The Collective

You can join Laguna Collective by invitation. Joining makes sense if you have shown commitment and expertise with regard to our target groups, and would like to discuss activities, ideas and initiatives, or if you would like to contribute to current activities.

If you are interested you may contact us via Either Joriene van der Kolk or Pim Scholte will then respond. No costs are involved.

Below you will find the profiles of the members of the collective, members of the Board included.
Click ‘Young Professionals’ to see members we aim to support in the starting phase of their carreers.

Rembrant Aarts

Rembrant Aarts (1975) is working as a psychiatrist and manager at Arkin Mental Healthcare in Amsterdam. The recovery oriented clinical services with 5 locations provide intensive treatment for patients with chronic Severe Mental Illness (SMI). Treatment focuses on recovery oriented care.

Trained as an MD at Maastricht University and after specializing as an MD in Tropical Medicine and International Health (TMIH), Rembrant spent several years Burundi and Mozambique working for NGOs. As MD – TMIH he is involved as an advisor, teacher and consultant. He is the chair of the working group Global Mental Health (GMH) and is involved in training and supervision of several disciplines. Areas of expertise include: transcultural psychiatry, global mental health, innovative education, forensic medico-legal reports in asylum seekers, Clinical Leadership, Healthcare Management, Severe Mental Illness (SMI), interpreter services, complex psychotrauma and recovery oriented care.

Rembrant is a registered adult psychiatrist, psychotrauma therapist NtVP, and MD-TMIH. He is a member of the Dutch Psychiatric Association, the Dutch Society for Tropical Medicine, the Dutch Society for Psychotrauma (NtVP), the European Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS), and the Transcultural Section of the Dutch Psychiatric Association.

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Charles Agyemang

Prof. Charles Agyemang is a Professor of Global Migration, Ethnicity and Health and Principal Investigator at Amsterdam University Medical Centres, University of Amsterdam. He received his PhD from Erasmus Medical Centre, University of Rotterdam, and Master degree at Edinburgh University Medical School. Prof. Agyemang is currently the Vice President of the Migrant Health section of the European Public health Association; Scientific Chair of the Global Society of Migration, Ethnicity, Race & Health, and a fellow of the prestigious European Research Council (ERC) under the Consolidation Award programme. He is also a recipient of the prestigious VENI fellowship of The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

His research is focused on ethnic inequalities in health and NCDs in low- and middle-income countries. He is a project leader of European Commission funded RODAM study and Pros-RODAM study. He has published over 300 published papers, and edited several books.

Charles is a member of the WHO taskforce on NCDs in Migrants and was a also member and a rapporteur of the Planning Committee for WHO Global Consultation on Migrant Health. He is a core member of the European Hypertension Society Workgroup on Hypertension & Cardiovascular Risk in Low Resource Settings. He serves as a member on several scientific advisory boards. He is an Associate Editor for Internal and Emergency Medicine, and serves as Guest Editor and Editorial Board member for several journals.


Julia Bala

Julia Bala, PhD, is a child psychologist and psychotherapist. Educated in former Yugoslavia and the USA, since arrival to the Netherlands in 1992, she has been specializing in diagnostics and the treatment of traumatized refugee children and families. As a former staff member of Centrum’45 / ARQ National Psychotrauma Center and Pharos Foundation she developed therapeutic interventions in relation to family consequences of trauma, and participated in the establishment of novel treatment and preventive programs.

Julia’s current work as an independent consultant focuses on the development and implementation of preventive programs for refugee parents and families. She provides training, consultation, participates in research projects, and publishes on topics related to her main fields of interest: the intergenerational consequences of trauma, the influence of (forced) migration on parenting and the development of children, and fostering resilience though multifamily interventions. 


Alice Beldman

Alice Beldman was trained as a social worker. In the past she was involved in support programs for homeless youths. Since 1995 she has been affiliated in various positions to the ASKV, an Amsterdam based foundation promoting the interests of undocumented asylum seekers.

As of 2011 Alice has been the coördinator of the Medisch Opvangproject Ongedocumenteerden (MOO), an ASKV project she initiated and developed herself. MOO offers housing and support to undocumented asylum seekers with serious mental health problems. While MOO started as a temporary project, it now has evolved into an established national shelter for 80 clients who are supported in finding personalized solutions: either legal residence in the Netherlands or well-supported return to the country of origin. 

Alice’s expertise and heart particularly are with setting up solid aid programs and advocacy for vulnerable groups.

Ylva van den Berg

Ylva van den Berg holds a degree as a Social Worker and a Master’s in Conflict Studies and Human Rights.  In addition to her work with vulnerable groups such as refugee and homeless within the Dutch relief system, she has extensive international experience in developing and managing programmes in South Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and Greece. Ylva’s expertise lies mainly in developing and monitoring the quality of psychosocial and child protection programmes for vulnerable children, such as children in detention, children on the move fleeing violence and children living in conflict settings. Over the past ten years she has lived in the Middle East and Greece where she worked for War Child and Save the Children as a Psychosocial Adviser and a Child Protection Specialist. 

Currently Ylva works as an independent consultant in the area of psychosocial support and child protection. She is a member of the Ethical Review Board and the Advisory Group for research on Community Driven Child Protection within War Child’s Research and Development Department.  

LinkedIn Profile

Amy Besamusca-Ekelschot

Amy Besamusca-Ekelschot is a Dutch psychiatrist and psychotherapist, director of healthcare organizations, and author. Her experience as a psychiatrist covers several areas, including social and intercultural mental healthcare for migrants and expatriates. She took part in UNHCR missions and worked in several countries in East-Africa. For many years she worked with the armed forces to treat UN blue helmets with PTSD. She supervised many psychologists, doctors, and nurse practitioners during and after their professional education.

Since 2007 Amy has been active as a psychiatrist, trainer, and supervisor in the Centre Neuro-Psychiatrique de Kamenge in Burundi in East-Africa. In the Netherlands she is treating seriously mentally ill people at Altrecht and she works for the Consultation and Expertise Centre (CCE) as a transcultural specialist.
Amy is the director of foundation Kennis zonder Grenzen (Knowledge without Borders), contributing to the development of public MHPSS in Burundi by trainings on mental healthcare and on mhGAP-HIG, training of trainers, refresher courses for local trainers, and decentralization projects. Kennis zonder Grenzen had the WHO method mhGAP-HIG translated into Kirundi (free download) and initiated the Burundian-Dutch research consortium, with the Université du Burundi, the Institut National de Santé Publique du Burundi, and the University of Leiden as important participants.

Evert Bloemen

Evert Bloemen is a medical doctor and an advisor and trainer at Pharos, Dutch Centre of Expertise on Health Disparities. At Pharos he works for the program on health and health care for asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented migrants.

Evert was trained as a family doctor and later specialised in refugee health. Next to his Pharos job on transferring knowledge to health professionals and non-health workers, he worked in mental health care in a team targeting refugees and asylum seekers. Later on he was a staff member at the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights and Medical Assessment (iMMO), which is responsible for forensic medical examinations of alleged torture victims.

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Annemijn Blok-Versteeg

Annemijn Blok-Versteeg is a passionate public health and community education expert. She graduated in Rural Development Sociology at Wageningen Agricultural University and worked for the FAO in farmer training programs in Cambodia and Peru. Experiencing the lack of health care in remote rural areas she decided to include health education in her work and studied Community Health at Hogeschool Leiden.

In 2009 she started to work for the Health[e]Foundation, a blended e-learning training program for health care workers in low- and middle-income countries. For many years she was involved in interactive community education programs in life skills & SRHR in Thailand, Cambodia, South Africa and Uganda. In Egypt she led the development of a Well Baby Centre to improve the health of mothers and babies (0-2 years) in Cairo “Garbage City”. After moving back to The Netherlands in 2018 she was responsible for the project “Psychosocial care for refugees and newcomers” at the Health[e]Foundation.

Annemijn has a track record in developing blended e-learning programs in SRHR, life skills, maternity care, and refugee care. In-depth knowledge of e-learning, curriculum development, gender equity, ICT4D and participatory learning.

Ragna Boerma

Ragna Boerma is a final year psychiatry resident at the Amsterdam UMC, location AMC. After finishing medical school, she pursued a Master’s degree in Global Health at the Instituto de Salud Global, Barcelona, Spain, in 2014. In 2017, she obtained her PhD degree at the Amsterdam Institute of Global Health and Development (AIGHD), University of Amsterdam, with the thesis called: “Prevention Suppression & Resistance: Antiretroviral Treatment for Children with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa”.

Between 2014 and 2018 Ragna was a volunteer for Doctors of the World in the Netherlands and in Spain, working in various projects aimed at improving the medical and psychosocial wellbeing of newly arrived refugees and undocumented migrants. She also worked as a medical volunteer at Boat Refugee Foundation in the Moria refugee camp om Lesvos, Greece.

During her psychiatry training Ragna worked at the team for undocumented migrants and psychotrauma at ARQ/Centrum ’45 and at Mental Health Caribbean, Bonaire. As part of her training she also conducted a research project focusing on psychological effects of immigration detention in The Netherlands.


