martin van Rijn ‘cold IT enabling warm care’.
What is your message to everybody working in the Life Sciences & Health sector?
First act, then reflect. The best way to predict the future is by making it together. I am very much looking forward working with you all. Don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on twitter @egerrit.