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Interview: prof. dr. T. de Vries

prof. dr. T. de Vries

I was trained as a medical doctor at the University of Groningen. This was also the place where I was trained in general practice and clinical pharmacology (PhD) and was appointed as lecturer in clinical pharmacology in 1980, later combined with work in general practice. In 1996 I accepted a professorship in Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy at the department of Medical Pharmacology at the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam. My main area of (research) interest has always been education in clinical pharmacology and especially in teaching all aspects of pharmacotherapy. The past few years all our research has been conducted under the Research and Expertise Centre In Pharmacotherapy Education (RECIPE) at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam. The objectives of RECIPE are: 1. The development of effective and attractive education for undergraduate and postgraduate students and teachers. This is based on knowledge of the process of therapeutic thinking and acting, as well as on recent insights in the field of education (evidence-based education). And 2; Conducting research concerning the process of therapeutic thinking and acting of physicians and under-and postgraduate students. In particular the treatment and drug selection process, both theoretically (declarative research), as in relation to schooling and training (impact research).

prof. dr. T de Vries

This line of research in pharmacotherapy teaching has a long history, it was the subject of my PhD thesis. Now looking back on my career, I can say that the most important publication has been the WHO Guide to Good Prescribing for students and doctors in 1995, and the accompanying Teachers Guide. The first mentioned guide describes a 6-step approach to rational prescribing, is translated in at least 23 languages (for example Arabic, Korean, Russian, Spanish, French and Bengali) and is now the best known and most widely used method in pharmacotherapy education worldwide.

The six-step concept of the WHO Guide to Good Prescribing was based on an unpublished observational study carried out in 1984 at the University of Groningen. To our knowledge, this was the first attempt to investigate therapeutic problem solving by doctors in real practice. Over 500 patient consultations by 25 general practitioners and 25 clinical specialists were observed and recorded, and doctors were interviewed about their therapeutic reasoning. From this study, it became evident that therapeutic problem solving consists of six steps. The 6 step method since then has been evaluated in several studies worldwide. Systematic reviews in the past 8 years have indicated that the WHO Guide to Good Prescribing is the only model that is widely used and has the largest body of evidence supporting its use to improve prescribing competencies internationally.

I am very pleased with the fact that the WHO Guide to Good Prescribing has led to the worldwide awareness that medical students should be trained in therapeutic reasoning in order to prescribe drugs rationally and safely.

[headline_box text=”Résumé”]
Who are you?

Theo de Vries, born in 1948 in Sneek, trained as General practitioner at the University of Groningen.

When and where did you graduate?

1979, Medicine, University of Groningen.

What is your area of expertise?

Clinical pharmacology and pharmacotherapy (education) in particular.

What is your current position?

Emeritus professor in Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam. Chairman of the Education committee of the Dutch Association of Clinical Pharmacology (NVKF&B).

What were your previous positions?

Professor in Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam. Chair of the education subcommittee of the European Association of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (EACPT). Has worked as general practitioner from 1987-1993 in Groningen.

What are your research interests?

My main area of interest is education in clinical pharmacology and pharmacotherapy teaching.

Publications?

Co-author of many manuscripts in international peer-reviewed clinical pharmacology and medical education journals; and co-author of the WHO Guide to Good Prescribing which presented the WHO 6 step model for students and doctors (Available here), and the accompanying Teachers Guide to Good Prescribing.

Awards?

Winner of the 2015 European EACPT Lifetime Achievement award in Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics education. Winner of the 1st Education award of the Dutch Association of Clinical Pharmacology (NVKF&B) in 2015.

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