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Dr C.A.M. van Bennekom (1959) has been appointed professor by special appointment of Rehabilitation and Labour, with a focus on those with acquired brain injury, at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA). The chair was established on behalf of the Heliomare Foundation.

bijzonder hoogleraar in de Revalidatie en arbeid
Photo: Jeroen Oerlemans

Over the course of the past ten years, Coen van Bennekom has specialised in cognitive rehabilitation in relation to the occupational reintegration of those suffering from acquired brain injury. This group requires additional attention in view of the often invisible effects of acquired brain injury. In many cases, employers, colleagues and company doctors will be unfamiliar with the symptoms, offering overly optimistic assessments of the employee's condition. This tends to result in failed reintegration attempts. Starting the occupational rehabilitation process at an early stage will help facilitate a successful reintegration effort. A PhD research project on the subject will be conducted in collaboration with the Coronel Institute for Occupational Health in 2014.

In Van Bennekom’s view, the labour potential of those with acquired brain injury is currently being underutilised. Key research objectives for the coming years will include research on and the implementation of successful rehabilitation strategies, cost-effectiveness analyses and further implementation of the Guideline on Acquired Brain Injury and Labour Participation (richtlijn NAH en arbeid). Research projects will be conducted in consultation with the AMC-UvA’s department of Rehabilitation. In addition to his research activities, Van Bennekom will also focus on teaching.

Van Bennekom works as a rehabilitation specialist at the department for Acquired Brain Injury at the Heliomare rehabilitation centre. He also serves as manager of the centre's Research & Development department and works as a clinician educator at the VUmc-Heliomare-Spaarne hospital's training programme.

In addition to his work for Heliomare, Van Bennekom serves as chairman of the Noord-Holland Noord Acquired Brain Injury consultants team, is a member of the Hersenstichting’s Acquired Brain Injury expert group and plays an active role in the European Platform for Rehabilitation. He has helped develop various guidelines, such as the CBO Guideline on Acquired Brain Injury and Labour Participation (CBO-richtlijn NAH en Arbeid) and the Traumatic Brain Injury Care Standard (Zorgstandaard Traumatisch Hersenletsel). Van Bennekom is co-supervisor to three PhD candidates specialising in acquired brain injury. He has obtained various grants through the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw). Van Bennekom has published extensively in professional journals such as the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation and Brain Injury.