Koen Bolhuis

Koen Bolhuis is a resident in psychiatry at the Amsterdam University Medical Centres, location AMC. In 2019 he defended his PhD with distinction (cum laude) at the department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam with the thesis “On Psychotic Phenomena and Unruliness: Studies on the Childhood Risk for Severe Mental Illness”. Next to his clinical psychiatry training, Koen also works as a post-doctoral researcher at the Erasmus Medical Centre and he is a volunteer for Doctors of the World, the Netherlands, for which he provides medical and psychosocial consultations for undocumented migrants.

Judith Boshe

Dr Judith Boshe is a psychiatrist who attained her masters in Medicine in Psychiatry and fellowship in Psychiatry in Cape Town, South Africa with a grant and mentorship from DUKE-KCMC collaboration. She completed her degree in Medicine and clinical internship at Muhimbili National Referral Hospital in Tanzania. She has over 10 years’ experience in both behavioural sciences and biological research at different capacities including being a Research coordinator while working for the International Centre for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) with Columbia University in Tanzania.

From her early teens, Dr Boshe actively volunteered in local, regional and global platforms advocating for localized evidence-based community health solutions and interventions. Her volunteer work with the United Nations Organization of Tanzania (UNA-Tz), British Council Tanzania (Global Change Makers Program), Save Lives-Tanzania, and Tanzania medical Students Association (TAMSA), involved supporting and empowering youth participation and global partnership in creating solutions for community health problems.

She is currently back in her native town of Moshi, working as the head of the recently established Mental Health Department at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center in Moshi (KCMC), Tanzania. She is the only practising psychiatrist in the region and at KCMC, a zonal referral hospital for the 15 million people in the north of Tanzania.

Rachel Brenner

Rachel earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Emory University in 2018 and she will graduate with a research master’s degree in global health at Vrije University Amsterdam in August 2020. She is interested in how adversity shapes mental health across the lifespan, as well as how public health and community initiatives can address mental health inequalities. She has worked in a domestic violence shelter in the USA as a crisis hotline operator and has designed and conducted research on how family and sociocultural context shapes the development of mood disorders, personality disorders, disordered eating, and sexual trauma. She became affiliated with the Laguna Collective after completing her master’s thesis with ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre, where she used a health systems perspective to study sexual revictimization of trafficked persons.
Rachel’s expertise includes: quantitative, qualitative, mixed, and participatory methods; project support and coordination; developmental psychopathology; global mental health; community mental health; marginalized groups; native English speaker and level B2+ Dutch.

Rosa van Bronswijk

Rosa van Bronswijk is a resident in psychiatry at the Amsterdam University Medical Centres, location AMC. Currently she is working at ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre where she is part of the treatment team for victims of sexual violence and exploitation.

In 2019 Rosa participated briefly in the medical mission of the Boat Refugee Foundation on Lesvos. In the context of her residency she conducts forensic medical research under supervision for the Institute for Human Rights and Medical Assesment (iMMO).

Kashi Carasso

Kashi Carasso, a public health professional with pharmacy background, has for the past 20 years worked in mainly East and Southern Africa on improving access to care and treatment. Her experience includes working with Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organizations, the United Nations, academia and directly with local/national governments. She is currently a partner at hera, where she focuses on training & capacity building, complex evaluations, strengthening health systems and access to medicines. She teaches at LSHTM London and KIT Amsterdam, and is a proposal review committee member at WHO/Unitaid.

Kashi is also trained as a holistic counselor and in her second year as trauma therapist (Somatic Experiencing), supporting personal self-development processes and providing individual psychotherapy sessions. Her longing is to combine her expertise in public health in developing countries with promoting mental health & psychosocial wellbeing of people who need it most.

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Fabian Colle

Fabian Colle is a medical doctor, working for the organizations Alias (support for male and transgender sex workers), Housing First, and Constats (medicollegial evaluation with victims of torture). Before, he worked at Projet Lama (methadone treatment programme), Equator Foundation (PTSD-treatment with refugees) and the iMMO foundation (sister of Constats).

Following experiences in Bolivia and Cambodia and a study in International Health, his interest moved to socio-economic determinants of health, psychiatry, and political and sociological aspects of health, specifically concerning systemic, political, and institutional violence.

Anya Conkic

After surviving a war in her teenage years and fleeing her home in formal Yugoslavia, Anya knows from her own experience what it is like to build a new life in a new country where you don’t know the customs, don’t speak the language, don’t have a social network yet, and at the same time are still processing the feeling of loss, mistrust, (no) safety and a broken heart. Working at ‘In My Backyard’ (IMBY) for the last three years as a coordinator and co-founder, she gained a lot of experience in bringing her own discoveries into practice and helping people feel more at home in their new country.

Anya’s talents are good listening skills, patience, empathy and a deep understanding of patterns developed from different situations. People feel safe and connected to her and that helps them to (re) discover their own strengths. Being in a new environment where she felt lonely and not included made her realize how important it is to have a safe space and social connections. Anya’s passion is bringing people together, creating a safe space where we learn to listen with our hearts, give time and attention to what needs our support, and research what connects us as humans and how we can inspire and support each other.

Besides English, Anya also speaks Dutch, Croatian, Serbian and Hebrew.

Jannelore Derycke

Jannelore Derycke is a mental health professional who graduated in Clinical Orthopedagogy (University of Ghent) and Human Sexology Studies (Catholic University of Leuven). Committed to supporting individuals who are not getting their mental health needs met, she served as an MHPSS (Mental Health and Psychosocial Support) coordinator on Lesbos, Greece. Leading a team addressing the psychological needs of refugees. During her time in Greece, she furthered her expertise by completing the ‘MHPSS in Complex Emergencies’ course at Fordham University. This additional training equipped her with the knowledge to apply best practices in the field.

Before her time in Greece, Jannelore actively supported refugees in Belgium from a systemic approach, with a specific emphasis on empowering women with young children facing different kinds of violence. In addition to her hands-on support, she plays an important role in training individuals in the psychological and sexological aspects of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). She conducted training sessions in both Guinee and Belgium, imparting her expertise to raise awareness and address the complex issues surrounding FGM.

Jannelore’s commitment to empowering people extends beyond direct support, encompassing education and advocacy to create lasting change.

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Anna Farrow

Anna studied psychology and anthropology and has a master’s degree in Conflict and Peace studies. For nearly two years she worked in various refugee camps in Greece, managing psychosocial support projects on the mainland as well as on Lesvos. One of her job functions was as a field coordinator with Boat Refugee Foundation for example. 

Anna specialized in EU migration policies and is currently ultimately dedicated by working with legal and psychosocial support projects supporting refugees and undocumented people in The Netherlands. In her most recent job she works as shelter coordinator with the Dutch Foundation STIL, that helps undocumented people with social and legal matters as well as medical problems amongst other things. 

Besides, Anna holds a fascination to learn new languages, speaks both French and Spanish, and is currently studying Arabic. 

Fieke Felix

For many years, Fieke worked as a medical doctor in conflict affected communities in Africa and elsewhere, employed by NGOs like Cordaid, MDM, MSF. Since her specialization in psychiatry, she works as a clinical psychiatrist at ARQ, top referential clinical center for refugees with trauma-related mental health problems.  She still travels to low- and middle-income countries for short (training) assignments.

Fieke is also linked to the Institute for Human Rights and Medical Assessment (iMMO) in the Netherlands. She has a strong interest in public mental healthcare, including issues around access to care, and social and political determinants of mental health (conditions).

Mehdi Firouzi

Mehdi Firouzi holds a BA in Applied Linguistics and a MSc in Clinical Psychology, while currently enrolled in an advanced Master program in Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies (KU Leuven). Since 2015, he has been involved in numerous national and international MHPSS projects, almost exclusively in the context of (forced) migration and displacement. Notable places of work include UNHCR Malaysia, the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC, Kuala Lumpur) and the University Hospital of Brussels (Child Psychiatry/Solentra).

Mehdi currently works for Boat Refugee Foundation (BRF) as an MHPSS coordinator, implementing mental health interventions at Lesbos’ Mavrovouni refugee camp.

Mehdi’s particular interests lie in the psychosocial impact of (forced) migration, SGBV and transcultural psychiatry. He also makes a mean lemon pie.

Siomara de Getrouwe-Spalburg

Siomara de Getrouwe-Spalburg is a member of the supervisory board of Laguna Collective. She is trained as an economist with a specialization in Marketing. She has gained extensive experience as a relationship manager within the business domain at various financial institutions. She has been successful as an independent entrepreneur for some time now by training account managers at financial institutions and guiding entrepreneurs with financing needs.  

In addition, Siomara is co-founder of Matapica, an incubator aimed at colorful entrepreneurs, with a focus on the advancement of organizations, fueled by equality and inclusion. The aim is to close the gap between the capital market and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. With its entrepreneurial program and investment matching, it offers colorful entrepreneurs and investors an eco-system for social impact. Siomara’s social involvement is also apparent from the project “The Sky is the Limit”. A project in which students receive tutoring in math, reading comprehension and socio-economic skills. Siomara acts as the project leader and directs a team of educators.  

