Prevention and Public Health

Scientific Development & Evaluation of Public Health Solutions

Health behaviours and environmental factors have a great impact on peoples’ health and well-being. Behaviours that influence health or the progress of disease are for example smoking, nutrition or physical exercise, but also screening for breast cancer or compliance with a prescribed therapy. Environmental factors that influence health are for example the availability of healthy foods, the prohibition of smoking in certain areas and the prices of alcohol.
In the field of prevention and public health, interventions are developed to promote healthy behaviours and a healthy environment in order to prevent diseases. The master-specialization Prevention and Public Health gives a broad overview of the theory, research and practice in this field. Attention is being paid to:

  • primary prevention (prevention of a disease), secondary prevention (early detection of a disease) as well as tertiary prevention (to prevent worse following if people already have a disease);
  • health behaviours as well as environmental influences on health;
  • health education, facilities, as well as policy as tools to influence health and health behaviour;
  • prevention of physical health problems (e.g. cancer, coronary heart diseases) as well as prevention of mental health problems (e.g. stress, depression);
  • interventions targeted at the general population as well as interventions targeted at high risk groups.

The master Prevention and Public Health provides tools for planning and designing theory- and evidence based health intervention programmes. The master also provides tools for evaluation research of these interventions.

Examples of interventions that will be studied during the master-specialization Prevention and Public Health:

  • A program to promote the consumption of fruit and vegetables at primary schools;
  • A mass media campaign to prevent alcohol abuse;
  • An intervention with individual counseling to quit smoking for heart patients;
  • A group intervention to prevent the development of a severe depression among people with light symptoms of a depression;
  • A program with sms-messages to enhance compliance to the medical regiment among HIV-patients;
  • An intervention at worksites to prevent overweight: nutrition education for employees and changes in the food supply of the canteen.


The following courses are part of the master Prevention and Public Health:

  • Care and prevention research (compulsory)
  • Health Promotion and disease prevention (compulsory) 
  • Health Psychology
  • Prevention and Policy
  • Communication campaigns and research
  • Prevention of mental health problemls 
  • Internship (five months)

Career prospects

Organizations in which masters in Prevention and Public Health work are for example Municipal Health Services (GGD), medical centers, centers for mental health prevention, national health organizations such as the Netherlands Heart Foundation, patient organisations, universities and research institutes such as the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research TNO.


The research of the section Prevention & Public Health is focused on the prevention of overweight in order to prevent diseases such as diabetes. We have expertise in the development, implementation and evaluation of both environmental and educational interventions. These interventions are for instance aimed at improving dietary behavior or physical activity behavior.

  • interventions aimed at portion size
  • pricing strategies to promote a healthy diet
  • the effectiveness of the Choices nutrition logo
  • nutrient profiling
  • active gaming
  • the relationship between diabetes and depression
  • community interventions to prevent overweight
  • treatment of obese children