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Frederieke Schaafsma studied medicine at the University of Leiden (1989-1997). She  specialized in occupational medicine at the Netherlands School of Public and Occupational Health in Utrecht (1999-2003). She worked as an occupational physician at the Arbo Groep Gak and at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. She received her PhD in 2007. The topic of her thesis was ‘Evidence-based Medicine for Occupational Health Care’. For this she received the ‘Burgerpenning’ by the Dutch Association for Occupational Health Care’ for best scientific contribution in the Netherlands over the years of 2007 and 2008.

From 2007 until the end of 2010 Frederieke Schaafsma lived and worked part-time in Sydney (Australia). She was employed at the University of Sydney working on various research projects related to work and health. In 2011 she returned to the Netherlands and started working as an occupational physician in Amsterdam for a local Occupational Health Service. In 2012 she started as senior researcher at the department of public and occupational health care at the VUmc. Her research topics focus on occupational health care and insurance medicine.