Meet the board

From left to right: Astrid, Lucinda, Guillermo, Evelien, Meredith, Aleksi and Aida

Below, you will find a personal description of each of the 7 board members of the Amsterdam Society of Medical Social Scientists. We invite you to get to know us just a little bit better.

Lucinda Bertels: President

I graduated from the master Medical Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Amsterdam in August 2016 with a thesis on the Dutch ‘consultatiebureau’, a place where parents go for check-ups of their young children, as well as receive advise. My main focus was on the role of advise in the relationship between professionals and parents. I then went on as a PhD candidate right after, at the department of General Practice at the Academic Medical Centre (AMC) in Amsterdam. The coming years I will try to find out why some people do not undergo follow-up research in the form of a colonoscopy in the Dutch population-based screening program for bowel cancer, after they receive an unfavourable result of the initial at-home screening.

I live in Haarlem with my husband and daughter (born August 2015). I have a broad research interest but have two topics that interest me more than others. The first is of course that of cancer screening, more specifically risk perception and management, illness definition, symptomatization/medicalisation and ethics. The second topic is parenthood, with themes such as birth, breastfeeding and cultural notions of what good parenting practices are.

Putting yourself in the market as a Medical Social Scientist can be challenging and I really hope we can work together to make it just a bit easier. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can mean anything to you, at

Lucinda Bertels

Aleksi Hupli: Vice President

I am trained as a medical anthropologist by the University of Amsterdam (MSc 2014) and as a sociologist by the University of Helsinki (MSocSc 2013). Both of my Master theses examined medical topics from a social scientific perspective: the first one analyzed political discourse on involuntary treatment of pregnant women with substance abuse problems in Finland (Hupli 2013a) and the second one enquired about different practices, perceptions and moral attitudes of university students in Holland engaged with the use of prescription drugs both in medical and non-medical ways (Hupli 2013b).

I´ve used both qualitative and quantitative research methods in my Master theses. In addition, I´ve worked alongside with researchers and PhD students at the University of Amsterdam, where I joined the Chemical Youth project as a junior researcher in April 2015. As part of the Chemical Youth grand tour in the Netherlands, I focused on methods and ethics of Internet ethnography and carried out a focused ethnography on stimulant use in the Amsterdam business area, Zuidas. I´m currently doing my PhD in Sociology at the University of Tampere, Finland, with a project that focuses on the use of psychostimulants and cannabis for therapeutic and enhancement purposes in the Netherlands, Finland and the United States. In addition to being a board member to the ASMSS, I´m a board member of the Finnish Association for Humane Drug Policy.

Aleksi Hupli

Evelien Oomen: Treasurer

Before I started the MAS program in 2015, I studied Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. In my second year, I became interested in the social consequences of the implementation of devises and technologies developed to improve human health, such as the cochlear implant or artificial reproductive technologies. For my master thesis, I went to Ghana (Accra) to do fieldwork on infertility, with a focus on the various ways in which support groups, counseling and the promotion of ARTs (mainly IVF and IUI) influence how Ghanaian women and men deal with their childlessness. My study is part of a multi-disciplinary Share-Net International research project in Kenya and Ghana (the same project Aida is in), which is to be completed in 2017 with the organization of a workshop in Accra and the publication of (an) article(s). In December 2016, I started working as program manager for the political science program groups of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) at the UvA. In this position two of my most significant interests come together: organization and social science research.

Evelien Oomen

Aida Bilajbegovic: Secretary 

Hi there! My name is Aida Bilajbegovic, 24 years old and living in Amsterdam. As a MSc in Medical Anthropology and Sociology I ultimately want to contribute to a healthier and fairer world. I have a passion for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and this has been the focus of my studies. During the previous academic year I had the opportunity to participate in a study involving women and men facing fertility issues in Nairobi, Kenya and I completed my master research on this topic. Currently I am doing a trainee-ship at Rutgers. What does this mean? Well, four days a week I work at the international department of comprehensive sexual education. At the same time I am following the Advanced Master in International Development (AMID) which means that I have to go to the Radboud University of Nijmegen every Friday. If you have any questions, please let me know. I am looking forward to meet you!

Aida Bilajbegovic

Meredith Overman: Membership and Events Assessor

In 2016, I obtained my master’s degree in Medical Anthropology and Sociology (UvA). For my master thesis, I designed and conducted an extensive research project in Surinam on the conceptualization of leprosy-related stigma and the role of awareness. Currently, I am a research assistant for the Faya Lobi Study led by Dr. S. Ramdas (AMC) in collaboration with the GGD on sexual behavior, condom use and hiv testing among Surinamese communities in the Netherlands. Additionally, I work at Photography Museum Amsterdam (FOAM) as a museum educator and I volunteer at Dokters van de Wereld. As a medical social scientist, I am interested in how different perspectives surrounding health and healthcare emerge and interact. My topics of interest are health-related stigma, leprosy, awareness enhancement surrounding health and healthcare, informal care (mantelzorg), ageing and elderly care, health and human rights, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and depression.

Meredith Overman

Astrid Parys: Education Assessor

Hello! My name is Astrid and I am currently in the middle of my master program in Medical Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. I plan to conduct fieldwork on how homeless people in Amsterdam experience and care for their bodies. I would love to stay in the field of Medical Anthropology and therefor think it is important that we, as students, get to know what’s out there and start to expand our network! Combining my role as student representative of the master program with my function at ASMSS allows me to keep close contact with students and engage them in our events!
Astrid Parys

Anais Wicke: Events Assessor 

My name is Anais Wicke, I started the master’s program Medical Anthropology and Sociology at the UvA in 2014 after obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology. Being very passionate about women’s health, I made Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights the focus of my studies. For my master’s thesis I conducted research in Berlin on women’s experiences with a specific kind of natural contraception. I looked into concepts as embodiment, medicalisation of the female body and choice.

The last months I have been on a baby break and now look forward to come back to the world of social science. Topics of interest apart from women’s health and sexuality, are food and diets, pregnany and birth, complementary medicine.

Anais Wicke