prof. dr. V. (Sanne) Smid

prof. dr. V. (Sanne) Smid

Associate Professor - medical
prof. dr. V. (Sanne) Smid
  • Integral pediatrics patient care

Research Programs

Child Health



Sanne was trained as a medical doctor (2006), pediatrician (2015) and pediatrician social pediatrics (2020) at the UMC Utrecht. In 2013 she obtained her PhD on her thesis entitled: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Adolescents – treatment, features and epidemiology.

She adapted an existing face-to-face cognitive behavioral therapy into a novel e-health application under supervison of Dr. van de Putte and Prof. Bleijenberg, which led to the Fatigue In Teenagers on the interNET (FITNET) trial discussed in her thesis in 2013.

In 2013 she received a two-year fellowship for clinical research by the UMC Utrecht, which enabled her to expand her research and to focus on fatigue in other childhood conditions: rheumatology, pulmonology, and oncology. She probed the severity and impact of fatigue and pain, and translated these insights into tailored e-health interventions.

From January 2016 onwards she works as a post-doc, and from October 2019 as associate professor, appointed by the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital to develop these innovative web-based platforms, and to empower personalized care and clinical research for patients/families with a pediatric chronic of life-threatening disease.

Her research is driven by the hypothesis that (chronic) childhood diseases influence many, if not all, aspects of a child’s life - not only physical, but also social, emotional, educational and economical. This proved an important driver in her professional career as a clinician-researcher. 

Her most recent project is an interdisciplinary project within the UU Dynamics of Youth strategic theme, which focusses on play (‘Healthy play, better coping’). Play is an important part of behavior and is thought to be vital for the healthy development of children. Chronic illnesses, such as cystic fibrosis, juvenile arthritis and cancer can negatively impact children’s physical, social-emotional and cognitive development, beyond the actual illness itself.
This project aims to build a strong network of scholars from various disciplines across the UU campus to help answer our main question on different levels: what is the adaptive functionality of play in children with chronic diseases?
In this consortium there is argued and worked on stimulating or modifying play behavior, either through preventive programs, (applied) games or interactive technology which could enhance adaptation of the child to the stress of a chronic illness to promote short- and long-term cognitive, social-emotional and psychomotor development. They strive for systematic research focusing on healthy play which will help young patients to better cope with the negative consequences of their illness and stimulate healthy development.

Specifically, the relationship of (impaired) play behaviour with psychological functioning of chronically ill children is further assessed in the national interdisciplinary eHealth Junior consortium (awarded with an NWA-ORC grant of 4.9 million, Sanne is one of the three core applicants), in order to provide a solid foundation of knowledge that aid in designing transdiagnostic and personalized eHealth interventions for chronically ill children. Targeted play- and game-interventions will be developed and evaluated to improve resilience in diseased children.

The future goal of Sanne Nijhof is to make evidence based e-health platforms available to all children, treating their fatigue and pain and daily consequences associated with various somatic conditions.

Side Activities

Member of Cyberpoli; giving medical advice to fatigued children and their parents (2014 – onwards)

postgraduate TULIPS  MD PhD curriculum, masterclasses in Paediatric Science organized by the Dutch Pediatric Society (NVK)

Fellowship and Awards

2018   Selected for the Elisabeth Steyn Parvé Program for talented female researcher.

2017   Co-applicant of HUB grant from Dynamics of Youth for the development of our project proposal ‘Healthy play, better coping’ into a position paper within an interdisciplinary team. €75.000. See: Unrestricted grant from patient association ‘Doorgaan met CVID’ and ‘Stichting Koen’ for further development FitNet-plus portal and research. (€18.000) 

2017     Citrienfonds NFU e-Health ‘Digital interaction’, ZonMW: Ecological Momentary Assessments in fatigued children with chronic of life-threatening diseases. (€30.000)

2016     Personal grant 'WKZ Fund': grant application for the conduction of the PRO-active study investigating patient reported outcomes in chronically diseased children. (€150.000)

2015     Personal 'unrestricted grant' from CSL Behring for the development of a FitNet+ portal (€25.000)

2015     International collaboration towards translating and adopting FitNet in English and to facilitate international research on chronic fatigue. Collaborators: Dr. E. Crawley, University of Bristol, UK. Co-applicant of HTA grant Investigating the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of using FitNet to treat paediatric CFS/ME in children in the UK (£999,977.80)

2014     Personal grant for the postgraduate course in translational medicine ‘6th Eureka Annual International Certificate Programme’ organized by Prof. Dr. B Prakken. Siracusa, Sicily, Italy

2013     Personal grant for the two year postgraduate MD PhD course ‘Training Upcoming Leaders In Pediatric Science (TULIPS)’  organized by the Dutch Pediatric Society (NVK)

2013     Personal grant 'UMC Utrecht Fellowship Klinisch Onderzoekstalent' (€60.000): two-year fellowship for clinical research issued by the Board of the UMC Utrecht

In 2013, Dr. Nijhof received a two-year fellowship for clinical research to continue the research on fatigue in combination with her residencies in general pediatrics. This grant was issued by the board of the UMC Utrecht. Aim: to explore the benefits of web-based fatigue treatment in pediatric auto-immune diseases and cancer survivors. International collaboration towards translating and adopting FitNet in English and to facilitate future international research on chronic fatigue.


