Review: The HLCA-Consortium at the 10th European Public Health Conference

Several researchers from the HLCA consortium attended the 10th European Public Health Conference (EPHC) from 1st – 4th November 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden. During the conference, the HLCA members organised several events and presented selected research results.The EHPC conference theme “Sustainable, resilient and healthy communities” brought together representatives from around the world. In addition to presenting its own scientific findings, the HLCA Consortium has organized a pre-conference and various workshops with the Health Promotion Section (HPS) of the European Association for Public Health (EUPHA). Emphasis was put on empirical research results, but also theoretical perspectives and practical effects on research, politics and practice were presented and discussed.

© 10th European Public Health Conference 2017


health literacy: understandable information for all user groups


Dear health literacy community,

We want to share a comment on health literacy from the HLCA coordinator Ullrich Bauer, which he provided for the AOK practice journal: Health and Society (Gesundheit und Gesellschaft):

“Health literacy has the potential to provide new perspectives for rethinking the future of health care, in particular and above all, this applies to patient representatives and patient advocacy as well as self-help organisations. We are specifically talking about certain challenges in relation to health literacy that might have not been fully understood by everybody and on all levels yet. Health literacy does not mean to shift the responsibility for good or ill-health to the individual, but, moreover, health literacy is the key for a transparent, user-friendly, and responsive health care system, which is able to provide reliable and easy to understand health information and communicate them with all user groups. In turn, such an approach towards the understanding of the role of health literacy in this context is a decisive step to change the game, especially for the field of self-help. The incapacitation of patients within the health care system commonly goes along with higher expectancy for changes in individual health behaviour. Having said this, health literacy means that health information should be provided shaped to the needs of the target population, yet decisions are meant to be taken autonomously.”
Prof.Dr. Ullrich Bauer, Faculty of Educational Science, University of Bielefeld, Germany

Journal Health and Society:

Summer School on Health Literacy: Researchers and young scientists from all over the world in Bielefeld

From the 18th to 22th of September 2017 the 2nd HLCA-Summer School on Health Literacy: Research, Policy and Advocacy took place at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at the University of Bielefeld in Germany.
Young researchers from around the world and renowned international researchers from the Topic Health Literacy came together for working on Health Literacy.

© Orkan Okan, University of Bielefeld

Directed by Dr. Kristine Sørensen (The Netherlands), Prof. Dr. Diane Levin-Zamir (Israel) and Prof. Dr. Luis Saboga-Nunes (Portugal) 37 students from 14 countries found their way to Bielefeld.
– research planning and possible research methods,
– the potential and challenges of health literacy with regard to children and adolescents,
– the consideration of specific cases in clinical contexts and
– the participation of patients and other vulnerable groups in the research process have been discussed.
Afterwards, the young scientists have developed exciting and relevant research projects and presented and discussed them in the plenum.

© Orkan Okan, University of Bielefeld
Further, the practical work of policy-makers was assessed by analyzing and evaluating political action plans on health literacy and other political documents. At the end of the week, necessary soft skills for health literacy experts were tested with the experienced health and health literacy expert Barbara Kondilis from Hellenic University in Greece.
In addition, Prof. Dr. Peter Goldblatt from the Institute of Health Equity at University College London (UK) on Health Equality and Justice related to Health Literacy.
As President of the EUPHA – Health Promotion Section, Luis Saboga-Nunes gave input into the field of health promotion, prevention of tobacco consumption and evidence-based insights into salutogenesis. Stefanie Harsch (Germany) presented first research results from a Health Literacy Study in Afganistan.
Kristine Sørensen has held the closing presentation on health competences and closed with Prof. Dr. Ullrich BauerDr. Paulo Pinheiro and Orkan Okan the 2. Health Literacy Summer School 2017.
According to the young scientists, the international atmosphere and group dynamics were outstanding. The flat hierarchy between teachers and students had also been decisive. As a very enriching participant, the participants have taken note of the controversies with health literacy projects taking place all over the world and, above all, highlighted the possibility of dealing with the research methods.

© Orkan Okan, University of Bielefeld


Health Inequalities XII: Closing the Gap in Health Inequalities – Quo vadis?

On Friday, the 17th of March 2017 the Health Inequalities XII Panel took place on the German Public Health Congress “Poverty and Health” at the Technical University Berlin.
Under the title: Closing the gap in health inequalities – Quo vadis? the lectures and discussions focussed on possible strategies to close the gap.
Therfor the recommendations formulated by the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) launched by the World Health Organization in 2005 gave the discussion framework:

The Commission`s overarching recommendations are to:

  1. improve the daily living conditions,
  2. tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money, and resources, and
  3. measure and understand the problem and assess the impact of action.

