SIMONE VAN DEN HAM
(Forgotten) value of integral health
The social engagement of the Active Health Foundation (AHF) aimed at the awareness of the (forgotten) value of integral health, its focus on behavioural and cultural change and attention for the trinity – know, want, can – together make up one of the reasons I enjoy contributing in the role of secretary.
I say so….. so I won’t?
In addition, AHF not only focuses on the needs of the individual for practical knowledge and tools to choose for a healthier behaviour in all aspects of life and the psychological processes that make us say ‘A’ and do ‘B’, but also on the system within which we act. Varying from a living environment in which we are physically, verbally and socially nudged to unhealthy behaviour to a healthcare system in which the transition from ‘healthcare’ – giving the best care to the ill – to ‘health’, the philosophy to integrally facilitate health in our everyday life, fails to off the ground sufficiently.
Learning by pioneering and solidarity
Finally, I appreciate that the AHF dares to act according to the principle of ‘learning by doing’ and wants to push boundaries as an entrepreneurial pioneer. Valuable medical inventions like penicillin were the result of such a mentality. Out of a 21st century health solidarity philosophy (one for all, all for health), the AHF focuses extra on people for whom health, happiness and participation are not obvious.
Originally I am a historian, graduated (cum laude) on the subject of history of the attitude towards organic farming and food in the Netherlands.
What originated from a pioneering spirit, amazement about another vision on agriculture and food I knew from my childhood and the desire to contribute to a topical public discussion, resulted in the book ‘Wens en Werkelijkheid (Wish and Reality)’ about the discrepancy between our thoughts and actions. It opened doors to my job at the first Dutch urban food strategy ‘Proeftuin (testing ground) Amsterdam’. A logical next step was the research into the effectiveness of physical and socio- cultural intervention in the public spaces on health for the project ‘De Gezonde Wijk’ (Healthy Neighbourhood) for the Municipal Health Service(GGD) in Amsterdam. Equally logical was the move to my next job for the Strategy department of the Ministry of Agriculture which included the integration of sustainability into policy and an ‘open minded’ prospective discussion.
Out of curiosity about this ‘other world’ I made the switch from the public sector to the business sector. I supervised projects in the sustainable area development and developed sessions regarding innovative cooperation and learning evaluation. I became very experienced in communication skills during my work for High Focus projects of Facility Management at the ING Bank. In my current job as general manager at the Active Health Group all worlds come together. Within the divers playing field of the occupational health I facilitate a behavioural, mentality and cultural change aimed at an integral approach to health, working happiness and employability.
Be your health
Life events have taught me that health affects all aspects of life. That meaningfulness, social contacts and work are just as important – even when you are ill- as healthy food and breathing properly. It is about the art of living in the present and breathing properly. Structurally healthy behaviour requires more than knowledge; it is about finding your intrinsic motivation and experiencing your own possibilities to act. Be your health… many can help you, but in the end you have to do it yourself.