Meet the team

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PHA-Europe Governance Structure

The PHA-Europe Secretariat will be hosted in the Netherlands between January 2023 to December 2024. The day-to-day coordination is jointly run by University Maastricht and University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht). The Steering Committee consists of Prof. Pim Martens, Dr. Maud Huynen, Dr. George Downward and Dr. Joyce Browne. Martine Veenman and Lekha Rathod are the operational coordinators and can be reached through

The secretariat facilitates the different working groups through linking them to the wider PHA network, and sharing and disseminating information. We do this through our Newsletter, curating an PHA-Europe Agenda of Working Committees organized events and other events of interest for its members, and PHA-Europe hub update meet-ups (online & in-person). 

In addition, the Secretariat aims to:

  • Develop and maintain an online knowledge sharing platform (Launch aim: Q2 2023). 
  • Mobilize transdisciplinary networks to support research, policy-making, and action related to Planetary Health, bringing together experts from diverse fields to collaborate on solutions and to advocate for change at local, regional, and global levels.


Prof. dr. Pim Martens

Professor Dr. Pim Martens has a PhD in applied mathematics and biological sciences, is professor of planetary health and Dean of Maastricht University College Venlo. He is a scientist and founder of AnimalWise, a “think and do tank” integrating scientific knowledge and animal advocacy to bring about sustainable change in our relationship with animals.

Dr. Maud Huynen

Dr. Maud Huynen holds Masters Degrees in Environmental Health Science and Epidemiology and a Ph.D. in the field of Global health. She is an assistant professor at the Maastricht Sustainability Institute- MSI and at Campus Venlo.

Dr. Joyce Browne

Dr. Joyce Browne is a medical doctor and epidemiologist. The persisting global inequities in health are the driving force behind her work, which focuses on health equity, maternal health, planetary health and research capacity strengthening. She is an Associate Professor in Global Health & Epidemiology at the UMC Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Dr. George Downward

Dr. George Downward is an assistant professor at the UMCU and affiliated researcher at UU with a focus on environmental and planetary health research. He has backgrounds in clinical medicine, global health, and environmental epidemiology and his research focuses on how our changing environment impacts our health - especially in low-resource settings.


Martine Veenman

Martine Veenman is a PhD candidate in Planetary Health at Maastricht University. Her research focuses on the effects of climate change and climate change adaptation on (mental) health and its interrelations with agriculture, biodiversity and nature in rural areas in the Netherlands. She has a background in medicine and global health. At Maastricht University, she is engaged in education activities, among others teaching medical students about mental health awareness and stigma.

Lekha Rathod

Dr. Lekha Rathod is a research scientist and a medical doctor. She applies her interdisciplinary training to address, build capacity, and advocate for climate change and health. At UMCU, she is engaged in planetary health research and education activities. She co-leads the planetary health working group of junior doctors at the World Medical Association.