Herman Spanjaard

I began my first job as Occupational Health Physician at the Public Health Department of Amsterdam 30 years ago. I once was asked to wear a biteworker’s suit to train a forester’s dog! I then spent 6 years improving occupational health in government which gave me a better understanding of politics. In 1996 I started my own company and found clients in different sectors including a bike factory with chinese owners and a law firm where employees worked excessive hours.

My work today focuses on sick leave and return to work policies. I teach the next generation of physicians and enjoy inciting enthusiam in OEM. My studies in different countries and learning from different cultures helped me facilitate cooperation between employers, unions and govenrments on international projects, which is what I enjoy. So in 2013 when ACOEM asked me to serve as VP of my national OM society and to become a founding member of the International Occupational Medicine Societies Collaborative (IOMSC), I accepted without hesitation.

A global initiative has been launched to improve workers’ conditions through the understanding of  complexities and problems and to find common best practices. To some, our profession seems dull and not heroic; yet it is at the very center of society. OEM is one of the most exciting and challenging professions now and in the future.