Prevention and Policy

This course is offered in Dutch. Some of the descriptions may therefore only be available in Dutch.

Course Objective

After the course students:
- have knowledge of the theories and key elements of policy and policy
development, the relation between policy and prevention
- have knowledge of the Dutch situation with respect to the organization
of health promotion and disease prevention both at the national and
local level and are able to apply theories of policy development to the
Dutch situation.
- are able to describe and explain how the impact of policy on health
can be evaluated and can apply several policy instruments such as “Quick
Scan Facet Policy” and "Health Impact Assessment".
- are able to address a public health problem from the point of view of
research, policy and practice and from different perspectives on public
health and are able to explain and discuss the complexity of policy
making and evaluating because of these different points of view.
- are able to explain and discuss future developments in the field of
policy and public health/ public policy and how this affects public
health policy in the Netherlands.
- are able to create a factsheet (and a scientific background paper) in
which is stated with sound argumentation and in a convincing way what
measures should be taken in a municipality to tackle a lifestyle
problem, taking different perspectives on health (promotion) into

Course Content

This course fits in the program of the specialization Prevention and
Public Health. Within this specialization you are trained to become a
health promotor who is able to work in a theory- & evidence-based way
and is able to link research, practice and policy.
The courses within this specialization are structured according to the
six steps of Intervention Mapping. These steps are: 1) Needs assessment,
2) Preparing matrices of change objectives, 3) Selecting theory-informed
intervention methods and practical applications, 4) Producing program
components and materials, 5) Planning program adoption, implementation,
and sustainability and 6) Planning for evaluation.
The course Prevention and Policy will pay special attention to step 5
and 6 of Intervention Mapping with a focus on policy.

The course starts with a short introduction into theories, definitions
and key elements of policy and policy development.
Examples from policies on disease prevention and health promotion are
used to illustrate this introduction. Next, the course will focus on the
development of local and national health policy and will continue by
outlining the reciprocal relation between policy and public health. On
the one hand, the health status of a population influences (local)
health policy. For example, institutes such as the RIVM gather
information about the population's health status. This information is
used by the national government to develop policy, which results in
prevention policy statements such as the statement "Dutch National
Program Prevention".
On the other hand, policy in various fields has an impact on disease
prevention and health promotion. Mostly, this concerns (local) health
policy that is developed and executed directly to improve people's
health status.
Examples are laws on smoke-free workplaces and public places or on
minimum age limits for off-premise sale of alcohol. Policy may also
impact health and health behavior indirectly via policy measures on non-
health domains, e.g. policy on environmental planning such as the
construction of safe bicycle tracks or providing extra subsidies for
sport participation for low income families. Special attention will be
paid to the development, implementation and evaluation of an integrated
approach in which different policy sectors and stakeholders collaborate
to tackle an unhealthy lifestyle by addressing both individual behavior
and environment.
Besides knowledge and insight into the relation between policy and
disease prevention and health promotion, practical skills will be
taught. Students will practice methods that can contribute to
development, implementation and evaluation of (intersectoral) health

Teaching Methods

This course is rewarded with 6 ECTs and runs from September until
October 2018.
Prevention and Policy is a part-time course of 8 weeks, this means that
21 hours a week are necessary to pursuit the goals of this course.
Regular attendance during the weeks is mandatory.

Teaching activities include: 12 Lectures (l), 5 Seminars (s), Practical
(pra): writing and presenting an inter-sectoral policy plan that
of a factsheet and a background document.

Method of Assessment

An individual examination that counts for 60% of the final grade of this
course. An assignment conducted in small groups, that counts for 40% of
the final grade of this course. The assignment consists of a factsheet
and a scientific background document. The pass mark for both the written
assignment as well as the written exam is 5.5 or higher.

Entry Requirements

At the start of this course, we expect you to master knowledge, insight,
attitude and skills at a level which is comparable to the final
qualifications stated by the Bachelor Health Sciences at the VU.


The compulsory literature of this course is the book:
Eyler A, Chrique JF, Moreland-Russell S and Brownson RC. ‘Prevention,
policy and Public Health’, Oxford University press 2016.
Additional compulsory literature will be announced on Canvas.

Target Audience

Msc students Health Sciences

Additional Information

Guest lecturers from the National Institute for Public Health and the
Environment (RIVM) and Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS).
IMPORTANT: This year the course will be given in Dutch.

Custom Course Registration

Registration for this course via VU-net. Registration for the assignment in subgroups via Canvas; obligated 1 week before the start of the course.

General Information

Course Code AM_470823
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition Dutch
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. ing. M.M. Goedendorp
Examiner dr. ing. M.M. Goedendorp
Teaching Staff dr. ing. M.M. Goedendorp

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture, Study Group, Computer lab
Target audiences

This course is also available as: