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Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health

Together for more healthy years
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Grand Opening Aletta

15 March 2018

On the 15th of March, we opened the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health – together with those who work within or are interested in public health and Healthy Ageing. In this blog you can read more about the speakers of the Grand Opening.

Koert van Ittersum, Capability
Koert van Ittersum is a Professor of Marketing & Consumer Well-Being at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Groningen (UG). On March 15, he introduced the theme ‘Capability’. Koert: “The main objective of the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health is to add healthy years to people’s lives. People’s health is a function of their lifestyle and is largely determined by their diet and level of physical activity. In regards to the theme ‘Capability’, research has been done to study to what extent people are concerned about healthy living, to understand their related decision making processes and the factors that influence the choices they make.”

Besides Koert van Ittersum, also Koen Lemmink, Professor of Sports, Performance and Innovation, is representing the theme ‘Capability’.

Brigit Toebes, Justice
Brigit Toebes is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law (UG) and the Director of Global Health Law Groningen Research Centre. Together with Viola Angelini, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business (UG), she represents the theme ‘Justice’. On the March 15, Birgit explained ‘What law has got to do with healthy ageing’: “We are witnessing a number of serious challenges in relation to health including a change in disease patterns, some of which are lifestyle-related, as well as increasing health inequalities within and between regions, countries and states. Law and policy play a crucial role in addressing these challenges. Law can also be a concrete tool in regulating health systems and in curbing unhealthy behavior.”

Catharina Hartman, Resilience
Catharina Hartman, an Associate Professor at the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG), spoke about the theme ‘Resilience’. The focus of this theme is people’s resilience in relation to healthy ageing. A specific example from our region that relates to it and puts people’s resilience at test, are the Groningen earthquakes, which are caused by the gas extraction, conducted by NAM. The earthquakes and the damage caused to houses in the area have made the residents very vulnerable: approximately 16% of the 130.000 residents whose houses have been effected, encounter stress related health issues. That is an increase of 50% in comparison to unaffected residents.

Besides Catharina Hartman, Katherine Stroebe, an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences (UG), represents the theme ‘Resilience’.

Sandra Brouwer, Participation
Sandra Brouwer is a Professor of Community and Occupational Medicine at the UMCG. In her research, she focuses mainly on labour market participation and re-integration of vulnerable groups. Participating in society has a great effect on your well-being, however it is not always obvious that people are able to actively participate in society. Sandra says: “Economic, social and demographic changes have led to an increased need to include and maintain more (ageing) workers in the workforce, and to find ways to better enable workers with poor health to maintain employment. Although active labour market policies and programmes have been introduced, disabled people still have on average lower levels of employment and income than non-disabled people. With hope that we can change this trend, research projects have been done in close collaboration with other disciplines such as psychology, economy, and with a wide group of stakeholders.”

The second representative of the theme ‘Participation’ is Leo van Wissen, Professor Economic Demography at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences.

Alex Friedrich, Sustainabilty
Last but definitely not least, Alex Friedrich was one of the speakers at the Opening of the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health. Alex is a Professor of Medical Microbiology at the UMCG and represents the theme ‘Sustainability’. If we should healthily grow older together, we do have to find sustainable solutions for problems in our society. One of the greatest problems we face as a society is antibiotic resistance. Alex: “If the policy remains unchanged, simple operations or intensive care therapy will become life-threatening in the future. Antibiotics, which are required for safe treatment, then no longer work. We have already been experiencing the consequences of this problem. In order to really get started to work on this issue, we have to stop thinking in boxes, departments, professions or sectors and we have to look for solutions across the border. By investigating the cause of antibiotic resistance from the perspective of different disciplines, we can take larger steps towards a solution. The Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health is the first step to join forces of universities, governments, companies, health insurers, healthcare and educational institutions to form a collective policy. Only by working together we can continue to offer safe and affordable care in the future.”

Alex Friedrich gave his presentation together with veterinarian Drs. Maaike van den Berg.


> More information about the programma

Grand opening Aletta
Grand opening Aletta

Here you can watch more video's about the Grand Opening.

Last modified:26 April 2019 3.35 p.m.
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