Do you get excited about quantitative research with a strong societal focus? Would you like to contribute to reducing health inequalities? And do you like to cooperate with policymakers and health care professionals in setting up and evaluating high impact interventions? Then we are looking for you as our new PhD candidate at the Department of Public Health
, within the Equity Line of the Erasmus Initiative "Smarter Choices for Better Health
Socioeconomic inequalities in health are large and persistent. In the Netherlands, the difference in life expectancy between the lowest and the highest educated is around 4.5 years, while the difference in (self-perceived) healthy life expectancy amounts to 13.5 years. Policies and interventions often focus on the health behavior of high-risk groups to reduce these inequalities. However, health behavior is just one of the many factors contributing to them. Where people are born, grow up, live, work and age, their access to financial and health resources, and the income protection against shocks (falling ill, employment loss) all contribute to inequalities in health. Often, these so-called social determinants of health interact with health behaviors and affect abilities to participate and benefit from health interventions in both preventive and curative care. It is likely that the inability of many interventions to reach a substantial part of the population is due to the fact that this broader social context is insufficiently take into account.
As PhD candidate you will contribute to unravelling the impact of different social determinants on inequalities in health. In particular you will focus on how these determinants impact inequalities in reach, uptake, adherence and effectiveness of interventions in curative care and prevention. You will combine the use of novel administrative data sources, which provide population wide information on a much wider range of societal determinants than previously possible, with econometric techniques, which allow the identification of causal effects through interventions and policy changes. You will collaborate with various stakeholders (e.g., clinical departments, policymakers, municipal health services) to identify most promising interventions and policies, introduced in social policy or in a clinical setting, targeting social determinants of health. This may include interventions to stimulate active transportation, treatment choice for trauma care, and the use and health effects of (cancer) screening programs.
The project is embedded within the "Smarter Choices for Better Health" initiative of Erasmus University and Erasmus Medical Center, and as such enables you to collaborate with a research team that includes a comprehensive mixture of relevant backgrounds, including public health, epidemiology, economics, sociology, and clinical practice. This project will allow you to gain experience with a broad range of quantitative research methods, scientific communication and a direct link to policy and practice.