RIVM: Innovation and Excellence

April 21, 2016

RIVM Evaluation Team

By Christy Craig

A culture and reputation for scientific excellence, innovative new programs to engage the community and measurable outcomes in improving public health were amongst the key findings of the April 10-13 Peer Evaluation of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in Bilthoven, the Netherlands.  

A review team led by Reinhard Burger (former President, Robert Koch Institute, Germany) and comprised of Camilla Stoltenberg (Director, National Institute of Public Health, Norway), Anthony Kessel (Director of Global Public Health, Public Health England), Anne-Catherine Viso (Director IANPHI Secretariat, SpH France), Jean-Claude Desenclos (Deputy Director, SpH France and Secretary General, IANPHI), and Courtenay Dusenbury (Director, IANPHI U.S. Office) interviewed stakeholders and RIVM’s leadership and staff, examined laboratory capacity and met with junior scientists and managers.  “RIVM is scientifically very strong and credible,” said Dr. Burger.  “It has great authority in the country and is considered to deliver very reliable scientific advice,” he noted.  “RIVM’s strategic plan for modernizing its operations includes many innovations that could be taken up by other NPHIs including cross-disciplinary teams and an innovative Leadership Academy,” he said. 

"It was a pretty amazing to experience how in a few days’ time this team had come to know the RIVM."

- Dr. Andre van der Zande, RIVM Director

RIVM Director Dr. Andre van der Zande noted that “The evaluation started with an internal preparation, which included an extensive SWOT and self-evaluation. For the audit, IANPHI had put together a highly qualified international team of directors. These colleagues with thorough knowledge of governance of public health institutes were clearly fully qualified to assess the RIVM performance as a whole...It was a pretty amazing to experience how in a few days’ time this team had come to know the RIVM. It resulted in perspicacious recommendations.  We obviously will discuss these internally, but also with the ministry, for follow-up.  Besides the valuable reflection, the outcomes help me in my future strategic discussions, a great experience!”

IANPHI’s Evaluation Tool is used to conduct peer-to-peer reviews of member institutes.  It was developed by a group of NPHI directors and expert staff and will be used to evaluate and provide recommendations to several IANPHI members this year.  

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2015 Evaluation: WIV-ISP Belgium