In her entrepreneurial program, Siomara focuses on, among other things, the norms, values, beliefs and self-image of entrepreneurs. This deep dive helps to explain behavior and attitudes of entrepreneurs and also makes change possible. Her approach explains the affinity with Laguna Collective.

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Samrad Ghane

Samrad Ghane is a clinical psychologist (PhD), a medical anthropologist (MSc), and a senior researcher with a broad interest in cultural psychiatry and critical global mental health. As a clinician, he has been involved in the development and implementation of culturally sensitive mental health services for refugees and immigrants in the Netherlands. Samrad has contributed to culturally informed treatment guidelines for depression and psychosis, as well as the national mental health guidelines on cultural diversity.

Samrad’s research is mainly focused on psychotherapy process and outcome among ethnic minorities, cultural competence, and the clinical relevance of cultural concepts of distress among different cultural groups. He is affiliated with Parnassia Psychiatric Institute, ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre, and the Dutch association for Psychotrauma where he chairs the Special Interest Group on trauma and cultural diversity.

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Twitter account

Mariëlle de Goede

Mariëlle de Goede has a BSc in Psychology and is currently completing her MSc in Clinical Psychology at the outpatient clinic of sexology and psychosomatic gynecology at the Amsterdam Academic Medical Centres, where she is a psychologist in training. She also has an MA in East Asian studies, which resulted in her living in Beijing for several years. While in China, she became fluent in Chinese and worked with an organisation involved in humanitarian and cultural projects in North Korea.

Since her return, Mariëlle has written her master’s thesis at ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre on predictors of treatment outcome in female survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. There she developed her interest in (complex) sexual trauma and how to promote healthy sexuality in survivors of abuse.

In addition, Mariëlle works as a researcher at the cultural organisation New Heroes, where she has conducted an extensive study on sexual fantasies and with whom she has co-written her first book.

Book ‘Yes, Please!’

Elise Griede

Elise Griede holds a MSc in Psychology and a BSc in Theatre. Since 2005, she has built rich international experience in the field of mental health and psychosocial support. For War Child Holland and other NGOs she was involved with training and coaching psychosocial teams and (para)professionals, and with developing and coordinating mental health, psychosocial, and creative/theatre interventions for and with conflict-affected populations in countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia, DRC, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Uganda.

Elise currently works for ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre as a senior Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) advisor at the international department, and as a psychologist for the mental health care department. She is also a licensed mindfulness trainer (VMBN category 1).

Elise’s particular interest lies in understanding and supporting the resilience, coping strategies, and recovery of people affected by conflict and (other) adversity, from an individual as well as a family, community, and cultural perspective.

Iris Groen

Iris Groen holds a bachelor’s in History and a master’s in Psychology. She started working as a psychologist (basis psycholoog) in 2013 and as an independent general clinical psychologist (GZ-psycholoog) in 2016. Besides her clinical practice she is currently in training to be a family and relationship therapist. During her studies she worked as a volunteer with refugee youths. As a psychologist she worked in different settings. In recent years her focus has been on trauma treatment within complex family dynamics.

In 2020 Iris lived in Uganda for one year, where she worked at the Butabika National Referral Hospital as a psychologist and as an RCT Lead in the international UPSIDES study into the impact of peer support work in mental healthcare. Currently she is back in the Netherlands but still in touch with her colleagues in Uganda, and she is learning Luganda.

Joris Haagen

Dr. Joris Haagen (1981) is a psychologist, researcher, and policy advisor for ARQ Centre of Expertise for the Impact of Disasters and Crisis. Joris obtained his PhD. at Utrecht University (promotor: prof. Rolf Kleber). His dissertation focused on improving the effectiveness of PTSD treatment for veterans, titled: ‘Setting the stage for recovery: Improving veteran PTSD treatment effectiveness using statistical prediction’. Joris is currently conducting research among refugees, military veterans, and humanitarian workers, with a focus on (1) the psychosocial impact of exposure to war, conflict, and disasters, and (2) care and support after experiencing (potentially) traumatic events.

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ResearchGate Profile 

Valérie Harskamp

Valérie Harskamp is a medical doctor specialized in Global Health and Tropical Medicine. After completing her post-graduate training, she worked in different clinical settings in the Netherlands and abroad. In 2020-2021 she worked as a medical coordinator for Boat Refugee Foundation on Lesvos. Currently Valérie is enrolled in the Master’s programme International Health at the Royal Tropical Institute of Amsterdam. 

Cathy Hassels Mönning

Cathy Hassels Mönning is the founder of True Blue – Creative Healthcare Communications. It is her mission to firmly establish the broad use of the arts in health and well-being. To realize this she works together with arts and health professionals, scientists and activists. By designing new projects that bring together both worlds, creating awareness about the transformative power that the arts can play in improving health & well-being, and learning from the many national and international experts who, in their own way, also support this mission.

Art is vital in shaping the future because it makes us look, think and listen differently to the world around us. Art enhances our quality of life.

Cathy was educated in communication sciences in the Netherlands (University of Groningen) and Canada (Concordia University Montreal). After working at several commercial healthcare organizations in North America and Europe (where she combined her fascination for healthcare with her communications expertise), she founded True Blue – Creative Healthcare Communications in 2014. This is how she brings her love of the arts together with health & well-being. Cathy was born and raised in the Netherlands and also lived in Montreal, Canada for 11 years. This background, along with 25 years of international work experience inspire her to bring an open mind and diverse perspective to her projects.

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Jetske van Heemstra

Jetske van Heemstra is a sociologist and a psychologist. Her focus is on the interface between social and psychological functioning, with a particular interest in refugees. As a trainee health psychologist she works for Villa Uitzicht and ARQ/Centrum’45. At Utrecht University and ARQ she conducts research into the association between post-migration stressors and psychopathology / treatment outcome in refugees.

Jetske initiated the collaboration between ARQ and Frascati theatre over various projects, which resulted in traumatized migrants processing their experiences into theatrical performances. Previously she was involved in the development of the psychological 7ROSES/METS intervention method.


Marleen Hendriks

Marleen Hendriks is a resident in psychiatry at the Amsterdam University Medical Centres, location AMC. She also works on healthcare innovation projects that aim to innovate (global) mental healthcare delivery through better use of data and technology and through more focus on prevention. 

Marleen worked in Global Health for over ten years. Until 2020 she was Medical Director of PharmAccess Foundation and Director of Innovation at the Joep Lange Institute, two organizations dedicated to connecting more people to better healthcare in Africa, with a focus on mobile technology. In these roles, her focus was on the development of sustainable financing and delivery models for non-communicable disease care through mobile solutions and other technologies. Prior to this position she worked as a PhD- and post-doc researcher at the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development. She completed her Public Health Residency at the Academic Medical Center, with a focus on Health Economics and Healthcare Management & Policy.

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Caroline Heuschen

Caroline Heuschen is a resident in psychiatry at the Amsterdam University Medical Centers. She combines her training with a PhD study focusing on suicidality from a transdiagnostic perspective. Recently she completed an elective residency in Global Mental Health at the Mirembe National Mental Health hospital in Dodoma, Tanzania, finding her passion for culturally sensitive mental health care.

Caroline is a volunteer for Medical Aid Films, an international health charity, for which she works on a project to address the unmet needs around adolescent mental health in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Annette Hoogerbrugge

For many years, Annette Hoogerbrugge worked as a midwife in asylum seekers centres. She also worked in various African countries to improve access to maternal healthcare and sexual reproductive health (SRH). Since 2012, Annette is the manager of the program for undocumented migrants at Doctors of the World in Amsterdam. One of her initiatives was to set up and still coordinate a project through which volunteering psychologists provide accessible psychosocial support to undocumented migrants.

Annette has a broad experience in developing and managing mental health and SRH projects in a variety of medical settings, and in empowering activities for vulnerable and marginalized people.

Mathijs Hoogstad

My name is Mathijs Hoogstad, married and father of two young children. Since a couple of years I have been working as a Healthcare Psychologist in various positions, within several Dutch and international organizations, to support people with psychological difficulties and to make mental heath care available and accessible. Together with my wife Rina I was privileged to live and work for a few years in different countries in eastern Africa and the Middle East in (post)conflict settings. This has enriched my life and shaped me to be more humble and open-minded.

As a psychologist, I work together with people who survived violence and torture, perpetrators of (violent) crimes, people who migrated or fled, and colleagues/co-aid workers, to regain a balanced mental well-being, in order to actively shape their own lives. Equality, dignity, resilience and upholding human rights are key elements for me. As a white male with a university degree, I am aware of my historical and social-economical position and the (possible) unequal power balance that could influence and shape my interactions with others. I aim to work together, to establish mutual trust and share stories and knowledge together.

I am happy to be part of the Laguna Collective and hope I can be of added value.

