Back to profiles

Alex Burdorf

Full Professor
Alex Burdorf

Research group

Occupational health
Alex Burdorf

I am head of the Department of Public Health of the Erasmus University Medical Center, with, amongst others, research groups on social determinants of population health, determinants and interventions on health-related behaviours, and occupational health. I serve as member of the Netherlands Health Council and I am also editorial-in-chief of Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health. I am fascinated by research that matters, i.e. that contributes to solving societal problems. Recently, I am interested in the role of health in labour force participation, and the role of paid employment in health and health inequalities.

CV Curriculum Vitae

Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam
P.O. Box 2040
3000 CA Rotterdam

Visitor address:

Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam
Na building 2412
Dr. Molewaterplein 40
3015 GD Rotterdam

  •  Health, work ability, and labour force participation

Studies on effects of hazardous working conditions and individual lifestyle factors on work ability and health, and subsequent consequences for work (i.e. productivity, sickness absence, permanent disability, and early retirement). Studies on effects of health on labour force participation in the general population and among workers with chronic diseases. Methodology development in assessment of long-term consequences of ill health and in measurement of productivity loss at work. Experimental and observational studies on effects of reïntegration programmes combining health interventions and labour market activities.

  • Work-related risk factors of musculoskeletal disorders

Research on work-related risk factors, primarily physical load, of musculoskeletal disorders, such as low-back pain, upper extremities disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis. Etiological studies as well as systematic reviews. Methodology development in exposure assessment and in Markov-modelling of long-term trends.

  •  Methods for causal inference in observational studies

Many public health interventions cannot be evaluated in traditional randomised controlled trials. Hence, methods needs to be applied that use exogenous changes in policies, legislation or environments in so-called natural experiments with appropriate study design and statistical analysis.

  • Health impact assessment

Studies on effects on primary preventive interventions on population health (Rotterdam) and studies on the costs and effects of interventions in the workplace on worker’s health and working life expectancy.

Each year in the summer I teach a course on Methods in Public Health Research, please join if you are interested in a crash course on current methods and topics. See

  • Health Council of the Netherlands, Committee on Ultrafine Particles air pollution
  • ZonMW Scientific Committees Research in General Practice, Research on sickness absence, Economic resilience of women
  • Scientific advisory board of Public Health Future Scenarios RIVM
  • Advisory council of Netherlands Epidemiology Society
  • Scientific board of NIDI (Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute)
  • Board of Supervision VeiligheidNL

Publications list

Most relevant publications

Educational differences in duration of working life and loss of paid employment: working life expectancy in the Netherlands

Robroek SJW, Nieboer D, Järvholm B, Burdorf A.

Scand J Work Environ Health


Advancing mediation analysis in occupational health research

Oude Groeniger J, Burdorf A.

Scand J Work Environ Health


Does reduced employment protection increase the employment disadvantage of workers with low education and poorer health?

Schuring M, Robroek SJW, Carrino L, O’Prinsen AC, Oude Hengel K, Avendano M, Burdorf A.

J Epidemiol Commun Health

PRODISQ: PROductivity and DISease Questionnaire (PRODISQ) for the measurement (and valuation) of productivity costs.

See: Meerding WJ, IJzelenberg W, Koopmanschap MA, Severens JL, Burdorf A. Health status and work productivity among workers with high physical load jobs. J Clin Epidemiol 2005;58:517-23

See our videos for the Master Class on Sustainable Employability, developed with support of EIT Health.

Arbeid maakt ziek

A talk show on work, health and working lives.