In this context, the development, implementation and evaluation of interventions and programmes are seen as a key vehicle to reduce health inequalities and raise health equity.

This year`s the panel shed light on both national (Germany) and international perspectives in order to reflect and discuss upon the status quo of current efforts to reduce health inequalities and raise health equity.

Selected webinares of the panels you can see here:

Taking action on health inequalities and improving health equity: The International perspective von Prof. Dr. Peter Goldblatt, University College London, Institute of Health Equity, England


Improving health Literacy to take action on health equity with Prof. Dr. Luis Saboga-Nunes, National School of Public Health, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Portugal


Prof. Dr. Ullrich Bauer, Dr. Paulo Pinheiro, Orkan Okan (Bielefeld University, Faculty of Educational Science, Centre for Prevention and Intervention in Childhood and Adolescence (CPI)
Prof. Dr. Uwe Bittlingmayer (University of Education Freiburg, Institute of Sociology)
Prof. Dr. Diana Sahrai (University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, School of Education)
Dr. Irene Moor (Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, Institute of Medical Sociology)
Jens Hoebel, MSc (Robert Koch Institute Berlin)

The HLCA team from Bielefeld visited the German Paediatric Pain Center in Datteln

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We have enjoyed a beautiful day with our hosts Prof. Dr. Boris Zernikow, Dr. Julia Wager, Lorin Stahlschmidt and Ann-Kristin Ruhe at the German Paediatric Pain Centre Datteln at the Vestische Children’s and Adolescents’ Clinic, Univeristy of Witten/Herdecke.

During our visit we could gain insights into their research and practice in context of chronic pain management of children and adolescents. We better understand now the importance of early interventions for successful treatment and care of children and adolescents affected by chronic pain. Currently, there is only insufficient care available for this target group in Germany. Psychosomatic complaints and how affected children and families deal with the burdens in daily life is an important public health topic and, therefore, also increasing importance for health promotion and primary prevention in childhood and adolescence. This is especially related to the fact that chronic pain has negative impact on the quality of life of affected as well as on physical health and mental well-being.

Therefore, the Institute has developed an important contact point for children and adolescents with severely disabling pain, and has established itself over time as the German centre for the care of children with chronic pain conditions. In recognition of its long-standing and successful work, the children’s outpatient clinic received the distinction of “Select Place 2011”. This was followed by the founding of the German Paediatric Pain Centre in January 2012.

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In order to improve the situation of affected children, adolescents, and families, the German Paediatric Pain Centre is involved in various research activities and projects. These mainly focus on chronic pain in children and adolescents, palliative situations and the evaluation of further education programs. Besides studies of symptoms, methods of measurement or the effectiveness of medications, studies in the areas of care research and evaluation projects are carried out. Members of the research team also supervise diploma and doctoral students in the completion of their degree and doctoral work.

To safeguard quality, research projects led by multi-professional teams follow patient care. Significant milestones towards the improvement of the situation of children with chronic pain conditions have been achieved in projects conducted to date.

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From the viewpoint of child pain therapy, health literacy in children and adolescents is increasing importance, especially in context of chronic pain management. Holistically, for this type of health care, and from a whole setting perspective, besides the health literacy of children and adolescents also the health literacy of parents and health professionals involved in research and care is of significant importance, which has to be highlighted in this context.

We are glad and very thankful to have been introduced to the team of the German Paediatric Pain Centre and that we could explore their great facilities in Datteln , NRW.
For more information:
German Paediatric Pain Centre:
Child pain therapy and paediatric palliative care at University of Witten/Herdecke:

Kenneth Yongabi Anchang visiting HLCA-Team at Bielefeld University


Dr. Paulo Pinheiro, Orkan Okan, Dr. Kenneth Yongabi Anchang, Janine Bröder,
On the 09th of December 2016 the HLCA-Team had the pleasure to welcome Kenneth Yogabi Anchang. He is the director of research at the Catholic University of Cameroon in Bamenda with a PhD in public health infectiology and PhD in bio (medical) engineering. He gave a great lecture about health literacy as an indispensable key component of ensuring a healthy condition in individuals and communities, especially in countries with high rates of endemic disease and in settings in which resources are limited. Therefor, he emphasizes a transition from (top-down) health promotion interventions to (community-based) health literacy interventions.
The whole lecture you find here:  Appropriate Health Literacy Interventions to improve Health Outcomes