Keynote Speakers

Ute Bültmann
Professor of Work and Health, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Dr. Ute Bültmann is Professor of Work and Health, in particular from a life course epidemiological perspective, and Program Leader of Public Health Research at the Department of Health Sciences, Community and Occupational Medicine of the University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. She graduated in Health Sciences from Maastricht University in 1997 and earned her PhD at the Department of Epidemiology at the same university in 2002. Her PhD research looked at fatigue and psychological distress in the working population, in particular the role of work and lifestyle. From 2003 until 2007, she worked at the National Institute of Occupational Health in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she remains an affiliated guest professor. Bültmann is also affiliated with the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and is involved in collaborative research projects on labour market experiences and health in Denmark, Sweden and Canada.

Bültmann’s research interests include the epidemiology of work and health and the measurement of health-related functioning at work. Her current research activities focus on adding a life course perspective to work and health research, and on translating findings into relevant policy and practice measures to make a difference in achieving healthy working lives. She is one of 34 leading scientists to be awarded a Vici grant in 2017 by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, one of the largest grants for individual scientists in the country. The award supports her research assessing mental health and work challenges with a life-course lens to support young workers transitioning into work and to facilitate a healthy working life.

In her keynote lecture she will focus on how a life course perspective can deepen the understanding of the dynamic interplay between work and health.

Why a life course lens when looking at work and health? The working life is preceded by childhood and adolescence with schooling and training and followed by retirement and older age. To date, detailed knowledge about the transitions people make, e.g., the transition from school to work, transitions during working life such as changing careers or the transition out of work towards retirement – and the impact of these transitions on trajectories of health, well-being and work functioning is lacking.

Maria Melchior
Research Director Pierre Louis Institute for Epidemiology and Public Health (IPLESP), French Institute of Health and Medical Research, Paris, France

Lars Louis Andersen
Professor, National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark

Lars L. Andersen is Professor at the National Research Centre for the Working Environment in Copenhagen, Denmark. He obtained his PhD at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen in 2008. His current research on work environment covers 1) epidemiological studies to investigate risk factors for sickness absence and disability pension 2) randomized controlled trials with physical exercise programs and participatory ergonomics to prevent and reduce back or neck pain and to improve work ability and wellbeing, 3) laboratory studies with physiological measurement to study responses to office work as well as heavy and fatiguing work, 4) healthy senior working life.

The keynote will present risk factors for sickness absence and disability pension based on Nordic studies with access to high-quality registers on labor market participation. Results from the SeniorWorkingLife ( study – investigating Push and Stay factors among older workers – will also be presented to discuss possibilities for action at the individual, workplace and society level.

Allard J. van der Beek
Professor of Occupational Epidemiology, Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Allard J. van der Beek (1964) obtained his MSc degree at the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences (VU University Amsterdam). He worked at the Coronel Institute for Occupational Health (Academic Medical Center / University of Amsterdam) on different projects regarding adverse health effects related to physical workload and work stress. He obtained his PhD degree on the thesis entitled ‘Assessment of workload in lorry drivers’ in 1994. Furthermore, he was, among others, the principal investigator in a national programming study on priorities in occupational health research. After a couple of years at the Department of Public Health (Erasmus MC, Rotterdam), he moved back to Amsterdam to the Department of Public and Occupational Health (VU University Medical Center).

Since 2007, Allard is holding a tenured position as Professor of Occupational Epidemiology. Presently, he is head of the Department of Public and Occupational Health. After having served as co-director of the EMGO+ Institute’s research programme ‘Musculoskeletal Health’ for many years, since 2017 he is the co-director of the Amsterdam Public Health research institute’s (which succeeded EMGO+) programme ‘Societal Participation & Health’.

His main research topics have been exposure assessment, (cost-)effectiveness of interventions, worksite health promotion, etiology of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and work stress, and insurance medicine. Allard van der Beek is (co-)author of around 350 scientific papers published in peer-reviewed, international journals (H-index: 46). He supervised 36 researchers who successfully defended their PhD thesis, and is supervising another 12 PhD students now.

As of 2002 he is coordinator of Body@Work, Research Center Physical Activity, Work & Health, TNO-VUmc. Furthermore, Allard van der Beek serves as member of the Program Board of the Research Center for Insurance Medicine AMC-UMCG-UWV-VUmc; he was chair of this board during the period Jan 2007 – Jul 2010.

Allard was Organiser and treasurer of the 4th International Scientific Conference ‘PREMUS 2001’, Member of the Supervisory Board and treasurer of the 16th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association ‘IEA 2006’, Organiser and co-chair of the 4th International Scientific Conference ‘ICOH-WOPS 2010’, Co-organiser of the 23rd Conference on Epidemiology in Occupational Health ‘EPICOH 2013’, and Organiser and co-chair of the 4th International Scientific Conference ‘Wellbeing at work 2016’.

His keynote at Work Disability Prevention and Integration Conference (WDPI) 2019 is entitled “Why do some retire early while others keep working beyond retirement?”. It will focus on the present tendency of prolonging working lives, and the differences between workers with and without chronic disease among those of older age and between low- and high-educated people.

Katherine Lippel
Professor and holder of the Canada Research Chair on Occupational Health and Safety Law, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

Katherine Lippel, LLL, 1977, LLM, 1983, is a full professor of law at the Faculty of Law (Civil Law Section) at the University of Ottawa and holds the Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health and Safety Law (  She is also a member of the CINBIOSE research centre. She specialises in legal issues relating to occupational health and safety, workers’ compensation and return to work after work injury and has been a member of the Québec Bar Association since 1978.

She was a mentor in the Work Disability Prevention Strategic Training Programme led by Dr. Patrick Loisel and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research between 2002 and 2015 and was responsible for training on disability insurance systems and their effects on return-to-work dynamics.

She has received various awards for her research and was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2010. In 2017 she was awarded the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Gold Medal, the Council’s highest award.

Her keynote presentation will focus on the importance of considering system effects on the return to work process. System effects as understood in this presentation refer to the effects of rules governing the work disability insurance process that influence the behaviour of employers, workers, health care providers and insurers themselves. The regulatory contexts of relevance include workers’ compensation systems and other cause-based systems as well as sickness and disability insurance systems.