Fatema Islam

Fatema Islam, a trained social worker, has been involved in the fields of migration and asylum for 15 years. She is currently working towards gaining experience on detention related issues as a staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Prior to this, she worked with various organisations in Cyprus, the UK and Bangladesh, and carried out assignments within transnational projects engaging partners based in several countries. This has helped her acquire substantial experience in assisting vulnerable groups in diverse contexts, specifically refugees, migrants, survivors of torture and human trafficking. Furthermore, she contributed to research activities as well as supported capacity building of social workers, counsellors and caregivers of unaccompanied and separated children.

Fatema is one of the founding members of the Cyprus Refugee Council, the lead organization that supports and advocates for the rights of refugees in Cyprus. Together with some members of Laguna Collective, she was part of the team of professionals who developed and piloted the empowerment method “METS” in five countries.

In addition to her professional involvements, Fatema has a keen interest in gender justice.

Jorin van der Jagt - Blokland

Jorin van der Jagt – Blokland has international work experience in the treatment of complex trauma, specifically with the focus on trauma  resulting from war and violence. She worked in several countries in the Middle East in the treatment of refugees and was involved with projects to improve the knowledge and skills of local staff. She initiated and coordinated various programs in the Middle East and has given trainings and supervision focused on working with traumatized refugees both nationally (the Netherlands) and internationally (a.o., Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Greece, Ukraine).

In her current position at Psychotraumacentrum Zuid-Nederland (Reinier van Arkel), Jorin’s focus is to improve the psychological care to traumatized refugees in three main areas: treatment (skills), knowledge (sharing and receiving) and network (national and international). Her passions are the treatment of complex trauma, intercultural work and international emergency response. Besides her work at the psychotraumacenter, she also has a position as clinical lecturer at Utrecht University.

Adriana Jasperse

Adriana Jasperse worked  in the mental health field for many years, first as a community health psychiatric nurse and later as a family therapist specializing in refugees and human trafficking survivors.  She was affiliated with Pharos and Centrum ’45/Arq Foundation. Initially she worked with adults, but she ended up focusing on adolescents and families with children. Over the past 15 years she became increasingly interested in families with young children of which one or both of the parents deal with psychiatric problems. This interest relates to the importance of a healthy attachment relationship for a child’s development, and the safety net this provides in case a child encounters problems later in life.

In collaboration with colleagues Adriana set up various treatment and prevention programs. Some examples are group treatment sessions for adolescent refugees, multi family therapy sessions in a day treatment program, and parent-baby group sessions in an outpatient program.

In the past Adriana worked for a local self-governed farmers organisation in Peru, where she provided health education and training. Shortly after the Rwandan civil war she took part in one of MSF’s first psychosocial support programs, training local health workers along with local staff. Adriana speaks Dutch, English, French and Spanish.


Mark Jordans

Mark Jordans is child psychologist and works as Director of Research & Development for the NGO War Child in the Netherlands. He is Professor in Child and Adolescent Global Mental Health at the University of Amsterdam, as well as Reader, Child and Adolescent Mental Health in Humanitarian Settings, at the Center for Global Mental Health, King’s College London. His work focuses on the development, implementation and evaluation of psychosocial and mental health care systems in low and middle income countries, especially for children in adversities and in fragile states.

Mark is the founder and Senior Technical Advisor of TPO Nepal, a leading mental health NGO in Nepal, where he worked between 1999 and 2011. He is an advisor to several global mental health initiates, including WHO and research consortia – and was a commissioner for the Lancet Commission Report on Global Mental Health.


Sanne de Kleijn

Sanne de Kleijn is a senior mental healthcare psychologist affiliated with ARQ/Centrum ’45 (formerly known as Equator Foundation) since 2011 . She has a broad expertise in working with victims of sexual violence and exploitation, refugees and asylum seekers. In addition to providing trauma-oriented therapy and various person-oriented group therapies she is focused on the personal and social recovery of the target group. As a side activity she is active (in collaboration with the organization Superkidz) as a trainer/coach in a group training for children from 6 to 12 years old, to increase social-emotional resilience and ultimately prevent psychological problems at a later age.

In addition she works as a trainer and supervisor of colleagues in the field as well as a trainer in the 7ROSES / METS (empowerment)method.

Sanne’s wish for the future is to combine her experience and affinity with intercultural healthcare, a strength-oriented approach and a focus on prevention in working with children and young adults.

Hanna Kolff

Hanna Kolff is a lawyer with broad experience in advocacy and protection issues in humanitarian settings. She has worked for different organisations such as Amnesty International, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), PAX, and Médecins du Monde Netherlands. Currently Hanna works for the Dr Denis Mukwege Foundation as a consultant on advocacy around sexual violence as a method of warfare. She also gives training in governance for board members of NGOs, and works as an external trust person and coach.

She has worked for MSF in several roles since 1994 and started the department which supports the field operations in witnessing and advocacy about protection concerns.

Hanna was the vice chair of MSF Holland for 6 years and was a board member of MSF South Asia regional association. She was also in the board of HealthNet TPO.

Joriene van der Kolk

Joriene, Health Care psychologist (GZ-psycholoog), systemic therapist and traumatherapist, is one of the founders and directors of Laguna Collective. She has experience in working with traumatized refugees, asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking at ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre, where she was the leader of the expertise-team ‘Recovery-oriented care for PTSD’. Later she worked for the Sinai Centre, specialized in treating psychotrauma, where she provided trauma-therapy for refugees and Dutch people who suffer from severe psychotrauma, but also focused on 2nd and 3rd generation victims of war. Between 2021-2023 she worked in a team that provides healthcare for people with a severe mental illness,  a specialized treatment program for people with personality disorders, and in a team that specializes in psychodiagnostics. Currently she is working at GGz Centraal with unaccompanied minors and refugee families.
Joriene has broad knowledge of the psychological, social and legal aspects of forced migration. As a transcultural family therapist she focuses on the (cultural) context and integrates this is in her vision on recovery, resilience, and the importance of social connectedness.
For Laguna Collective, Joriene is involved with the design and planning of new projects, trainings, and research programs.
She is part of the team that developed the METS method, provides (inter)national trainings in this method, and participates in the scientific research team focusing on METS with undocumented people residing in the Netherlands.  
Particular expertise: trauma-therapy for marginalized people, family and relational therapy, project coordination, training, recovery-oriented care, and cultural context.


Ivan Komproe

My work (since 1996) contributes from a research perspective to the reduction of the treatment gap for mental disorders in low resource countries and post-conflict settings. Key areas of my expertise are research (quantitative) methods and the implementation of research findings in the development, adaptation and implementation of mental health and psychosocial care systems and programs in low-income and conflict-affected settings.

As holder of the chair ‘Collective Trauma’ (Utrecht University, 2009-2019) my work focused on the combination of the effects of large-scale adverse events on the mental health condition, ranging from distress to a range of psychiatric disorders in combination with the massive and widespread occurrence of these health problems on families and other groups of individuals. My current research is focussed on the complex multi-level interactions that are mediated and moderated by the impact of devastating changes in the social context and social processes that subsequently cause (new) adverse changes of health problems on the family, community and societal levels.

Key expertise covers:
A) Design, implement and lead scientific research on:
– mental health in non-Western context and among migrants and refugees in the Netherlands
– mental health in post-conflict areas and mental health of individuals from (post) conflict areas and those affected by disasters
– ecological (multi-level and cross-level) effects of disasters and conflicts on the health of the population and their (social) interactions
– effects of social support and coping on health and wellbeing
B) Development and evaluation (efficacy and effectiveness) of comprehensive interventions addressing the impact of organized violence, armed conflict and poverty on the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing on both individual and community level within complex emergencies and low resource settings.

Beitske Kooistra

Driven by the desire to ban injustice and inequality from the world, Beitske has developed herself from a social worker into a project manager in the humanitarian field. In the Netherlands she worked – for people who applied for asylum here – with UNICEF, the Dutch Council for Refugees and the Study Center for Children, Migration and Law. In Greece she has set up a psychosocial support program as project coordinator in the largest refugee camp in Europe, Moria Lesvos. The core value of this program is that it has been designed and is implemented by the residents of the camp. It has a focus on education for children and adults and on psychological support. Beitske played a facilitating role in this process on behalf of the Boat Refugee Foundation.

In the North of Greece Beitske has set up a community-building project to facilitate interaction between people from a refugee camp and nearby villages. In addition, she is working on the implementation of psychosocial help aimed at empowerment and recovery.

LinkedIn Profile 

Annet Koopsen

Annet Koopsen is a lawyer specialized in legal aid for victims of human trafficking. She is a master of law and has a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

She assists victims of trafficking in human beings in both criminal and residence proceedings. She is affiliated with the Amsterdam Coordination Point for Human Trafficking (ACM) and the Prostitution and Health Centre (P&G292).

Annet teaches on this subject to lawyers at the Social Law Courses (OSR), Leiden University and the Free University, and to judges and prosecutors at the Study Centre for the Judiciary (SSR). With the Dutch Helsinki Committee she has also provided trainings on this subject in Serbia, Albania, Ukraine, Slovakia, Bosnia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary.

Sammy Koorn

Sammy Koorn has worked for several volunteer organisations and has found her place with Doctors of the World. Both the PsychoSocial consultations for undocumented refugees and the METS training give her a lot of energy. Caring for others has always been the motivation in study and work. And people who are forced to migrate deserve extra care. 

