Jitse van Dijk, researcher and associate professor at the UMCG, was today awarded a Royal Decoration, presented by the Mayor of Ten Boer, André van den Nadort. Van Dijk was awarded that Decoration for the important contribution he has made to solving public health and healthcare problems in Central Europe.
Van Dijk has worked at the UMCG since 1982, first as a researcher and from 2008 as an associate professor at the Community and Occupational Medicine section of the Health Sciences department. He played a significant role in University of Groningen policy, for instance in the area of internationalization. He has also been working closely with Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Slovakia, for twenty years. This collaboration has allowed him to make an important contribution to solving public health and healthcare problems in Central Europe.
His work has been of particular value in improving the opportunities for people with chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, kidney failure and Parkinson’s disease to participate in society. Van Dijk also played a role in raising awareness of unhealthy behaviour and prevention among adolescents, and in dealing with important health problems in the Romani community.
The intensive collaboration with Košice has led to more than 25 PhD projects supervised by Van Dijk, as well as great appreciation for Van Dijk on the part of the Slovakian government. P. J. Šafárik University awarded him its Silver Medal in 2003, followed in 2012 by its Gold Medal.
In February 2016 Van Dijk officially retired, having celebrated his 65th birthday in 2015. However, he is still active on behalf of the UMCG in the collaboration with Košice, and is also working to bring about an expansion of the work into the Czech Republic.