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  • Sustainable Environmental Health Sciences


    Graphic of the building R.1 of the Medical School OWL
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Sustainable Environmental Health Sciences

Working Group "Sustainable Environmental Health Sciences" is the first working group of the Medical School OWL and is headed by Professor Claudia Hornberg, MD, who was first the founding dean and is now the dean of the Medical School OWL. Previously, she was professor and head of the working group "Environment and Health" of the Faculty of Health Sciences for many years.

The working group's spectrum of methods includes quantitative and qualitative approaches as well as a decidedly application-oriented approach. In addition, the working group has many years of inter- and transdisciplinary research experience.

Working Group addresses the following three key research topics:

Working group investigates the relationship between pathogenetic and salutogenetic environmental influences on human health. We are interested in the intra- and interindividual interactions between humans and the material, the anthropogenically influenced ecological and the sociological environment. Since socially disadvantaged and vulnerable groups often bear an increased health risk, gender- and age-specific issues are considered in addition to socio-economic factors. WG has therefore set itself the research priority of highlighting the direct consequences of various environmental stresses and climate change for people's health and quality of life. On the other hand, the aim is to develop theoretical models and practical frameworks for action in order to contribute to the transformation process towards a healthy, ecologically sustainable and socially just society, including the necessary behavioral changes.

Another area of expertise of the working group is research on health burdens, medical care and the participation of vulnerable population groups, including people with disabilities and chronic diseases. Here, the working group builds on successful research in the health sciences and continues this with a stronger medical perspective. The focus will be primarily on research into inpatient and outpatient medical care barriers and requirements, taking into account, among other things, an interprofessional and intersectoral perspective as well as diversity and gender aspects. The head of the working group and the research assistants are in close contact with institutions for the care of people with disabilities, clinics and practices that focus on the care of people with disabilities and have access to a large network of cooperation partners from science, politics and interest groups.

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 towards the end of 2019 continues the global trend of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs). Zoonoses, in particular, are taking on an increasingly dominant role in the context of EIDs, along with the problem of antibiotic resistance. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines under the so-called "One Health" approach the goal to better understand the underlying relationships from the complex interaction structure >>environment - animal - human<<. Through research on a multidimensional level, health risks are investigated at the relevant interfaces in order to ultimately derive and implement important measures for the benefit of the entire world.  The Sustainable Environmental Health Sciences group contributes to the One Health approach by participating in various projects in the field of infectiology (including multidrug-resistant pathogens, surveillance, pandemic management, derivation of prevention approaches), especially through trilateral networking of academic medicine, laboratory diagnostics and public health.

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