Centre for General Practice
Faculteit Geneeskunde en Gezondheidswetenschappen,
University of Antwerp, Belgium / Primary health care
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I’m chairing the Department of Primary and Interdisciplinary Care at the University oif Antwerp. Being a professor of general practice and a visiting professor at the University of Hasselt my passion is to find out best ways to deliver primary healthcare to people and the community. I have over 30 years of experience in an Interdisciplinary primary care practice (encompassing general practitioners, assistants, nurses, psychologists, social health workers) ) in a rural training practice at the border of Belgium and the Netherlands. This provides me with knowledge of key issues for research.
Regarding primary care there are some issues that primary health care workers may detect among their patients and communities. For instance, less green space influences psychological well being. Noise and air pollution are especially important issues in Belgium (and in the Antwerp region in particular) and are brought into the consultation room of general practitioners often. Heating in the houses and cities is now becoming a majour issue especially for our most vulnerable populations like the very old and young.
With the help of the Province of Antwerp we have established a chair investigating in and teaching of the relation between the natural environment and primary health care. We aim to get students and academics involved. Although I live about 65 Km from the academic department I use public traffic and by three bikes (a speed pedelec, a pliable and a city bike) in different configurations to get me around in Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium and Europe.
I believe time is ready to get our natural environment and our own public role as a model on the agenda. For instance, I very often take my pliable bike into my department and the teaching rooms and I hope to model the attitudes of my students and fellow workers. Think globally but act locally is my way to go ahead and in the meantime we should keep on influencing our policymakers and provide them new evidence to support their strategies.