Furthermore, she is a co-founder of Roundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to the circulair economy by collecting goods and distributing such goods to projects and groups in need. For example by distributing electronic tablets to an orphanage in India. 

Sammy obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at the Free Universiteit in Amsterdam. She is currently doing a Pre-master in Environmental Science. 

Pim Kraan

Simon de Kruijff

Simon graduated at Tilburg University in june 2019. After his Bachelor Business Administration and Master Strategic Management he chose to enter the world of IT. Coincidentally he got in touch with Laguna Collective and he decided to stay around. “I really like to help connect passionate people, especially when their message can be so helpful to others”. From januari 2019 Simon facilitates Laguna Collective with IT related matters like communication platforms and the website.

Tonia Loizidou

Tonia Loizidou lives and works in Cyprus. She is a clinical psychologist, working with individuals, teens and couples, dealing with various difficulties. A substantial part of the population she treats suffers from anxiety disorders and trauma-related difficulties.  

Tonia has experience in the field of migration since 2006.  She has worked in various projects, providing psychological support and therapy to victims of torture, victims of trafficking, and other vulnerable individuals. She currently implements an oversees project with the Cyprus Refugee Council, the leading organization that supports refugees, of which she was one of the founding members. The project involves, a.o.: assessing and providing therapy to asylum seekers who are victims of torture, trafficking, or gender-based violence; preparing and implementing trainings on related matters; and advocating for the rights of refugees. She was also part of the team of professionals who developed and piloted the empowerment method ‘METS’ in five countries.  

It is with great pleasure that she has joined Laguna Collective as she strongly believes that great things can be achieved by the people involved!  

Kim Madundo

Kim Madundo is a psychiatrist at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) and one of only three practising in the Northern zone of Tanzania which serves a population of approximately 7 million. He completed his training as a medical doctor at the Catholic University in Mwanza and then as a psychiatrist at Muhimbili University, both in Tanzania.
In high school he was a committee member for the school charity program and in medical school served as President of the Global Health club for 3 years focusing on community outreach, educating students on youth-sensitive topics, and eventually co-developing the exchange program with Calgary University in Canada.
Kim has an interest in creating awareness and promoting research around mental health in Tanzania, studying mental health challenges among people living with HIV and other vulnerable groups, and validating psychometric tools for use in the Tanzanian context.

Afra van der Markt

Afra van der Markt graduated as a medical doctor in 2014 and became a psychiatrist in 2019. Her interest in transcultural psychiatry started during a medical internship in Russia and the following year in Belgium (where she also saw many patients from French-speaking African countries). During her training as a psychiatrist, she worked in the psychiatric field in Tanzania for six months, both in a psychiatric hospital and for the psychiatry department of a general hospital. She became very interested in the language and culture of East Africa. She founded a Swahili language group and became involved in organizing an annual psychiatry conference in Moshi, Tanzania.

Afra is currently working as a psychiatrist in a clinical department of GGZ inGeest, a large mental health care organization in the western part of the Netherlands. She is researching staging models for bipolar disorders.

Marijke Menninga

Marijke Menninga is a specialist in child development. In her education and career she has specialized in refugees of all ages in Dutch and Greek society. She worked as psychosocial support coordinator with Boat Refugee Foundation in refugee camp Moria on the Greek island of Lesvos several times. There she supervises the psychosocial support mission, that provides psychological support and education to children and adults. In the Netherlands Marijke worked on Best Interest of the Child-assessments with the Study Centre for Children, Migration and Law. She determined and raised awareness about the best interests of an individual child in their judicial procedure for a residence permit, by means of a diagnostic pedagogical assessment. She also trained psychologists and child development specialists to use the Best Interest of the Child-method and she coordinated the assessments on a national level.

Marijke researched unaccompanied refugee children and their experiences with violence in reception facilities and with (access to) health care. In addition, she’s an expert in education to children with developmental problems. She has experience teaching in special primary education in the Netherlands and coordinating non formal education for refugee children on Lesvos.  

Júlia Miragall Mas

Júlia Miragall Mas is an International Relations Graduate specialised in Foreign Policy. 
She has worked as a legal researcher and project manager at the Centre for African Justice, Peace and Human Rights’ Sexual Violence Team. Her work has included significant research on humanitarian situations in the African continent, with a special focus on the legal, social, cultural and economic obstacles faced by survivors of male sexual violence to accessing aid and justice. In addition, she has also addressed male sexual violence in the context of forced displacement and migration, as well as the special circumstances and challenges faced by survivors. For this purpose,she has conducted conflict analysis, as well as legal research on applicable national, regional and international law.
Furthermore, Júlia has also engaged in project design and implementation for awareness-raising and advocacy purposes, including the organization of events with high-level professionals, so as to strive towards breaking the stigma sorounding male sexual violence and promote effective solutions and policies to give response to such grave attrocities. 

Syangu Mkony

Dr. Syangu E. Mkony is a trained medical doctor with specialization in psychiatry and public health. She attained her medical education and master degree of public health from Muhimbili University of Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and a master degree of psychiatry from Dodoma University (UDOM).

Prior to medical specialization, she attended an international fellowship program with Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands on international public health and tropical medicine. Later on was employed at the Prime Minister’s Office, Drug Control Commission as a project manager in methadone services and subsequently as a treatment coordinator for substance dependence. Currently she is a practicing psychiatrist at Muhimbili National hospital campus of Mloganzila.

Syangu identifies herself as a person with empathy for marginalized population based on her work experience. Initially as a teenager working with different in school and out of school youth groups, then as a volunteer in street children homes, thereafter working with substance use disordered people, and presently with mentally disordered individuals.

Linde Mollers

Linde is a medical doctor with an interest in the universal right for health care and psychosocial support, especially for people living in the margins. She has been working in psychiatry and in 2018 she has worked in Moria, a refugee camp on the island of Lesvos in Greece.  There she worked as the medical coordinator for the Boat Refugee Foundation, where she focused on psychosocial care for the many traumatized refugees. In the Netherland she has worked as a volunteer with Doctors of the World and Institute for Human Right and Medical Assesments (IMMO).

Other than that, Linde is interested in Humanitarian Mediation. Currently Linde is working as a medical doctor at SOS International, an organisation that helps Dutch citizens when they get ill abroad.

LinkedIn Profile

Iris Neevel

Iris Neevel works as a psychologist for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Monrovia, Liberia. This project aims to improve access to mental health and epilepsy services. Iris’ responsibilities are mainly focused on the supervision and training of the local social workers. After returning to the Netherlands, she will continue her job as a Mental Health Psychologist and EMDR Practitioner at GGZ inGeest. Within GGZ inGeest, she works in an intensive clinical PTSD treatment program (PTSS-5) and a general mental health team (Prezens).

Iris has the ambition to specialize in trauma treatment and cross cultural psychology. She feels inspired and motivated while working together with people from different cultures. She does this every week during her voluntary work as a Mental Healthcare Psychologist at the Kruispost, a general practice for undocumented people in Amsterdam. She worked with patiënts suffering mental health problems in Brazil, Peru, Liberia and  Greece. 

Renée Nijenbandring

As a medical doctor Renée gained experience in the field of family medicine and psychiatry. She started out at the Equator Foundation (currently named ARQ/Centrum’45), a treatment centre for traumatised persons. Here she primarily focussed on the medical treatment of victims of human trafficking. Furthermore, she worked as a medical practitioner for underprivileged, indigenous populations in the South Mexican province Chiapas. Following a period of practicing family medicine she has been working in an addiction clinic over the past two years. Here she enthusiastically helps treating patients suffering from addiction. 

In addition to her professional experience Renée has affinity with the LGBTQAI+ community. Throughout her life she has been committed to help those who live on the edges of society.  

Naomi Press

Naomi Press is an art psychotherapist and supervisor with a background in community arts, development, and the visual arts. Based in France, she works with a number of international human rights organizations and in humanitarian settings with a specialist focus around refugees, displacement, and supporting artists and writers at risk. She is passionate about developing socially engaged and adaptive practices and trainings in psychosocial support, supporting mental health and resilience building through creative arts and art therapy based interventions. 

Naomi is part of the UK charity Art Refuge, and in 2015 initiated the development of a new project in partnership with Médecins du Monde in northern France to support the psychological needs of the displaced populations caught at the France-UK border. Since 2019 she co-runs the Paris programme of Art Refuge.

Naomi is accredited and registered with the UK’s Health Care Professionals Council and a member of the British Association of Art Therapists. She teaches as a guest lecturer in higher education settings and supervises art therapy trainees and other psychotherapists working in the field of human rights and humanitarian contexts. 


Lian Priemus

Lian Priemus had been working as a journalist/tv-maker/interviewcoach all her life when she got actively involved with refugees in 2015; then she met a group of Syrians who just arrived in Amsterdam. In cooperation with others in her neighbourhood she started a housing project where 30 refugees could live for 6 months in an empty office building. It was formally acknowledged by the authorities, and in the same time it respected the newcomers’ agency and dignity. The project aimed to prove that small scale shelters work better in  promoting integration and lead to a mutual understanding in neighbourhoods.

