Pre-conference: Re-boosting public health in Germany – bottom-up and top-down initiatives with the potential for an informal public health system

Wednesday 10 November, 09:00 - 12:40 CET

Organised by:

Berlin School of Public Health (BSPH)

Main messages

The pre-conference aims at introducing European public health professionals to the situation of public health in Germany, which in the last years has experienced inspiring bottom-up and top-down initiatives. Parallel initiatives on the legislative and the stakeholder level have the potential to form an informal public health system in the future.

In recent years Germany has experienced inspiring bottom-up and top-down initiatives which are presented within the workshop and have the potential to consolidate a public health system in the future. This contrasts with the last 20 years, in which public health in Germany faced many challenges to develop a common voice, mainly due to historical circumstances, the challenge of a federal governmental responsibility for health and a lack of cooperation between science and practice.


Chair/Moderator: Dr Nina Adelberger, Berlin School of Public Health

Overview of the current German public health situation
Prof Dr med. Freia De Bock, Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung (BZgA), Zukunftsforum Public Health (ZfPH)

In the past years some important steps to improve the country’s public health system have been taken. On the legislative level, the preventive health care act (2015) and the public health service act (2020) will allow to improve health promotion and prevention as well as strengthen the municipal (and partly country-level and national-level) public health governmental institutions with a focus on infectious disease control, digitalization, applied research and other developments according to a guidance document developed by the local public health service association itself. Paralelly to these top-down initiatives, bottom-up initiatives (Future Forum Public Health (ZfPH), Competence Network Public Health COVID-19 have evolved, that include public health practice and research stakeholders.

Future Forum Public Health – On the Way to a Public Health Strategy for Germany
Svenja Matusall, Zukunftsforum Public Health (ZfPH)

In 2019, the Future Forum Public Health (ZfPH) started a grass-root process to develop a public health strategy for Germany. While no official mandate existed, the public health community agreed that a strategy was necessary for strengthening and uniting the disparate field of German public health. This presentation will focus on the various participatory steps of the process and present the published and widely disseminated strategy.

The public health service pact and its implications for the public health system
Dr med. Elke Bruns-Philipps, Public health agency of Lower Saxony (Niedersächsische Landesgesundheitsamt, NLGA), BVÖGD, and Michaela Diercke, Robert Koch Institut

A few months within the pandemic decision makers realized that the public health system in Germany needs to be strengthened. A pact for the public health service was initiated including substantial financial resources available until 2026. The main focus lies on training and recruitment of public health staff, digitalization, preparedness and crisis management as well as defining a long term perspective and the strategic development of the public health system.

Reacting to COVID-19 – Competence Network Public Health COVID-19 as a broad network of researchers for providing evidence to decision-makers
Prof Dr Ansgar Gerhardus, Competence Network Public Health COVID-19

The Competence Network Public Health COVID-19 (Kompetenznetz Public Health zu COVID) consists of 30 scientific societies and organisations. It was founded in April 2020 and brings together expertise in research methods, epidemiology, statistics, social sciences, demography, and medicine. Its goal is to provide interdisciplinary and evidence-based expertise on COVID-19 for decision making in a quick and flexible manner. The main target groups are government agencies, institutions, and political decision makers. In May 2021 more than 60 policy briefs and background papers have been published. While some of these papers have been rather influential, the link between public health expertise and decision-making still needs tightening.

Registration fee

The registration fee is € 50 (inclusive of VAT). Pre-conferences can  be added to your registration after you have already registered. You can do so by logging into your account and updating your registration. You will receive an adjusted invoice by email. You can also register for the pre-conference only.