Health Hub Utrecht: a healthy, happy life for all

Good health and a happy life for all. Not just now, but into the future. From the cradle to the grave. From sunrise to sunset. Young and old. Rich and poor. Able and differently abled. This is the clear and singular mission that drives the thirty founding members of Health Hub Utrecht, or HHU.   

There is a lot of innovative power in the Dutch healthcare and social domain, and policymakers are keen to encourage progressive ideas and exciting new approaches. However, with every organisation working alongside any other in the past, true professional partnership is the real innovation for now.

All relevant domains included

High time then for a transition-ecosystem in which healthcare innovators, healthcare professionals, healthcare organisations and their funders work together with citizens for a truly targeted approach to answering societal needs. And with people expected to live five years longer by 2040, now is the perfect time to pool this wealth of knowledge and resources. Not just from the medical domain, from all relevant domains: medical, social, economic and spatial.

“Health Hub Utrecht gives concrete form to the desire for more cooperation in the region, as also expressed in the new cabinet’s plans. It makes the connection between the quality of life of residents, the power of entrepreneurs, and the ambition of governments,” says Eelco Eerenberg, Alderman for Public Health Utrecht Municipality and lead ambassador for Health Hub Utrecht

HHU brings together all the relevant players – practitioners and professionals, policymakers and administrations, educators and researchers, designers and innovators, startups, and entrepreneurs – so that all their knowledge and expertise in healthy urban living can be combined and applied. 

Top down and bottom up

Believing in the strength of partnership, Health Hub Utrecht is actively involving citizens in its holistic and integrated approach to transforming healthcare and wellbeing in the region. Because although thinking and acting big is crucial, so is taking small practical steps. 

Healthcare providers, knowledge institutions, resident’s associations, companies, neighbourhood groups, companies and municipalities are all invited to take on an active role in this new transition-ecosystem. The region plans to line up its efforts with national plans being introduced to make sure  our healthcare system stays qualitative and affordable for a future society with an ageing population. 

“Together really is better. We have so much medical, social, urban planning, and economic knowledge and experience in our region. We must pool it to deliver health and happiness for all our residents, now and in the future,” says Prof. Margriet Schneider, Chair of the UMC Utrecht Executive Board and lead ambassador for Health Hub Utrecht

Key Transition Programs

HHU’s first focal point is prevention in all policies. Therefore 4 main programs are being developed: a safe and healthy start in the first 1000 days of a child’s life, more mental resilience for kids and young adults, the possibility to live longer independently at home for seniors and creating healthy environments through integrated urban planning for everyone. 

Secondly, HHU aims to accelerate the digital transformation. A single, easy to use digital health platform that makes smarter use of knowledge and data is to increase backend compatibility between the various systems used by hospitals, healthcare institutions, and municipalities. But also to increase digital awareness and abilities amongst citizens and to reduce knowledge gaps where needed.

Finally, Health Hub Utrecht wants to create a vital and more attractive labour market for healthcare and well being workers. By removing organisational barriers and by encouraging people to work together and learn from each other, the region wants to act more and more as a single regional employer. Of course, education is key and new courses will be geared to meeting demand for new skills.

Next to these key transition programs Health Hub Utrecht looks for public-private innovation focused on peoples daily activities, like sleeping, eating, working, learning, playing, exercising or dating to name a few. In so-called living labs stakeholders can become co-creators as solutions are ‘fast forwarded’ before being rolled out on a wider scale. 

Together, we contribute towards a healthy and happy life for all.   

Margriet Schneider

Prof. Margriet Schneider Chairs the Executive Board of the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht since November 1, 2015. Before this, she was Chair of the Internal Medicine & Dermatology department at UMC Utrecht. In 2011, she was appointed Professor of Internal Medicine at Utrecht University. In 2013, she was the co-initiator and leader of the Professional Performance focus area at Utrecht University. Here, researchers from various scientific disciplines joined forces to map the implications of changes in work in a rapidly changing context.
Eelco Eerenberg

Eelco Eerenberg

Eelco Eerenberg (D66) has been an alderman in Utrecht since 19 December 2019. He is responsible for the Spatial Development, Education and Public Health portfolio. He is also responsible for the Rijnenburg and Groot Merwede projects (Merwedekanaalzone, Stationsgebied, Westraven and A12-zone), as well as being district alderman for the Leidsche Rijn district. Eerenberg is also a member of the VNG Care, Youth and Education Committee.

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Health Hub Utrecht: a healthy, happy life for all

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