In 2017 Lian founded In My Backyard (IMBY), a follow-up project. Together with former refugee Anya Conkic they formed communities in 13 different neighborhoods in Amsterdam, where locals and newcomers meet and get to understand each other on a deeper level. In 2019 she asked Pim Scholte and Laguna Collective to help them develop a method to simultaneously promote personal growth and social connectedness in series of meetings of mixed groups. They named it Common Ground Works (CGW). In 2020, four CGW groups have started, and research on the method’s impact is being conducted.

Deepti Ramaswamy

Deepti Ramaswamy is a British psychotherapist specialising in trauma. She is also an EMDR consultant supervisor.

She worked within the National Health Service in the UK for several years before working overseas in the humanitarian sector. She has worked in Iraq, Syria, India, and Myanmar as a mental health specialist with IDPs and refugees providing clinical support, clinical supervision, and training on several topics. She also has global mental health experience having worked on projects related to the impact of HIV/TB/Hepatitis and malnutrition.

Deepti is currently doing her doctorate on how trauma including experiences of marginalisation, victimisation, and discrimination, influence a person’s identity in the context of their engagement with extremism.

Personal website

Jitske Rullmann

Jitske is a Clinical Psychologist, currently working for ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre, where she focusses mainly on the treatment of traumatized victims of human trafficking and of refugees that have lost loved ones in a traumatic way, suffering from traumatic grief. Apart from treatment, she works for ARQ International as an international trainer. The past few years she was working for Doctors Without Borders (MSF), where she was responsible for mental health programs in conflict areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

Jitske’s start in health care was as a physiotherapist, in which capacity she worked in Zambia for a few months. Through this combination of body and mind she has developed a holistic and creative perspective on the human being and a preference for experiential techniques in treatment and training.

Both within her work at ARQ and outside, Jitske is committed to training and sharing knowledge as a supervisor and teacher (RINO Amsterdam).

Kyra Sacks

Kyra Sacks studied Art and Education at the Utrecht School of the Arts in the Netherlands and at the University of Barcelona. She obtained her master’s degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam (cum laude). Splitting her time between Amsterdam and Athens, Kyra now works on a variety of multi-disciplinary projects combining art, anthropology and education.

Kyra is involved in research projects on topics such as migration, (mourning)rituals and placemaking in the city. In doing so she sets out to explore new forms of creating visual ethnographies. Besides this, she works as an independent artist and supports organisations on a strategic level with her drawings.

Personal Website
LinkedIn Profile

Pim Scholte

Pim Scholte, psychiatrist, is one of the founders and directors of Laguna Collective. He gained broad international experience in his work with various humanitarian aid organizations, which took place in (post-) conflict and refugee settings such as Kashmir, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Gaza strip, DR Congo, Rwanda, Sudan (Darfur), South Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Lesvos (Moria camp). He has been affiliated with the Amsterdam University Medical Centers (AMC) from the start of his career.

Pim was a Board member for Doctors Without Borders Holland for 12 years, during which he played an initiating and advisory role in mental health programming. For War Child Netherlands he acted as a methodology advisor. He was one of the founding board members of the department of Transcultural Psychiatry of the Dutch Psychiatric Association. He is the Chair of the Board at Antares Foundation, an agency promoting staff support and care in humanitarian and developmental organizations. He was the founder and director of Equator Foundation (now integrated in ARQ National Psychotrauma Center), a mental health care program for traumatized refugees and victims of human trafficking.  

Pim holds a PhD in mental health in war-affected populations and is the (co-)author of many scientific studies. He has trained and supervised numerous trainee psychiatrists and psychologists in the Dutch health care system as well as in international humanitarian crisis settings, and acted as a supervisor for various academic Master and PhD theses.

Presentations (YouTube):
TEDx Talk – The case of refugees 2016
NVvP Spring Conference 2019


Esther Schoonbeek

Esther Schoonbeek is a coach and a trainer. She focuses on encouraging and supporting people to get the best out of themselves so that they can participate equally in society.

After her training as an occupational therapist (BSc) and an anthropologist (MSc), she worked for more than ten years as a therapist with various target groups in psychiatry, with the emphasis on increasing individual independence and social cohesion. Within humanitarian aid she was involved in, among other things, the set-up and development of projects for Doctors without Borders and War Child in the Middle East and several African countries. She also lived and worked in Vietnam for a few years. She was the manager of programs for traumatized refugees and victims of human trafficking at Stichting Centrum 45 and Equator Foundation (merged into the ARQ National Psychotrauma Center). These programs included treatment, development, research and education.

Since 2007 Esther has been affiliated with the Antares Foundation, where she provides coaching, training and advice in the field of psychosocial support and stress management to humanitarian aid workers and their managers. As a volunteer at Humanitas she offers parenting support to families.

Rolf Schwarz

Rolf Schwarz (1946) is a psychiatrist. In the distant past he worked as a tropical doctor in Tanzania (1974-1979) and, a little more recently, as a tropical psychiatrist, also in Tanzania (1996 – 2000). From 1982 to 1994 he was a staff member at the department of psychiatry, University Hospital Amsterdam, with transcultural psychiatry – although he does not think this exists – as his specialty. This was followed by 2 years as medical director of the Sinai Centre for Jewish Mental Health care in Amersfoort. From 2002-2011 he acted as director of training at the Geestgronden, later inGeest. Thereafter he held for 5 years the position of medical director of Spoor 6 Addiction Care in Bussum. He currently works as a psychiatrist in a FACt team. There he met again his old love, social psychiatry, once the subject of his thesis.

Since 2000 Rolf has been involved with the Antares Foundation as an associate and in recent years also as a board member. Over the years he has continued to work with Tanzanian colleagues in the field of mental health. He has been one of the founders of the “Focus on Mental Health Conference”, an almost yearly event for Tanzanian and Dutch health care workers to come together. He is also the instigator and one of the senior supervisors of the Global Mental Health internship for Dutch residents in psychiatry.

Because of his own family history, working in the Sinai Center, work in an asylum seekers’ centre, and quite some professional contact with Veterans as well as people with addiction, Rolf has acquired knowledge and experience in the field of psychosocial trauma, without seeing himself as an expert-expert.

Jamilah Sherally

Jamilah Sherally is a medical doctor of Global Health and Tropical Medicine. After completing her post-graduate training, she worked with different international organisations in various low-resource settings, including Nigeria, Mali, Thailand and Lesbos. Currently she is enrolled in the Master’s International Health and she works for the Dutch Public Health Service (GGD) where she focuses on the health of the most marginalized in society.

Doha Debates, COVID19’s Threat to Refugees, 2020
Studium Generale, University of Utrecht, 2020
Dutch Global Health Film Festival, 2021


Marit Sijbrandij

Marit Sijbrandij is a full professor at the Department of Clinical, Neuro- and Developmental Psychology at the Free University (VU) and the director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center at the VU.

Marit conducts transdisciplinary and transmethodological research into prevention, (early) treatment and public mental health interventions for mental disorders among populations exposed to trauma and adversities, including refugees and individuals in low- and middle-income countries. She has completed multiple treatment studies, including research on debriefing in the acute aftermath of trauma, early cognitive behavioral therapy, internet-based prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder, and the effects of Psychological First Aid training for health professionals in Sierra Leone. She has also been involved in studies of the effects of the WHO scalable psychosocial interventions in Pakistan and Kenya.

Marit Sijbrandij is currently the coordinator of the EU H2020 STRENGTHS project, on the effectiveness of the scalable WHO programs for Syrian refugees in Europe and the Middle East. She is also the coordinator of the EU H2020 RESPOND project, which aims to improve the well-being of vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Personal Profile VU

Hannah Strohmeier

Hannah holds a PhD in Global Health and Development, a MSc in International Health, and a MA in Comparative and International Studies. From 2017 to 2019, she completed a two-year assignment as Fulbright Scholar / Visiting Assistant in Research at Yale University’s Department of Anthropology with a research focus on mental health in humanitarian crises. Hannah also serves as an International Program Affiliate of Yale’s Conflict, Resilience, and Health Program, and teaches the yearly seminar on crisis psychology at Akkon University of Applied Sciences for Human Sciences in Berlin.

In addition to her academic career, Hannah is working for the United Nations and non-governmental organizations in the fields of gender equality and health. Over the last ten years, her consulting work included assignments in the Maldives, Rwanda, South Sudan, Thailand, and a Headquarters position in New York. 


Mallika Taneja

Mallika Taneja is a theatre artist from New Delhi, India. Her work deals with questions of gendered experiences of the city, systems of justice, explorations of pleasure and rest, a deeper dive into issues of mental health. She is particularly interested in understanding ‘solidarity’ through performative exchanges and through the process of building ensembles and chorus.

Some of Mallika’s works include Rest of the Struggle, Allegedly, Zanana ka Zamana (time of the Femme), Aksar Yu hi Mehsoos Hota Hai (Often Sometimes it Feels like this) and Be Careful. She founded Women Walk at Midnight, Sex Chat Room, and Lost and Found. 