-         Collin SM, Nijhof SL, van de Putte EM, Crawley E. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalitis (ME) is different in children compared to adults: a study of UK and Dutch clinical cohorts.  BMJ Open. 2015 Oct;5(10):e008830

 -         Nijhof LN, Wulffraat N, van de Putte EM, Nijhof SL. Prevalence of debilitating fatigue in adolescents with pediatric rheumatic diseases. Arthritis Care and Research. 2015 Aug 28. doi: 10.1002/acr.22710

-         Nijhof LN, Nijhof SL, van de Putte EM. Capita Selecta Kinderarts en   Wetenschap:  summary of article in Dutch. Kinderarts en Wetenschap 16 (2015), 33

2012     Maarten Kapelle Tweeling publication award (€1250) for best clinical research by Dutch Pediatric Society (NVK) 

Research Output (50)

Fatigue in children and adolescents perinatally infected with human immunodeficiency virus:an observational study

ter Haar A. M., der Vlist M. M.Nap van, Van den Hof M., Nijhof S. L., van Litsenburg R. R.L., Oostrom K. J., Pajkrt D. 20 Nov 2021, In: BMC Pediatrics. 21

Internet and smartphone-based ecological momentary assessment and personalized advice (PROfeel) in adolescents with chronic conditions:A feasibility study

Nap-van der Vlist Merel M., Houtveen Jan, Dalmeijer Geertje W., Grootenhuis Martha A., van der Ent Cornelis K., van Grotel Martine, Swart Joost F., van Montfrans Joris M., van de Putte Elise M., Nijhof Sanne L. Sep 2021, In: Internet Interventions. 25 , p. 1-10

Effectiveness of Internet-Based Cognitive Behavior Therapy (Fatigue in Teenagers on the Internet) for Adolescents With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Routine Clinical Care:Observational Study

Albers Eline, Nijhof Linde N, Berkelbach van der Sprenkel Emma E, van de Putte Elise M, Nijhof Sanne L, Knoop Hans 13 Aug 2021, In: Journal of Medical Internet Research. 23

Ruby's Mission:Towards an Applied Gaming Intervention for reducing Loneliness of Children with Chronic Illness

Alexandridis Dionysis, Bakkes Sander C.J., Nijhof Sanne L., Van De Putte Elise, Veltkamp Remco C. 3 Aug 2021, p. 1-13

Parent-Child Dyadic Coping and Quality of Life in Chronically Diseased Children

Nap-van der Vlist Merel M., van der Wal Reine C., Grosfeld Eva, van de Putte Elise M., Dalmeijer Geertje W., Grootenhuis Martha A., van der Ent Cornelis K., van den Heuvel-Eibrink Marry M., Swart Joost F., Bodenmann Guy, Finkenauer Catrin, Nijhof Sanne L. 28 Jul 2021, In: Frontiers in Psychology. 12

Reducing fatigue in pediatric rheumatic conditions:a systematic review

Kant-Smits K., Van Brussel M., Nijhof S., Van der Net J. 8 Jul 2021, In: Pediatric Rheumatology. 19 , p. 1-9

Role of parents in fatigue of children with a chronic disease:A cross-sectional study

Kramer Niels, Nijhof Sanne L., Van De Putte Elise M., Ketelaar Marjolijn, Grootenhuis Martha A., Van Der Ent Kors, Swart Joost F., Van Grotel Martine, Dalmeijer Geertje W., Nap-Van Der Vlist Merel M. 21 May 2021, In: BMJ paediatrics open. 5 , p. 1-9

Daily life participation in childhood chronic disease:A qualitative study on the child's and parent's perspective

Nap-Van Der Vlist Merel M., Berkelbach Van Der Sprenkel Emma E., Nijhof Linde N., Grootenhuis Martha A., Van Der Ent Cornelis K., Swart Joost F., Van Royen-Kerkhof Annet, Van Grotel Martine, Van De Putte Elise M., Nijhof Sanne L., Kars Marijke C. 18 May 2021, In: BMJ paediatrics open. 5 , p. 1-9

Fatigue among children with a chronic disease:A cross-sectional study

Nap-Van Der Vlist Merel M., Dalmeijer Geertje W., Grootenhuis Martha A., Van Der Ent Kors, Van Den Heuvel-Eibrink Marry M., Swart Joost F., Van De Putte Elise M., Nijhof Sanne L. 17 Feb 2021, In: BMJ paediatrics open. 5

Mental Wellbeing and General Health in Adolescents with Asthma:The Prevention and Incidence of Asthma and Mite Allergy Birth Cohort Study

van der Laan Sabine E I, de Hoog Marieke L A, Nijhof Sanne L, Gehring Ulrike, Vonk Judith M, van der Ent Cornelis K, Wijga Alet H 3 Feb 2021, In: The Journal of Pediatrics. 233 , p. 198-205.e2

All research output

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