Dick Willems has practiced for 15 years as a general practitioner. He also graduated as a philosopher and obtained a PhD in Philosophy. He has been a professor of medical ethics at the Academic Medical Centre / University of Amsterdam (AMC) since 2003. Research interests and supervision of PhD-students include ethical aspects of genetics, ethics of (big data) research in medicine, palliative care and end-of-life issues and home care/ self management technology. One of his more recent projects, that is part of a collaborative EU-funded KP7-project, investigates ethical issues related to the use of big data in research on sudden cardiac arrest, with the aim of personalizing approaches.
He is the former Chair of the Netherlands Association for Bioethics and of the Centre for Ethics and Health. He has been a PI and a researcher on numerous projects with both national and European funding and is an Ethics Adviser on EU-funded research projects. He is a co-leader of the Personalised Medicine programme within Amsterdam Public Health. He is the chair of the AMC’s care Ethics Committee and a member of both its Research Ethics Committee and its Biobanking Committee. He also chairs the Palliative Care Expertise Center & Regional Consortium at the AMC. He supervises PhD-students at the universities of Yogyakarta and Purwokerto, Indonesia, and regularly teaches at the École National Supérieur des Mines (MINES ParisTech) in Paris, France.
The focus of his research and teaching is on palliative care and end of life, personalized medicine, and the use of big data in health sciences research.