Innovations in Education

What could be more fulfilling than translating theory into skills and competencies that professionals can apply directly in their day-to-day practice? This is the feeling that drives me to create innovative education. However, for many of the insights that I have been able to acquire over time, through my own research and from elsewhere, there were no methods available to make this translation possible. In those cases, I created the methods or instruments required myself.
In doing so, I like to wander beyond the beaten track. Whether it concerns a course in qualitative research in a quantitative bastion like the AMC, consultative training on moral counseling for gynecologists and midwives or a completely new method to enable doctors and GP trainees to think about their own moral perspectives: it is precisely those subjects that are most difficult to put into practice that I enjoy the most.

Course in Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is a type of scientific research in which the results are not presented in the form of statistics and tables, but in texts, for example based on interviews. When I started at the AMC in 2001, you could have counted the number of qualitative researchers on one hand. The numbers quickly increased in the ensuing years. The Graduate School, where the PhD students are taught, did not have any courses on this specific type of research until 2008. Even nationwide, there was no single course that included all aspects of qualitative research. I therefore took the initiative to develop our own five-day course covering the entire process of devising, conducting and reporting on this type of research. With a maximum of fifteen students, the course was deliberately designed to be interactive. The resulting module, which I taught six times to students from across the Netherlands between 2008 – 2011, won the Most Outstanding Course Award at the AMC Graduate School.

MIMES consultation model

Using the expertise gained in my PhD research, I helped to develop a course for the Amsterdam region in 2007, entitled “Counseling on prenatal screening”. I had thought that I would be able to use existing methods for the consultation training. However, it emerged that there was no practical method available for discussing disappointing results and the related decisions. This is why I developed the MIMES method for moral counseling. The course is now entering its sixth year and the MIMES model continues to play a central role in it.
I also developed teaching based on this model for the Midwifery Academy Amsterdam. What I had suspected during development of the model turned out to be true: the MIMES consultation model is suited for all kinds of interaction with patients or clients in which care providers combine various roles. Through The Good Worker, we therefore offer the MIMES course for a variety of healthcare settings.

How can the teaching of ethics be made more enjoyable? And more reflective? Perhaps by working with images, preferably interactively? These were my initial thoughts when, in 2005, I first toyed with the idea of an online tool that could help doctors to address the issue of ethics in a way that was both meaningful and relevant. The pilot version that we developed for the General Practice training program in 2008 proved to be highly useful in teaching practice. With collaboration from a large number of academics specializing in ethics and other specialists and with funding from the AMC, we then created the version that is now generally available via This leaflet provides a brief description of Its launch in 2011 met with widespread interest. The national press gave it extensive coverage. was also received enthusiastically at a variety of conferences. The jewel in the crown was the prize I had the honor of receiving from my colleagues in the Netherlands Association of Bioethics (Nederlandse Vereniging van Bio-ethiek). The judging panel's report (March 2012) included the assessment that at that moment “this is probably the worldwide standard for online teaching in ethics”.
Through The Good Worker, as the inventor of Moralmap, I provide workshops for academics and trainers who wish to apply this online tool in their own teaching.