A Child’s World Conference 2018 – New Shoes New Direction

HLCA will attend this year`s “A Child’s World Conference 2018 – New Shoes New Direction” from 11th-13th July 2018 at Aberystwyth University (Wales, UK) and have two oral presentations on:

  1. Learning, education and the ethical question of what we offer to pupils (Ullrich Bauer and Uwe H. Bittlingmayer)
  2. A review of health literacy of children and young people: definitions, interpretations, and implications for future research and practice initiatives (Paulo Pinheiro)

Link zur Homepage

Programm at al glance


Health literacy in an age of technology – schoolchildren’s experiences and ideas

Promoting schoolchildren`s health literacy. Link zum Artikel.

The aim of this paper was to explore opportunities to promote schoolchildren’s health literacy based on their own experiences and ideas. Research suggests the necessity for health literacy to be included into the school curriculum, and to view health promotion as part of lifelong learning. There is also a need to involve schoolchildren in developing health literacy so they can find strategies to improve their health. Weiterlesen

New article | Cultural health literacy: the experiences of Māori in palliative care

An interesting article on cultural health literacy from New Zealand has just been published in the Global Health Promotion Journal of the IUHPE:

Health literacy is a concept that is frequently applied to the patient’s ability to find and comprehend health information. However, recent literature has included the skill of the health professional and the accessibility of health resources as important factors in the level of health literacy achieved by individuals and populations. In 2014 a qualitative study Weiterlesen

NRW state program “health and education” with similar approach as HLCA

With the main objectives of the NRW state program “health and education” (Bildung und Gesundheit, BuG), which are to sustainably promote children`s and adolescent`s health, facilitate their educational opportunities, well-being, and the performance of adults working and/or engaging in schools, BuG also provides particular health and education goals that, too, address the promotion of health literacy prominently and also significantly contribute to BuG`s main objectives:

  1. Promoting health literacy: i.a. health-related attitudes, health awareness, health behaviour, health experience of all involved in school (behavioural prevention)
  2. Improving health-related conditions for all in schools (structural/systems-based/ecologic prevention)
  3. Enhancing quality education and the quality of education in schools
  4. Improving the integration of health promotion and prevention into education and science but most importantly into educational policy.

BuG homepage

We see great fit of our HLCA research activities to these goals, both with the projects of our first funding period as well as with the new projects of the second funding period 2018-2021. This is great news #healthliteracy

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: http://aok-bv.de/hintergrund/gesundheit_und_gesellschaft/

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: http://www.deutsches-kinderschmerzzentrum.de
Child pain therapy and paediatric palliative care at University of Witten/Herdecke: http://www.uni-wh.de/gesundheit/lehrstuhl-kinderschmerztherapie-palliativmedizin/

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

HL Intervention for Kids and Professionals

Promoting sexual health literacy in children and strengthening child resilience and empowerment: Development, implementation and evaluation of a school-based sexual abuse prevention programme in the primary school setting (IGEL)

This IGEL project was a collaborative team science effort involving professionals from research and practice that followed the public health action cycle model for interventions and policy development. The scientific research progress was led by educationalists, psychologists, sociologists, and socialisation researchers from the Faculty of Educational Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen who teamed up with public health researchers from the Bielefeld University. The IGEL project was conducted between 01.09.2012 – 31.10.2015 and was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Target population and interventional approach

The intervention is based on an asset-based and eco-systematic approach that aims at primary school children attending the 3rd grade and their social environment comprising parents, teachers and professional school staff.

IGEL Objectives

The IGEL intervention aims at promoting a culture of awareness in context of sexual health and sexual violence including assault, abuse, and rape. While the target population comprises both teachers and children, in children the application of the programme will enhance self-protection skills by teaching them practical and theoretical knowledge and action competencies in context of sexual health and violence. During the programme children will be equipped with capabilities to recognise dangerous situations and take action to better protect themselves. The components aiming at teachers will help to raise awareness for sexual violence against children and enable them to better understand and recognise cases. They will be equipped with reflexive and reactive abilities in order to better deal with sexual assault against children. Overall, the programme will support better protection against all kinds of sexual violence against children and improve empowerment in the participants to raise their voices and to actively seek for help. On the long term basis the programme aims at changing school infrastructure towards better networking strategies and prevention concepts as well as improving cooperation with professional health support and first aid systems in case of sexual violence against children.

  • Raising awareness about sexual abuse and sexual health in professionals and children
  • Strengthening empowerment and responsibility among participants
  • Improving theoretical and practical knowledge on sexual health and health promotion
  • Improving action competencies
  • Improving self-protection skills
  • Improving knowledge about support and first aid services, and preventive measures
  • Practicing of defence strategies
  • Enhancing better sexual health related behaviour (behavior-based preventive component)
  • Participative approach to actively involve and engage children’s social environment (environmental preventive component)
  • Changing school infrastructure and implementation of cooperation with professionals health service for victims of sexual violence

Implementation of the IGEL programme

  • Five hours training programme for teachers
  • A series of six classes (each 45 minutes) plus one reviving class (45 minutes)
  • Classes can be run in a row or distributed over weeks/months

IGEL comprises seven sequenced classes each focusing a specific topic. The programme is easy to use during school hours while one class perfectly fits into a 45 minutes session and is also easily adaptable in case more or less time is needed during the implementation.

The IGEL classes

  1. Introduction to the programme
  2. Working on a definition
  3. My body
  4. Physical contacts
  5. Secrets
  6. Identifying and understanding of “Okay!” and “Hey, stop!” (no-go)-situations
  7. Becoming an IGEL professional

Programme didactics and implementation methods

  • Music and art based methods: IGEL Rap (dancing and singing)
  • Case vignettes
  • Individual, partner, and group work
  • Practice work: Identification and naming, working with materials, drawings
  • Contemplation and theme cards
  • Parent letters
  • IGEL-professional certificate

Unique  features

  • Providing basic information for teachers for self-reliant learning, working, and reviving
  • Checklist in case of emergency for suspicion for or crises related to sexual violence
  • Support for developing blueprints and templates for parental work and engagement
  • Additional information on further types of child abuse and neglect

The research progress within the IGEL project was divided into two researcher stages that built up on each other

  1. concept development and preparation of the evaluation
  2. implementation, evaluation and concept adaptation

The intervention which is designed as a primary prevention programme consists of two modules:

  1. preventative measures for teachers and parents
  2. preventative measures for pupils

The implementation took place in eight primary schools while in each two 3rd grade classes were involved at a time (n=16 classes). For assessing effectiveness of the IGEL intervention four control groups were recruited.


The evaluation study conducted by Bielefeld University has proven the high effectiveness of the IGEL programme. Further, the study shows that the programme is user friendly and easy to use. See: Link here.

  • Ina Kreuz, School Teacher for primary and secondary classes, she was involved within the development of the life skills intervention “Lions Quest: Erwachsen handeln”, a programme that is based on the principles of proportionate universalism.
  • Ullrich Bauer, Professor of Socialisation Research, Head of the Centre for Prevention and Intervention in Childhood and Adolescence (CPI) at Bielefeld University, he is training teachers for ten years
  • Wilhelm Körner holds a doctors degree in psychology and specialised in psychological psychotherapy for children and adolescents, he has vast experience in educational counselling and school psychology