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Focus not on the costs but on the social benefits of healthy ageing – Dean Herman de Jong on the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health

09 January 2018
Herman de Jong

After an inspiring exploratory phase, during which everything fell into place for the instigators, the way was open to give the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health its own place in Groningen. Will it be a physical place? Will a true ‘school’ along British lines emerge?

‘The final form is not really relevant’, says Herman de Jong, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business. ‘What is essential is that we create a scientific and social network to lift current and future research on health issues to a higher plane and translate it into concrete social solutions.’

Shift the focus from costs to yields

‘If we want to give new models a chance in our health system, we must shift the focus from costs to yields. When you take a closer look at the economic and social benefits of living longer and in good health, the cost aspects automatically shift perspective. Taking this positive approach you can then jointly search for objective, scientifically supported answers to the questions of what the government and health sector can do to influence behaviour and how to efficiently organize healthcare. There’s one thing we must not forget, however; in the Netherlands we have the luxury of being able to organize qualitatively good healthcare. It goes without saying that there’s also a price tag. If we can make the benefits clearer, the support base for the costs will also expand.’

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