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Mirjam Sombroek appointed member of Health Council

By Royal Decree, Mirjam Sombroek van Doorm was appointed as a member of the Health Council of the Netherlands as of 1 January 2024. She has joined the standing committee for Ethics and Law as well as the temporary Brain Injury through Sports Committee. The Health Council of the Netherlands is an independent scientific advisory body that has a legal duty to advise the Dutch Government and Parliament on the broad field of public health and healthcare. Its starting point is always the state of knowledge.

As a Professor of Law and Health, Mirjam will be an active member of the Ethics and Law Committee. This committee provides solicited and unsolicited advice on issues and developments in the field of public health that are of ethical and legal significance. The committee also supports other Council committees where important legal and ethical issues emerge.

The second committee of which Mirjam is now a member is the Brain Injury through Sports Committee. This committee advises the Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) on the link between severe brain injuries and repeated headbutting and head injuries from contact sports. One million Dutch people say they play football on a very regular basis, for example. Heading balls is a key part of football and head contact also occurs in other sports as well. The Hersenstichting (Dutch Brain Foundation) advises against children incurring blows to the head. Good, reliable information on this subject is therefore essential.

Mirjam was appointed as a member of the Health Council of the Netherlands as of 1 January 2024 for a term of four years.

Most requests for advice come from the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport. The Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment are also regular commissioning parties. The House of Representatives can ask the Health Council for advice, and the Council takes the initiative to advise on scientific developments that may be relevant to government policy. 

In response to her appointment, Mirjam says:

‘I have served as an expert member of a Health Council committee twice before. At the time, the main issue concerned the permissibility of Covid-19 vaccinations for children. The committee actually brought together every aspect of my role as a Professor: law, ethics, health and the specific position of children. It’s a real honour to have been appointed as a permanent member of the Health Council of the Netherlands – I see it as an important role through which I can help the Council achieve its mission to improve the health of Dutch society based on scientific, independent, multidisciplinary, transparent, environment-conscious and policy-driven values.’

The full interview (in Dutch) with Mirjam Sombroek on vaccinating children is available at kinderrechten.nl.

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