Alumnus testimonial

Martin Chaigneau - Environmental Health Advisor and Project Manager

Martin is a Environmental Health Advisor for Utrecht Municipal Council and Project Manager at Wij(k)Bouwen (a project that focuses on community development, which is being run by the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMW))

I feel that the Master’s programme has provided me with a solid foundation for the work that I do.

After I finished my Bachelor’s programme in Social Geography and Urban and Rural Planning, I wanted to do a health-related Master’s degree. The Health and Society Master’s programme offered me the opportunity to do this once I’d completed a customised pre-Master’s programme. The study programme introduced me to a broad range of health issues. The courses, and my thesis and traineeship provided me with ample scope to combine health and my knowledge of urban planning.

This provided me with the perfect springboard to get started as Environmental Health Advisor at Utrecht Municipal Council. Within this role, I advocate health concerns within the urban developments in our city. If a part of the city is being expanded or redesigned, my colleagues and I look at how this development can be used to promote the health of the local Utrechters.

I’ve also gradually started taking on other projects. Such as the work that I’m doing for the Utrecht Health Pact. Many residents, organisations and companies are working on improving their health in their own way. We bring these people into contact with each other and make sure that they know where to find us if they run into problems.

And last but foremost is my role of Project Manager at Wij(k) Bouwen. Throughout the entire country, we’re developing new residential areas from the ground up. We know full well how to build houses, but not as much work goes into developing social cohesion in these new neighbourhoods. Together with a team of people from a variety of social and health organisations, I’m discovering what subsequently works and what doesn’t. We try different things out, draw lessons from them and we’ll then apply what we’ve learnt in future residential neighbourhoods.

I feel that the Master’s programme has provided me with a solid foundation for the work that I do. It means that I have an adequate basic knowledge of most health issues, which allows me to establish connections with a broad range of organisations. This enables me to see substantial opportunities and connections between the different health and non-health disciplines and fields. And that’s something that I put to good use on a day-to-day basis!

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