Focus of research

As the head of the research group RISC Amsterdam I am involved in research projects on health risk communication and decision making.

RISC Amsterdam:

In the RISC expert centre, we perform interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research on health risk communication and decision making, and integrate scientific knowledge with policy and practice. The RISC expert centre is established at the Department of Public and Occupational and belongs to the Section QOC Quality and Organization of Care. We work closely with The National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

Risk communication is a challenge !

One of the challenges concerns the different perspectives on health risks, in particular between health professionals or experts and citizens. Risk communication as a research topic as well as a practice is particularly important to help people understand the health risks they face, foster informed decisions and encourage people to prevent or minimize these health risks.


Our aim:  

Contribute to the understanding of health risk communication and decision-making; and as a result: (a) provide citizens, patients, professionals and policy makers with accurate, adequate and timely information about risks and benefits; (b) advise stakeholders in policy and practice  about health risk communication, to support them to deal wisely with risks and to make deliberated and informed choices.  

Our research:

The research is theory-based, practice- informed and citizen-centred and focuses on the following themes and topics.

  • Individual Health Decision Making: How do citizens and patients make decision in line with their values? To optimize health decisions, relevant and understandable information is important.
  • Shared Decision Making: How do patients and health professionals make collaborative decisions for treatment and care? To optimize shared decision making conditions need to be created to enable this, such as decision aids.
  • Health and Risk Literacy: How do people differing in capacities deal with health risk information and  make informed decisions? To support those who need it most, and reduce health inequalities, specific training, tools and information need to be designed.
  • Uncertain risks and science communication: How do the public understand (uncertain) health risks? To increase the public’s understanding of science, a public-centred approach is needed acknowledging different views on risks and values.

Topics: cancer screening, prenatal screening, health checks, infectious diseases and vaccination, food safety, environmental risks (e.g. electromagnetic fields, intensive livestock farming), healthy behaviour and cardiovascular risks, cancer treatment, maternity care.


risk communication, risk perception, informed decision-making, public health, science communication