Mallika recieved the ZKB Acknowledgement Prize in 2015 and ZKB Patronage Prize in 2021. 

Links to works (via Instagram):
Rest of the Struggle

Marian Tankink

Marian Tankink (PhD) is a medical anthropologist and former community psychiatric nurse. She was awarded her PhD for her research on how refugee women from Afghanistan, Bosnia Herzegovina, and South-Sudan respond to personal experiences of sexual violence in their countries of origin, or during their flight. She works as a freelance researcher and trainer for (international) organizations, mainly in the Great Lake district in Africa. Her specialisation is on the relation between gender, violence, psychosocial wellbeing, and mental health from a family or community perspective in (post) conflict areas and among refugees.

From 2014-2019 Marian was the Editor in Chief of ‘Intervention, Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas’. Since 2015 she works with the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa on linking the fields of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support and Peacebuilding.

LinkedIn Profile

Martha Teijema

Martha Teijema studied International Law, Nursing and has a Master’s degree in Health Sciences. In addition she worked as a Lieutenant in the Dutch Army. Since 2016, she worked and lived in South Africa where she researched the collaboration between healthcare and religious structures for HIV service provision in a variety of set ups. Back in the Netherlands since the beginning of 2020, Martha now works for Doctors of the World where she is one of the coordinators for the psychological care for undocumented migrants in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam.

Martha has a versatile skill set and interest and is passionate about structural and sustainable interventions that have a long term focus. Equality, equity and autonomy are key elements in her work and she describes herself as a feminist.

Heleen Terwijn

Heleen Terwijn (1967) is the vice-chair of the Laguna Collective supervisory board. She is trained as a psychologist and psychotherapist, specialising in emotion, motivation and PTSS treatment.

In 1998, Heleen founded IMC Weekend School, a school for supplementary education for youth in underprivileged neighbourhoods. At the Weekend School, volunteer guest teachers introduce students into their professions, in the context of a multi-year curriculum aimed at personality development in interaction with society. As academic research shows, Weekend School education broadens students’ future perspectives, enhances their self-esteem, and strengthens social connectedness – two-sidedly. Among IMC Weekend School’s 65 Dutch locations, twelve are for so-called newcomers children hosted in language schools provided by the Dutch government. These latter Weekend Schools also serve to provide newcomers children and their families a warm welcome in the Netherlands.

Heleen is the director strategy at IMC Weekend School. She holds several board memberships at companies and social and cultural organisations, among which the Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra.

 As a Laguna Collective board member, Heleen is committed to support the organisation in reaching the professionality and scope that its target groups deserve. She considers Laguna Collective a much needed initiative and is encouraged by the involvement it generates from experts from so many professions.

Mark Timmer

Mark Timmer (1967) made the switch to theater after studying Personnel & Organization. He graduated at the Maastricht Theater Academy and attended the international Jekerstudio. After several years of directing performances in Flanders and the Netherlands, he became head of theater at Filmtheater Plaza Futura in Eindhoven. In 2002 he exchanged Brabant for Amsterdam and became artistic director of theatre GasthuisIn 2008 he became artistic director of Frascati. Frascati is a theatre (550 performances annually) and production house in the centre of the city. 

Frascati focuses on the development of progressive, independent performing arts and artists. The confrontation and dialogue with the world is the starting point. We intensively involve our artistic and social environment in the creation of our program. In our co-creations we create theater about society with society and develop programs, debates and context with which we interpret urgent issues. Within the new program line The (un)told city we have been working with De Bascule and Equator Foundation in recent years. 

Wietse Tol

Wietse A. Tol is Professor of Global Mental Health at the Section of Global Health, Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen; Professor by Special Appointment of Global Mental Health and Social Justice at the VU University Amsterdam; Adjunct Professor at the Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Senior Technical Advisor with HealthRight International. He holds an MA in Clinical and Health Psychology (Leiden University), a Ph.D. in Public Mental Health (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), and was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University.

Wietse’s research and practice focus on mental health and psychosocial support interventions for adversity-affected populations in low- and middle-income countries. In particular, his work centers on (integrated) interventions that address mental health and the social determinants of mental health, and he is very interested in understanding how research can lead to improved practice (and vice versa). He regularly consults with UN agencies and (international) non-governmental organizations in the areas of mental health and psychosocial support needs assessment, intervention selection and development, monitoring, and evaluation.


Sitsi Toonders

Sitsi obtained master’s degrees in Medicine and in Global Health at Maastricht University. As a medical doctor, she works for Doctors Without Borders and other NGOs, abroad and in the Netherlands. In her work, Sitsi focuses especially on access to healthcare and on mental health.

Sitsi is also specializing in Family Medicine at the University of Amsterdam.   

Ni Ni Tun

Ni Ni Tun is a medical doctor based in Yangon, Myanmar. She started working as a HIV/TB national coordinator with Médecins sans Frontières in Myanmar in 2003. She has trained around 1000 local doctors in HIV and TB case management and in STDs and malnutrition. She has published various articles about cytomegalovirus retinitis in Myanmar.

In 2009 Ni Ni joined a new medical organization, Medical Action Myanmar, with which she is working as a medical director, supervising the prevention and treatment programs of HIV, TB, malaria and the malnutrition program. In addition, she is the lead for HIV research for the Myanmar Oxford Clinical research Unit (MOCRU). MOCRU is a new tropical medical research organization formed as an extension of the medical research activities of the University of Oxford in Southeast Asia.

Since 2019, Ni Ni is working as the HIV and research advisor for Medical Action Myanmar and the Myanmar Oxford Clinical Research Unit. She is also doing a master’s study of Science in Tropical Medicine at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp.


Merlijn Twaalfhoven

Let’s bring an artist mindset to the most pressing and complex societal challenges. This is the mission of Merlijn Twaalfhoven, composer and artistic entrepreneur. He founded The Turn Club, a lab for arts in society. In this way, he creates space for imagination, beauty and play on places that are stuck in scarcity.

 As a composer, Merlijn creates music in conflict areas, refugee camps and other unusual places. Working with artists, scientists, diplomats, and other idealists in unconventional and creative ways, he seeks beauty, experiment and change.

Merlijn received a UNESCO award and works with the Kronos Quartet and the New York Philharmonic.

Personal Website
Twitter account

Sjouke Ummels

Sjouke Ummels, MSc, graduated in Pedagogical Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Pretoria . She has worked at international NGOs for over 10 years. In her work she contributes to the healthy psychosocial development of children and youth by creating safe learning and living environments. She does this as a trainer, concept developer and project manager.

Determined to specifically empower youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to a bright future, she founded the Superhero Academy. The Superhero Academy assists international NGOs, schools, and communities to empower (traumatized) children and youngsters. Besides providing training and consultancy to professionals working with youth, Sjouke provides training to children themselves.

Sjoukes specialties are resilience, social safety, inclusive learning environments and working in a trauma-informed way.

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Smriti Vallath

Dr Smriti Vallath, is a researcher with interest in policy initiatives. Dr Vallath has training in clinical psychology from the UK, her PhD from Free University, Amsterdam, and specializes in trauma and psychosis, especially among persons from ultra-vulnerable backgrounds. She currently works at The Banyan and The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM) in Chennai (India), a not-for-profit organisation focusing on minority mental health, especially homeless persons with severe mental illnesses. She currently heads research initiatives at the Department of Research, BALM, and is a faculty member of the department of applied psychology, and social work in mental health, at BALM.

Smriti’s primary research interests include trauma and its impact on severe mental illnesses; specifically to develop evidence based policy guidelines for treatment of trauma in psychosis. In her research endeavours, she explores the various facets of trauma, including sociocultural perceptions of trauma, intergenerational trauma, post traumatic stress disorder, psychological underpinnings of the interplay of trauma in severe mental illnesses.

Dr Smriti Vallath is trained in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and is currently training in Cognitive Analytic Therapy. Her practice involves innovative approaches that adapt western therapies to the Indian context, taking culture into account. She can be contacted at

Els van der Ven

Els van der Ven is a clinical psychologist and an Assistant Professor at the Free University Amsterdam. She teaches a variety of courses including on psychiatric epidemiology and psychopathology. As a clinician, she is involved with Doctors of the World where she provides psychosocial support to undocumented migrants.

In addition to Psychology, she studied Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her PhD thesis focused on the social determinants of psychosis, in particular the risk of psychosis among migrants and ethnic minorities.

In New York, Els investigated the impact of systemic racism on the onset of psychosis among racial-ethnic minorities in the US. She worked as a psychologist and researcher at first episode psychosis programs in the Netherlands, Montreal and New York, gaining experience in studying and treating people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds in a variety of settings.


Linda Verhaak

Linda Verhaak, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, currently works at ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre, with the expertise-team for victims of human trafficking and sexual violence. Before, she specialized in working with children, adolescents and their families, while operating in youth psychiatry for almost 20 years.

