Alex Burdorf Prof., Ir. (Public Health)

I am professor of Determinants of Public Health at the Department of Public Health at Erasmus MC. The importance of health for social participation and the influence of social participation on health are important areas of my research. Health inequalities have been consistently present in most countries for many years and tackling them is a big challenge! Which diseases are responsible for the inequalities? Which determinants play a role in the occurrence of these diseases? How are different determinants interrelated? Participation in society probably plays an important role, whether it is participation in paid employment of persons at working age, or social participation of elderly persons in their own neighbourhood. Knowledge generation about determinants, however, is not enough. Research is also needed to demonstrate the ability of well-designed primary preventive interventions to improve population health and contribute to the aspired reduction in inequalities in health. Interventions on hazardous working conditions as well as unhealthy behaviours are necessary to increase health and sustained employability in the working age population. Interventions in the social and physical environment of citizens are needed for a healthier lifestyle. Interventions should empower young and old persons to remain actively engaged in society. And tools for health impact assessment must be developed to guide priorities in public health programs. These issues concern us all, they are global, hence my interest in the Rotterdam Global Health Initiative.