A key research focus in the high-profile area of Health Sciences is the investigation of causes of health and disease, which is a cornerstone for knowledge-based Public Health. In epidemiological research projects, both risk factors and salutogenic factors are analysed as influencing factors for chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, and for mental and environmental health. A particular challenge in this respect is the elucidation of the complex relation between a variety of factors at the individual level and at the contextual level with a view to identifying starting points for health promotion and disease prevention.
Research on health promotion and disease prevention is based on a broad understanding of health, which includes physical, mental and social well-being equally. Pertinent measures and activities aim at strengthening health resources and health potential, and besides individual behaviour also take structural societal factors into consideration. Researchers in this high-profile area implement their expertise on health promotion and disease prevention, as well as evaluation among others in large-scale research networks.
Health promotion and disease prevention
Health and nursing care research focuses on the quality, resources and outcomes of and access to health care services and nursing care. The aim of researchers in this high-profile area is to make an interdisciplinary contribution towards improving health care provision. Members of the IPP, BIPS and SOCIUM conduct research on evidence-based practice, on healthcare provision and patient care under everyday conditions, as well as on education and training. They also use cross-sectional and longitudinal data to describe and explain provision and access to health care. At SOCIUM, healthcare systems researchers investigate the institutional structures of healthcare systems from a health economics and political perspective and in an international and comparative context.
Equity in the context of health and healthcare systems is a common, cross-sectional topic within the high-profile area. However, equity cannot be interpreted as a consensual term; rather, it can be assumed that highly divergent concepts of equity exist in different sectors and among the different stakeholders in healthcare (for instance, pertaining to equity of contributions, distribution and equitable access, financial equity, social equity etc.). In order to be able to put empirical findings (e.g. on social and health inequality, but also on preventive and other interventions) into perspective and draw up appropriate standards, a theoretical approach towards issues of equity in the health context is needed.
Research in this high-profile area is guided by theories and models from the fields of health science, health economics and epidemiology, hence methodological expertise is required from various disciplines. For instance, the Competence Center for Clinical Trials Bremen (KKSB) and the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology (BIPS) develop and refine statistical and biometric methods with a special focus on topics from the high profile area. Exposure assessment methods are investigated inter alia at BIPS and made available within the high-profile area KKSB, BIPS, the Institute of Public Health and Care Research (IPP) and SOCIUM – Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy (formerly ZeS) contribute with their expertise in the planning, implementation, data processing and evaluation of studies. The IPP also provides expertise in the area of qualitative methods. Health economic theories and methods are addressed at SOCIUM and by the Cooperative Research Group for Evidence-Based Public Health (EBPH). The IPP develops models, for example in the fields of nursing science and evidence-based public health. Moreover, SOCIUM and BIPS have a long and successful track record in routine data research, which is carried out intensively at both institutions. This interdisciplinary approach is a major strength of the high-profile area and makes a significant contribution to its theoretical foundation.