Pharos (Dutch Centre of Expertise on Health Disparities)

Health Disparities

There are health inequalities in the Netherlands. Quality and accessibility of care and prevention differs significantly between groups.

Pharos is the national centre of expertise on health disparities. Our expertise focuses on:

  • Sustainable improvement of the quality, effectiveness and accessibility of care and prevention for people with limited health literacy, non-western migrants and refugees.
  • Reduce existing health disparities between different groups of people.

Our expertise focuses on the entire health care system and on all areas that are important for health.
We are also the national knowledge centre for the prevention of female genital mutilation.
The work of Pharos takes shape within a number of programmes and themes.

‘Gezond in…’ (‘Healthy in…’)

Pharos offers tailored advice and support on local approaches to health disparities to 164 targeted municipalities.

Prevention and Care for Chronic diseases

This programme aims to improve the effectiveness of care and prevention for people with low literate people and non-western migrants suffering from chronic conditions.

Safe and responsible use of medicines among people with poor (health) literacy and migrants

Pharos is working to improve the safe use of medicines among semi-literate people, non-western migrants and people with limited health literacy.

Youth Health Programme

Many children from a migrant background and children from families with a low socioeconomic status (SES) develop less successfully than other children in the Netherlands.

Participation and patient self-determination

We strengthen the position of the patient by making basic information about the health care system more accessible to them, and promote participation in patient organisations.

Female genital mutilation

Pharos is the national knowledge centre for FGM and has taken up the fight against FGM since 1993.

Asylum seekers and refugees

This Programme directs knowledge towards improving the quality and effectiveness of (preventive) health care for asylum seekers and refugees.

Limited Health Literacy

Overarching theme. Helps health care professionals to communicate effectively with low-literate patients. In addition we develop informative visual materials that can be used during conversations with patients/clients.

Health for the Elderly

The number of elderly people is increasing, and that also applies to elderly migrants. Non-Western and lower educated elderly people are generally in poorer health than Western and higher educated elderly people.


A project to stimulate early identification of torture victims in asylum procedures in European countries


Centre of expertise on health disparities
Arthur van Schendelstraat 600 (third floor)
3511 MJ  Utrecht
PO Box 13318
3507 LH Utrecht
The Netherlands
Tel. +31 30 234 9800

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