Director-General National Institute Public Health professor Persuasive Communication

Published on March 8 2019 – Prof. Johannes (Hans) Brug, the current director-general of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, has been appointed as an unpaid professor  of Health Behaviour at (amongst others) the Department of Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam. Brug was dean of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences until September 2018. His research chair will focus on health and lifestyle behaviours, and how these can be promoted through effective communication.

Health behaviour and a healthy lifestyle are of great importance for people’s quality of life. It is the main determining factor for noncommunicable 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 physical activities. In an interview, Brug claims that people should be stimulated to make healthy decisions – healthy choices should be easy and affordable. Making the healthy choice the easy choice, is a key phrase from the WHO and we should try to make the healthy choice the default choice. At the Ministy of Health, Welfare, and Sport, people are made aware of the opportunity to task the stairs, and at the staircases there are motivational messages.

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.

More information can be found here.