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Dr AP Verhoeff has been appointed extraordinary professor of Big Cities and Health Care at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

Dr AP Verhoeff has been appointed extraordinary professor of Big Cities and Health Care at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA). The chair is jointly supported by Vereniging SIGRA (Alliance of Healthcare Institutions in the Amsterdam Region) and Agis Zorgverzekeringen (Agis Health Insurances).

Arnoud Verhoeff’s professional career started at GGD Amsterdam (Municipal Health Service Amsterdam) in 1985 at the department of Environmental Medicine where he conducted research on - among other things - the quality of indoor home environments and the health of inhabitants. This resulted in a PhD degree at Erasmus University in 1994 on Home dampness, fungi and house dust mites, and respiratory symptoms in children. After receiving his PhD degree Verhoeff was given a scholarship by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This enabled him to work at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston for a year, where he developed a wide interest in the field of public health.

Verhoeff was appointed head of the department of Epidemiology, Documentation and Health Promotion of GGD Amsterdam, which is responsible for monitoring the health condition of the Amsterdam population, research on determinants of disease, and development and implementation of activities in the field of health promotion. As project leader, Verhoeff is responsible for the four-yearly public health policy plan of the city of Amsterdam, among other things. Furthermore, he leads several research projects, including the Amsterdam Health monitor, evaluation on the implementation of migrant health educatorsas a bridge between migrant clients and health prfessionals, and evaluation of the ‘Meldpunten Zorg & Overlast’ (complaints offices for care and annoyances) in Amsterdam.

Verhoeff, who has been trained as an epidemiologist, is particularly aware of the necessity of both epidemiological and social scientific research if an actual contribution is to be made to the improvement of the health of metropolitan populations. In its research, the group closely collaborates with, among others, the Academic Medical Center (AMC-UvA) and Vrije Universiteit (VU).

The teaching of the special chair focuses on the consequences of social and cultural differentiation for health problems in a multicultural, metropolitan poplulation. Furthermore the chair focuses on the way in which social, ethnic or religious groups deal with health problems themselves, and how these problems lead to requests for health care. Qualitatively oriented social scientific research on the exact nature and meaning thereof still needs to be further developed. There will be special attention for the nature of metropolitan health issues and the meaning thereof for health care, and for new developments in the field of health care.

Apart from his position at GGD Amsterdam, Verhoeff’s positions include those of executive member of the Vereniging voor Epidemiologie (Netherlands Society for Epidemiology) and president of the 5th International Conference on Urban Health (October 2006 in Amsterdam).