Public and Occupational Health (social medicine)

Public and Occupational Health

Public Health is the link between medicine and society. Public and occupational health professionals focus on interaction with the environment, especially prevention and organization of health care. The focus is more on (groups of) the population rather than the individual. Professional practice in Social Medicine is divided into two mainstreams: Society and Health (Community Medicine) and Work and Health (Occupational Medicine). Around 20-25% of all physicians in the Netherlands carry out a profession within Social Medicine. Not all of these physicians, but most of them are also registered with a Social Medicine specialty, such as Youth health care physicians, Occupational physicians or Insurance physicians. The Department of Public and Occupational Health has three tasks:


There are five lines of research. Almost all research has been embedded into the Amsterdam Public Health research institute; a small part into Amsterdam Movement Sciences. The research is aimed at healthy people, but can also be patient- or population-oriented.


The department provides education for undergraduate medical students as well as trainings for postgraduate public and occupational health professionals and clinical specialists. The department also provides education for undergraduate and master students of Health Sciences and Human Movement Sciences of VU University and for the Amsterdam University College.

Academic workplaces

The department has several academic collaborative centers, so-called academic workplaces. These workplaces form the bridge between research and practice. In very close collaboration with practice, such academic workplaces aim for applied research, professionalization of health care professionals, and evidence-based innovation of care.