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R. (Rita) van den Berg-Emons

Associate Professor

  • Department
  • Rehabilitation Medicine
Contact   External Profile



My research aims at understanding and improving the lifestyle of people with chronic conditions, with special focus on physical fitness, and to apply this in rehabilitation care. Main patient groups are spinal cord injury, subarachnoid hemorrhage, cardiovascular disease, and cerebral palsy. Research focusses on the impact of poor fitness on mobility, physical activity and sedentary behaviour, social participation, quality of life, and health. Based on this knowledge, lifestyle programs are developed, evaluated on (cost-)effectiveness and underlying mechanisms, and implemented as regular treatment.

Field(s) of expertise

physical fitness; exercise, training; people with chronic conditions; lifestyle; physical activity, sedentary Behaviour

Education and career

After graduating in Human Movement Sciences at Maastricht University (1988), I continued at that university with a PhD project on physical training of school children with spastic cerebral palsy. After my dissertation in 1996, I started as researcher at Erasmus MC, department of Rehabilitation Medicine, and continued my research on physical fitness and associated parameters in a broad range of people with a chronic physical condition, currently as associate professor. Between 2010 and 2019 I intensively built on the research policy in Libra Rehabilitation & Audiology, a large peripheral rehabilitation center in the south of the Netherlands, and on strengthening the collaboration with Erasmus MC.


For my publications, please see my researchgate profile.

Teaching activities

I am coordinator of the Minor ‘Rehabilitation, Movement behaviour & Sports’ (Bachelor Medicine, Erasmus University / Leiden University; Bachelor Clinical Technology, Delft University of Technology/Leiden University/Erasmus University) and  member of the organising committee of the ‘Active Lifestyle and Sports course (residents Physical Rehabilitation Medicine; Netherlands Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine). As co-promotor I supervise(d) several PhD-theses, with current PhD-projects on ‘Preserving health & vitality in cerebral palsy’ (S Noten), ‘Opticare-XL: (cost-) effectiveness of a novel tailor-made cardiac rehabilitation program for obese patients with coronary artery disease’ (I den Uijl), ‘Fatigue after subarachnoid hemorrhage’ (L de Vries), and ‘E-health in people with low social economic status’ (J Faber). 

Other positions

Member scientific staff department of Rehabilitation Medicine; Participation in ACE BrainMotion; Member of Physical Activity Community Erasmus MC (PACE); Editorial board member of ‘Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Revalidatiegeneeskunde’; Editorial board member of ‘Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine’; Member of AIR: national steering group for exercise physiology in rehabilitation; member of Netherlands Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine: working group on activity and sports.

Scholarships, grants, and awards

Recent grants: ZonMw/Capri Hartrevalidatie (2016); KEuro 516; Opticare-XL: effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a novel tailor-made cardiac rehabilitation program for obese patients with coronary artery disease (project leader, applicant); ZonMw; KEuro 50 (2018); Opticare-M/F: Towards a sex and gender sensitive approach of cardiac rehabilitation (project leader, co-applicant); CZ-Fonds (2018); Keuro 50: Innovation of fitness training in rehabilitation (project leader, applicant); Efficiency research Erasmus MC;  KEuro 50 (2019); Pilot study on treatment of fatigue in subarachnoid hemorrhage (co-project leader, co-applicant).