Maria W. J. Jansen was born on January 26,1956 intheNetherlands. She studied Human Nutrition atWageningenUniversity. She did her internschip inSri Lankaand became involved in development issues of low-income countries. In 1981, she received her MSc degree, after which she started as a teacher in nutrition, patient education and epidemiology at a Higher Certificate school. She has been working at the South Limbrug Public Health Service since 1989. Her expertise is in multidisciplinary cooperation, inter-sectoral collaboration and integrated policy as a regular working method within the field of public health. She acts as an initiator of innovative public health concepts such as ‘Heartbeat’, ‘Schoolbeat’, ‘Integrated Senior Services’ and collaboration between public health and primary care. Since 2006 she is program leader of the Academic Collaborative Centre for Public Health Limburg, an innovative network organization in which staff of the 18 regional municipalities, Maastricht University Medical Centre and the regional Public Health Service share their knowledge and expertise with the aim of improving public health. She works as a boundary spanner to connect different academic disciplines and professional organizations.
Currently, she has been the supervisor of nine Ph.D. students who are doing practice-based academic research, and she has (co-)authored over 70 publications in peer-reviewed, professional journals or book chapters. She is married and mother of three children who are all students now. As a volunteer, she supported global issues in developing countries, during more than 25 years.