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Prof. S.J.H.M van den Putte (1960) has been appointed professor of Health Communication at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

Bas Van den Putte
Photo: Jeroen Oerlemans

Over the next few years, Bas van den Putte will be researching ways to increase the efficacy of media and mass media communication aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle among various target groups (such as adolescents, young people and adults). Among other things, he will be looking into the inherent possibilities and impossibilities of traditional mass media, information provision through schools and businesses, and new forms of information provision and behavioural stimuli made possible through technological innovations in media communication. Ultimately, he seeks to identify ways of strengthening the cross-links between different communication media by exploring how the strengths of individual information media can be combined to the best effect.

In his research, Van den Putte is particularly interested in how people influence each other, through both mutual communication and observation. One of his key questions will therefore be how health information can be designed to reflect this, and specifically, how effective interaction between young people or between parents and their children can be stimulated. More broadly, he hopes to be able to apply his research findings in campaigns targeting the full gamut of lifestyle topics, including alcohol, smoking, exercise, nutrition, drugs and sexual behaviour.

The chair to which Van den Putte has been appointed was established jointly by the UvA and the Trimbos Institute, the national centre of expertise on mental health and addiction, based on their shared ambition to conduct research that will have concrete applications in the development and implementation of health communication.

Van den Putte has been affiliated with the UvA since 1987, and has been associate professor at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research since 2000. He has received numerous grants for health research, including several from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw).

Van den Putte has published in various leading scientific journals including Journal of Health Communication, Tobacco Control, Health Psychology and Preventive Medicine. He also sits on a several advisory bodies for health campaigns and research support committees, including at the Trimbos Institute, Rutgers WPF (centre of expertise on sexual health) and different ministries.