On Thursday 23 January, Prof. Hans Ormel was presented with a royal decoration by Ms Janny Vlietstra, mayor of Haren. Ormel was made a Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion. He received the award primarily in recognition of his exceptional performance as a top researcher in the field of common psychiatric disorders, particularly depression. The ceremony took place during the annual symposium of the University Centre for Psychiatry, which was dedicated to Ormel’s retirement.
The scientific work conducted by Hans Ormel in recent decades has had great influence on various research fields at home and abroad, including clinical and health psychology, psychiatry, gerontology and medical sociology. His research has led to numerous important insights and various initiatives to improve first-line care, including the importance of underlining a reticent, step-by-step approach to tackling symptoms of depression in order to prevent unnecessary, aggressive interventions.
In 2001, Ormel and his Rotterdam colleague Frank Verhulst founded the long-term research project TRAILS (TRacking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey). This research tracks the physical and mental development of over 2500 adolescents in the north of the Netherlands and has led to important results for preventive and curative treatments. He was also the principal investigator involved in the large-scale research projects MIND-IT (Myocardial InfarctioN and Depression-Intervention Trial) and INSTEL (Interventie Studie Eerste Lijn - First-line Intervention Study).
In addition, Ormel founded the Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation (ICPE) and turned it into a flourishing research group. During his career he was often the binding factor between various research groups and researchers, both national and international.
Hans Ormel will remain active as a part-time professor of psychiatric epidemiology and will continue to contribute to TRAILS and the NWO Gravitation – Individual Development research project.
Hans Ormel (1946) studied Sociology at the University of Groningen and gained a PhD in 1980 with a thesis entitled ‘moeite met leven of een moeilijk leven’ [Difficulty with life or a difficult life]. Since 1981 he has been working for the UMCG/University of Groningen either directly or indirectly. In 1994, Ormel was appointed professor of Social Epidemiology and since 1996 holds the chair in Social Psychiatry, in particular Psychiatric Epidemiology. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Washington, the Center for Health Studies in Seattle and the Institute of Psychiatry in London, and fellow-in-residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) in the Humanities and Social Sciences of the KNAW. In 2007 Ormel became head of the Interdisciplinary Center Psychpathology and Emotion Regulation (ICPE), part of the University Centre for Psychiatry of the UMCG.
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