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Roel Coutinho MD, PhD did his medical studies at the University of Amsterdam. He worked as a physician in Guinee-Bissau/Senegal. He specialized as a medical microbiologist. In 1977 he became head of the Public Health Department of the Amsterdam Health Service. In this job he was confronted with the strong rise in STIs and later on HIV/AIDS. He had a leading role in organizing the public health measures to control the spread of HIV in the country and was one of the founding fathers of the Amsterdam Cohort Studies on the epidemiology, natural history and pathogenesis of HIV and other bloodborne and sexually transmitted infections.From 1989-2011 he was Professor in the epidemiology and prevention of infectious Diseases at the Academic Medical Center/University of Amsterdam. He is (co)-author of more than 600 publications in peer-reviewed journals. Since 2000 he is co-editor of the journal AIDS.
In 2000 he became general director of the Public Health Service in Amsterdam. From 2005 till September 2013 he was director of the newly established National Center for Infectious Disease Control which is part of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. Since May 2011 he is part-time Professor in the Epidemiology and Prevention of infectious diseases especially in the human-veterinary domain at the University of Utrecht.