I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences at Erasmus University College/Erasmus University Rotterdam. I conduct behavioral experiments trying to improve the health of people living in poverty. Next to research, I teach courses on research design, statistics and evidence-based policy making to tackle global challenges. I also work with non-profit and governmental organizations to translate evidence from rigorous research – i.e. what works – to practice.

research interests

  • Behavioral insights, including nudges;
  • Health promotion, in particular maternal and prenatal health;
  • Impact evaluations (example of project);
  • Evidence-based policy making;
  • Ecological/multilevel research.

current research projects

  • Multidisciplinary meetings and care pathways increase coordination in antenatal care: a clustered randomized controlled trial (abstract, also see the webinar);
  • One size fits all? Testing heterogeneous effects of nudges with a Massive Open Online Course
  • A short psychological intervention to reduce the performance gap between students from developed and less developed countries in a Massive Open Online Course

PhD supervision

Ashleigh Woodend, MSc. Applying behavioural insights for improving maternal health (Expected 2017)

Lisenne Giel, MSc. Closing in on the performance gap in education: a nudging approach (Expected 2019)

papers & co 

Schölmerich, V. L. N., & Kawachi, I. (2016). Translating the Socio-Ecological Perspective Into Multilevel Interventions Gaps Between Theory and Practice. Health Education & Behavior, 43(1), 17-20. (link)

Schölmerich, V. L. N., & Kawachi, I. (2016). Translating the Social-Ecological Perspective Into Multilevel Interventions for Family Planning How Far Are We? Health Education & Behavior, 43(3), 246-255.

Ashleigh Woodend, Vera Schölmerich, and Semiha Denktaş. (2015). “Nudges” to Prevent Behavioral Risk Factors Associated With Major Depressive Disorder. American Journal of Public Health. e-View Ahead of Print.

Posthumus, Anke G., Schölmerich, Vera LN et al. “The Association of Ethnic Minority Density with Late Entry into Antenatal Care in the Netherlands.” PloS one 10.4 (2015). (open access version)

Schölmerich, V.L.N. (2014, November 18). Born into Inequality. Erasmus University Rotterdam. (PhD thesis, download here)

Schölmerich VLN, Posthumus AG, Ghorashi H, Waelput AJM, Groenewegen P, Denktaş S. (2014) Improving interprofessional coordination in Dutch midwifery and obstetrics: a qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2014, 14:145 (open access version)

Schölmerich VLN, Erdem Ö, Borsboom G, Ghorashi H, Groenewegen P, Steegers EAP, Kawachi I, Denktas S. (2014) The Association of Neighborhood Social Capital and Ethnic (Minority) Density with Pregnancy Outcomes in the Netherlands. PLoS ONE 9(5): e95873. (open access version)

Peters IA, Schölmerich VLN, Veen van DW, Steegers EAP, Denktaş S. (2014) Recruitment of non-Western ethnic minority participants for reproductive health peer education. Journal for Multicultural Education. In Press.

Posthumus AG, Schölmerich VLN, Waelput AJ, Vos AA, De Jong-Potjer LC, Bakker R, Bonsel GJ, Groenewegen P, Steegers EAP, Denktaş S (2013). Bridging Between Professionals in Perinatal Care: Towards Shared Care in The Netherlands. Maternal and child health journal. (abstract and link to open access version)

Denktaş S, Jong-Potjer LC, Waelput AJM, Temel S, Voorst van SF, Vos AA, Schölmerich VLN, Bonsel GJ, Kooy van der J, Quispel C, Poeran VJJ, Peters IA, Vujkovic M, Bakker R, Steegers EAP (2012). Preconception Care: A Review of the Evidence, University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. (pdf)