In 2017, researchers from ESSB, led by Prof. Dr. Semiha Denktas, started Healthy'R. In collaboration with the City of Rotterdam, this centre of expertise aims to encourage residents of Rotterdam to live healthier lives. The researchers have already designed several successful interventions that stimulate residents to make healthier choices during the past four years, especially residents from vulnerable groups. Because of these successful interventions and the good cooperation, the municipality of Rotterdam and the researchers are now extending their collaboration.
Health scientist Dr. Paul Kocken has been involved with Healthy'R for two years. Kocken previously worked at the GGD and TNO. He decided to make the switch to the university to deepen his knowledge of health psychology. And to do research that would really benefit the people of Rotterdam. One intervention by Health'R in which Kocken is involved is called Grip en Gezondheid (BeHealthy'R study). This project helps Rotterdam residents to stop smoking. The intervention consists of three components: a Less Stress course, a buddy system and nudging techniques. The intervention has proven to be very successful. People are less stressed and less dependent on smoking. Kocken: "The BeHealthy'R study achieved very good results. We even received interest from a financial service provider and an insurance company to include the intervention in their insurance package.
Covid-19 crisis and mental resilience
Due to the success of the various projects and interventions, the municipality has decided to extend the collaboration with the Healthy'R researchers. The extension will enable Healthy'R to also play a role in solving the various health problems that arose from the pandemic. Kocken: "We see that some people are emerging from the Covid-19 crisis reasonably well, but other groups are not. With Healthy'R, we want to work on mental resilience in the city. The use of digital interventions is also getting much attention. At the same time, we need to see if all groups in the city can keep up with digital innovations. During the pandemic, we researched eHealth, such as digital consultations at the GP. We saw that some groups, such as the highly educated, have good digital skills. Other groups lack these skills. With Healthy'R, we want all residents to emerge from the crisis healthy and able to keep up with new health care innovations."