Thesis Carin de Brouwer awarded with the NVAB ‘Burgerpenning’

23 May 2019

On 23 May 2019 The G.C.E.Burgerpenning 2019, a prize for the best publication in the field of occupational and industrial medicine, was awarded to Carin de Brouwer for her dissertation, entitled: “The potential of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) for preventive practice, research & education”. This biannual prize is awarded by the NVAB, the Netherlands Society of Occupational Medicine.

In her thesis, Carin de Brouwer unraveled the challenges that professionals within the field of occupational health face when switching to a more proactive style of working, to support indicated prevention. Her thesis revolved around an example of indicated prevention in occupational health care, aimed at prevention of future long-term sickness absence.

The results of the studies described in her thesis show that the bio-psychosocial approach, using the ICF as framework is well suited to address these challenges. This framework helps in (i) understanding the concept of "risk of future absenteeism", (ii) explaining the determinants that contribute to this risk, (iii) communicating this message to the relevant employee and (iv) in guidance of these employees.

Although the studies show that the potential of applying the ICF is huge, these studies also revealed that the Arbo professionals often feel insufficiently equipped to apply this bio-psychosocial approach in real-life practice. That is why it was also established, in a separate study, that a tailored training in the ICF of these professionals indeed leads to increased knowledge and skills in this area. The development of this successful curriculum is described in a separate chapter and has led to the publication of a manual that is used in educational practice.

Carin de Brouwer successfully defended her dissertation in 2018. Her PhD project was embedded in the School CAPRHI, unit occupational epidemiology, and was carried out under supervision of IJmert Kant, Guy Widdershoven and Ludo van Amelsvoort. She is now working as a teacher at the Fontys Hogeschool, Master Advanced Nursing, Tilburg.

More information can be found on the site of the NVAB: