Child Health: science for life

The Child Health Program of the UMC Utrecht is an integrated framework for child-centered interdisciplinary research, aligning patients, clinicians, investigators and resources, so that we can improve both physical and mental health of children during childhood and thereafter. In this program we aim to lead by filling significant gaps for children with complex chronic diseases like perinatal damage, congenital disorders, severe inflammatory diseases and cancer-survivors.

Chair prof. C.K. van der Ent

The Program is chaired by Prof. dr. Kors van der Ent. Kors is an experienced pediatric pulmonologist with special interest for chronic diseases, like cystic fibrosis. Besides top-notch science he is mainly focused on what really matters for patients and their families. ‘Let’s collaborate on a culture of trust and innovation’.  

Societal impact

Last decades Pediatrics has been very successful in combating disease. The life expectancy of many disorders has improved significantly. But as a consequence many children survive with physical and mental consequences in the long term. This requires drastic changes in the healthcare of the future: Pediatrics should focus on the development of children towards healthy and balanced adults.

The Child Health Program unravels disease mechanisms with a view to the prevention and safe treatment of diseases in the long term. This requires intensive collaboration and cross-fertilization between basic and clinical scientists. But the program is also in constant interaction with the social environment where children  grow-up and develop: the family, the school, the sports club and the wide living environment. Child Health is a program in the midst of the child’s society.

Pushing boundaries through scientific research

Child research magazine

This magazine gives you an insight into the program and introduces you to our researchers and their subjects. We invite you to read more about our researchers and their subjects. Please contact them and work together - because children are our future!

'Child health - Science for Life'

Child Health is one of six UMC Utrecht-wide strategic research themes. All diseases in focus of the Child Health program are characterized by their influence on the individuals’ entire lifespan. These disorders often start at the beginning of life, or even before birth, and can have consequences far into adulthood. Within the Child Health program the ‘Cycle of Life’ approach is strongly intertwined with the so called ‘Cycle of Innovation’.  Within this ‘Cycle of Innovation’ ambitious interdisciplinary teams of patients, clinicians and investigators – from bench to bedside to society - strive to develop and implement novel approaches for treatment, (early) diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of children with chronic diseases to fulfill unmet medical and psychosocial needs, to improve the lives of these children and their relatives. Both cycles interact at any moment in our hospital. With science and research, we  provide the best possible care, today and in the future.

Research themes

Ante- and perinatal damage

This program has a life-cycle character, hosting several Centers of Excellence. It starts with care and research through periconceptional, antenatal and perinatal phases up to Neonatal Intensive care and research, aiming for the best longterm outcome of child health. Women, babies and their families are the centre of our service as we strive for excellence and innovation.

Congenital and hereditary disorders

Many disorders of genetic origin are extremely rare and require academic specialist care. The Child Health Program especially focuses on congenital diseases of the heart, liver and kidney and plays a key role in the respective European Reference Networks.

Severe inflammatory disorders 

The Child Health Program hosts several Centers of Excellence for children with sustained severe inflammatory disorders, like Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Cystic Fibrosis and Recurrent Respiratory Tract Infections.

Pediatrics and oncology

Treatment of cancer in children can result in severe physical and psychosocial consequences in later life. The Child Health Program closely collaborates with  the Princes Maxima Center to improve long term outcomes of cancer treatment.

Career development

Through our talent development programs we seek to highlight the achievements of our researchers and research partners. Read more about the programs and how to join us: 

Program commitee

The members of the Child Health program commitee are:

  • Prof. C.K. van der Ent (chair)
  • Prof.dr. M.J.N.L. Benders
  • Prof.dr. K.W.M. Bloemenkamp
  • Prof.dr. L.J. Bont
  • Prof.dr. A.L. Bredenoord
  • Dr. G. van Haaften
  • Prof.dr. A.B.J. Prakken
  • Prof.dr. N.M. Wulffraat


Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital 

Lundlaan 6

3584 EA Utrecht


drs. AW (Anneke) van der Brug

Coordinator of the Child Health Program