Prof. Johannes (Hans) Brug (1963) has been appointed professor of Health Behaviour at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA). The chair is an unpaid, part-time appointment, which Hans Brug will combine with his position as director-general of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) at the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS). Brug was dean of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences until September 2018.
Healthy behaviour and a healthy lifestyle are of great importance for people’s quality of life. It is the main determining factor for avoidable disease and mortality, and essential for the treatment and rehabilitation of physical and mental health disorders. The primary focus of the field of health behaviour is to stimulate and facilitate healthy behaviour. This includes identifying and understanding important societal and health care problems, explaining and predicting healthy and unhealthy behaviour, and influencing behaviour through communication and by shaping or changing the living environment.
As professor of Health Behaviour, Brug will focus on research into the important and changing determinants of behaviour and applications and effects for the promotion of healthy behaviour, with special attention for healthy eating and exercise behaviour. Because of the multidisciplinary character of this field of research, Brug’s chair will form part of the Persuasive Communication programme group of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and the department of Social Healthcare at Amsterdam University Medical Centers’ (Amsterdam UMC) AMC division.
With this new chair, the UvA will stimulate knowledge exchange between the university, Amsterdam UMC and the RIVM. Besides contributing to scientific research, Brug will also teach courses or give talks in the field of health and the promotion of healthy behaviour.
Hans Brug has been director-general of the RIVM since September 2018. Between September 2016 and his appointment at the RIVM, he was dean of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and professor of Healthy Behaviour and the Promotion of Health at the UvA. Previously, he was a member of the Board of Directors of VU University Medical Center Amsterdam (VUmc), dean of the Faculty of Medicine and professor of Epidemiology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam).
Brug studied nutritional sciences and epidemiology at Wageningen University and obtained his PhD in health sciences at Maastricht University. He was chair of the standing committee on Nutrition and a member of the Presidium Committee of the Health Council. He was also a member of various supervisory boards, including that of the Netherlands Nutrition Centre Foundation. In addition, Brug was a member of the editorial board of various scientific journals and of several advisory committees in the field of healthcare and prevention. He was president of the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity. Brug is honorary professor in the School of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences at Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia). He is also co-curator and author of the textbook Gezondheidsvoorlichting en Gedragsverandering (‘Health Education and Behavior Change’, Van Gorcum 2007), of which the 9th edition recently appeared.