Global Health

Global Health (GH) is a concept that encompasses teaching, research, and clinical practice and aims to improve health and health care worldwide. GH encompasses both individual clinical care and prevention at the level of populations or specific groups of individuals (public health) and illuminates transnational circumstances, determinants, and solutions in health.

Some faculty projects in GH are presented here:

Emerging Fields Projekt Human Rights in Healthcare (Institute for History and Ethics in Medicine)

The Emerging Fields Project “Human Rights in Healthcare” explores central questions for our society at the interface of human rights and medical ethics in healthcare. The general aim is to describe the handling of often conflicting claims to necessary support services for personal autonomy in healthcare in a practical way as well as to contour them normatively – on the part of human rights and medical ethics. This is done in interdisciplinary cooperation between scientists from the fields of medicine, ethics, law, philosophy, social science, political science and literature. The content of the research focuses, for example, on justice in dialysis and transplantation, new types of distribution conflicts resulting, for example, from international patient mobility, targeted promotion of health literacy, contributions to “health empowerment” of vulnerable groups in developing countries, and appropriate assistance in the dying phase.

Please visit the website of the Institute for History and Ethics in Medicine (currently only available in german) for more information.

Research focus on Global Health Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine (Institute for History and Ethics in Medicine)

The field of “Global Health Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine” discusses international issues of equitable health care as well as moral facets of medical theory and the concept of disease, ranging from the examination of lifespan issues and the definition of disease to preimplantation genetic diagnosis and deep brain stimulation. Research activities include the international exhibition “Global Health Ethics” in cooperation with the World Health Organization and the book series “Ars moriendi nova”.

Research focus on migration and mental health (Psychosomatic and Psychotherapeutic Department)

In view of the demographic development in Germany with a steady increase in the proportion of persons with a migration background in the total population (20% in 2013), research into the specific burdens, but also the resources of this group appears necessary. Current research projects of the Department of Psyochosomatics and Psychotherapy deal with prevalences of mental disorders in healthy persons of Turkish origin (cooperation with the Institute of Epidemiology, University Hospital Essen). Several doctoral projects are investigating mental stress and concepts of illness among clients with a migration background. For example, styles of coping with illness in oncological patients or patients of a general practitioner are being investigated in a cultural comparison. Another study analyzes psychological stress among Iranian patients in primary care.

Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (Department of Virology)

Prof. Dr. Klaus Überla (Department of Virology) is part of the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims to accelerate HIV vaccine development through intensive exchange of information, methods and reagents. The research project, “Induction of high-affinity antibodies against the HIV envelope protein in the absence of HIV-specific T helper cells,” will investigate a new immunization method. The physicians want to produce the antibodies with such T-helper cells, which actually do not recognize the HI virus, but other pathogens. This would mean that the number of T-helper cells that react to HIV would no longer increase as a result of the vaccination, so that HIV would no longer be able to multiply so well.

Medicine and Human Rights WG

The “Medicine and Human Rights” working group offers refugees and asylum seekers a contact point for medical questions. The students refer patients to appropriate doctors, organize medical appointments and translators. They also accompany patients to the doctor’s office if necessary and help them fill prescriptions at the pharmacy. The “Medicine and Human Rights” working group works closely with doctors from various specialties who are willing to waive a fee and treat people without health insurance. In addition, the working group also visits refugee homes in Erlangen and gives medical consultations there, among other things.

More projects to come!