Linda gained international experience in working with ARQ International (War Trauma Foundation), collaborating with various international NGOs. In French, she provided mh-GAP trainings and ToTs to mental health workers in refugee camps in Cameroon, and trainings on attachment theory, system & couples therapy, and staff support to workers at the Panzi Hospital in DRC. She is a member of the International Mukwege Chair that aims to develop interdisciplinary research in the field of sexual violence. Currently she is also collaborating with Heal Africa and Cordaid in DRC (North and South Kivu) to train and supervise mental health workers in the field of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), to promote services from community based approaches to specialized care.

Particular expertise: psychotherapeutic treatment of victims of sexual violence and exploitation; training and supervision to psychologists. Linda has authored various articles in professional journals and contributed to several books.

Profile & Publication

Jentien Vermeulen

Jentien Vermeulen is a resident in psychiatry and a post-doc researcher at the Amsterdam University Medical Centers, location AMC. She obtained her PhD on a thesis entitled ‘Keep Quality in Mind’ in 2019. In 2015, she joined Doctors of the World to volunteer during mobile consultation hours for undocumented migrants in Amsterdam and provide medical care for refugees at Samos, Greece. Jentien is also a member of the board of ‘De Jonge Psychiater’, a platform for young and inspired scientists in psychiatry.

Steven van de Vijver

Steven van de Vijver is a general practitioner in Amsterdam and one of the board members of Laguna Collective. He was originally trained as a tropical doctor in order to work for Doctors without Borders (MSF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On return to the Netherlands he specialized in Family Medicine and completed his Masters in International Health. In collaboration with Joep Lange and the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD) he moved to Kenya with his family and stayed for three years at the African Population Health Research Center to complete his PhD on prevention of cardiovascular diseases in the slums of Nairobi.

Currently Steven is working as a general practitioner and leading the Family Medicine Department in the OLVG in Amsterdam. In addition he works as a Senior Advisor for the Amsterdam Health & Technology Institute. In the last few years Steven has been involved in various medical activities abroad like for example voluntuur work for Boat Refugee Foundation (BRF) on the isle of Lesvos.

During his last visit for BRF on Lesvos Steven initiated the movement SOS Moria in which almost 7000 European doctors joined in order to raise public awareness and political pressure to find a solution for the horrendous situation in the refugee camps on the Greek islands. In collaboration with several other actors like Stichting Vluchteling and the Joep Lange Institute Steven is also trying to develop a digital patient health record for refugees including mental health support through long distance support and artificial intelligence.

Published Books
Scientific Articles
ResearchGate Profile

Fransje van der Waals

Fransje van der Waals is the chair of the Laguna Collective supervisory board. She received her MD in 1978 and her PhD degree – Sex differences in Benzodiazepine use – in 1995 at the University of Amsterdam. From 1987-2001 she was assistant professor and head of the Women’s Health Studies Department at Amsterdam Medical Centre, and in 2014 she was appointed professor in Global Health Education at the Amsterdam University Medical Centres. 

In 2003 she founded Health[e]Foundation, a distance computer based training program for health care workers in the low- and middle income countries. Their first program was for health workers involved in treatment and care of HIV/AIDS patients, but the number of blended learning programs expanded from this initial HIV[e]Education program to Pediatric HIV[e]Education, TB[e]Education, Mental Health and HIV[e]Education, Cardiovascular Diseases[e]Education, Refugee care[e]Education, and Female&Family[e]Education. To promote prevention, they developed informative blended programs such as Health[e]Living (for adolescents) and Health[e]Community. Over 40.000 healthcare workers participated in Health[e]Foundation programs in seven different languages in 28 countries. 

Refugee Care[e]Education started as a free module for health care workers, focusing on mental health for Syrian refugees. Following this program, which was written by Ghayda Hassan (UNHCR), multiple other courses relating to refugees were developed and made available for health care workers in the Netherlands as well as those in southern European countries. The courses on refugee’s mental health were provided in collaboration with ARQ.

During her complete career Fransje van der Waals remained active as general practitioner and has been a partner in a general practice in the centre of Amsterdam for thirty-nine years. 

Phyllis Wallage

Phyllis Wallage is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, currently working for I-Psy/PsyQ Utrecht, for their intercultural team. Phyllis’ aim is to provide treatment to those who do not have easy access to regular care and are in dire need of treatment. From her own background, being a daughter of war children and refugees, care for refugees occupies a special place. She has extensive experience in the field of psychotrauma, dissociation, and personality disorders in individual, group, or systemic (family) settings of diverse cultural backgrounds.

Phyllis is a trainer and supervisor for postgraduate schools for both trainee Clinical Psychologists and Psychotherapists (RINO Noord-Holland and RINO Group). She is a senior lecturer for the Radboud Centre of Social Sciences on the subject of cultural diagnostics and treatment. She is a registered supervisor for the NVP, the Dutch Association for Psychotherapy. She has broad expertise in management and treatment policy implementation.

Besides this, Phyllis works as a psychosocial expert (PSE) for the International Criminal Court, for the Gender- and Children’s Unit. Work is carried out in multiple countries.  She feels privileged to support victims of war, genocide, sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) and to contribute to their voices being heard.

Frederick Wekesah

Dr. Frederick Murunga Wekesah is an Epidemiologist and a postdoctoral research scientist at the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC – Frederick holds a PhD in Epidemiology from the University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, the Netherlands (2019); and a Master of Science degree in Medicine in Population-based Field Epidemiology from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa (2010). He is also a 2019 Bernard Lown Scholar in Cardiovascular Health Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University.

Frederick’s research interests span non-communicable diseases and adolescent mental health. He has researched on cardiovascular diseases in the urban slums of Nairobi since 2008 and is currently prioritizing research on childhood obesity and hyperglycemia in pregnancy. Dr. Wekesah is a coinvestigator on the Kenya National Adolescent Mental Health Survey, a nationwide study on to determine the prevalence of, as well as risk and protective factors of child and adolescent mental health disorders in Kenya.

Frederick possesses strong qualitative and quantitative research and analytical skills. He has authored several scientific publications in international peer-reviewed journals and is a co-investigator on several research projects.

ResearchGate Profile

Willemine van de Wiel

A family doctor by training (Netherlands, 2009-2012) and a humanitarian by trade, Willemine is always eager to combine her interest in training and teaching with her passion for working in resource limited settings, especially in the field of mental health.

Willemine has worked and trained in Greece, Bangladesh, Libya, Democratic Republic of Congo, and India. Her expertise is the integration of subjects such as gender-based violence, psychiatry, refugee care in primary care, especially in low- and middle-income countries. In 2021 she completed a certified course in Global Mental Health at the University of Glasgow.

Currently Willemine works as a GP in a regular primary health center and an asylum seekers center, and volunteers as a medical advisor for Boat Refugee Foundation (BRF), a Dutch medical NGO operational in Greece.


Janine Wildschut

Janine Wildschut has a master’s in social sciences with a specialization in intercultural communication, extensive experience in working with groups of people in societies that are excluded: migrants, homeless people, problematic
substance users, groups that are extra vulnerable to HIV infections (substance users, sex workers and LGBT). Janine has worked with and for these communities both in the Netherlands and internationally: from hands-on work close to the

community to research and project management, always for small to medium sized NGOs. Central to her work are always: the stories of the people themselves, social justice and empowering people to raise their own voice (emancipation and empowerment). In every (managing) position of Janine ultimately the focus is to strengthening people’s positions, giving them the support they need and giving them space and / or learning to stand up for themselves. Access to health care for all these groups is a right and also a basis for contributing to the above reinforcement

In 2019, Janine became Head of Development programs at Doctors of the World. Doctors of the World The Netherlands fights for access to healthcare for all vulnerable people in the Netherlands (with a strong focus on undocumented migrants).

Janine is also active in supporting refugees and asylum seekers in her immediate living environment, first as a board member of a local VG&V support organization and currently as a board member of a small emergency fund for refugees in and around the city of Hilversum.

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Tim Wind

Tim Wind is a clinical psychologist, program manager e-health at ARQ/Centrum ’45, and head teacher e-health at Rino Amsterdam. He is a national ambassador of e-health in mental health care. As a clinician, he is specialized in psychotraumas and personality problems.

Tim co-founded Ehealth Specialists ( and Psychology Practice Amsterdam Center ( He started Learning Labs – an online academy for psychotherapy classes from the best teachers in the world – along with Rino Amsterdam. 

As a senior researcher (PhD) his research programme revolves around e-health, social capital and mental health. This research is conducted in collaboration with Utrecht University and the School of Public Health at Harvard University. 


Agnes Zegwaard

Agnes is a psychiatrist and a systemic family therapist (in training). Currently she works at the Center for Relational Therapy and at an outpatient clinic of Arkin Youth&Family, a large mental health care organization in Amsterdam. She treats and guides adolescents (16 to 24 years old), parents, partners and families with various mental health problems and (cultural) backgrounds. She also has an independent practice for relationship and family therapy in the heart of Amsterdam. As a physician, Agnes has spent years working with traumatized refugees and victims of human trafficking at a psychiatric treatment program (Equator Foundation) run by ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre.

As a person, medical doctor, and therapist, Agnes attaches great importance to the context in which people live and problems manifest themselves. Her work is characterized by a high degree of involvement, enthusiasm and warmth.