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Centre for Medicine and Society

The Centre for Medicine and Society is committed to area of Global Health, whereby the focus is on the major risk factors affecting health and well-being in urban settings.

About the Centre for Medicine and Society in Freiburg

The faculties of Environmental Medicine, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Biological Anthropology, Palliative Care and Medical Sociology and Psychology are embarking on an interdisciplinary approach to explore determinants and spatial disparities of health and disease.
In cooperation with global organizations (such as the WHO) the focus is on disease-causing ecological-biological, social and psychological factors in urban settings as well as on options for improved access to health care.
This approach is embedded in the overall general aim of Global Health efforts to improve health by reducing disparities and health risks at local, national and international level.
The Centre for Medicine and Society of the Medical Faculty will be a core element of existing Global Health initiatives at Freiburg University, bringing together the complementary expertise of the university and its disciplines with regard to health-related issues and enhancing a continuous interdisciplinary discussion and cooperation with internal and external stakeholders in order to develop innovative approaches in research, health practice and capacity building activities.
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Our Mission

Our mission is to contribute to improving the health situation in resource poor countries and industrial countries through research and training.


Aims of the Centre for Medicine and Society

The Centre for Medicine and Society (ZMG) contributes to global efforts to improve the health of urban populations by:

  • Analyzing health risks in urban settings
  • Assessing the availability, accessibility and acceptability of health and social services in overcrowded urban areas
  • Designing cost-effective and innovative health intervention strategies in urban areas
  • Offering interdisciplinary training and research activities on Global Urban Health issues
  • Establishing international collaborative links in the form of research and training networking alliances with relevant stakeholders globally
  • Providing policy recommendations to improve health of vulnerable populations in urban contexts


Our Projects

Currently, the Centre for Medicine and Society is working on two main areas:


The center builds on the four years of experience gained in the course on "Global Health" for students from all faculties, where health and health services problems, as well as social, psychological and environmental determinants of health are explored.
This interdisciplinary course (28 hours; 4 ECTS) is offered twice a year in five blocks including a visit to the WHO in Geneva and an 8-hour workshop on needs assessment and planning tools to improve the health of vulnerable populations.
The Centre for Medicine and Society is now embarking on a postgraduate master program “Global Urban Health” (Modular course, one academic year; full time; 70 ECTS), which is expected to start in 2016.
The master course includes cross-disciplinary approaches with inputs from several faculties of Freiburg University and external lecturers, will offer excursions to WHO/Geneva, relevant institutions in Basel and Strasbourg and will show the efforts of the city of Freiburg to create healthy living conditions. 
Target participants are: public health staff, international officers, social scientists, urban and regional planners and anthropologists.


In cooperation with Cape Town, South Africa, subsequently with other partners, the ZMG is currently working on the project "URBAN HEALTH - URBAN LIVING- An interdisciplinary research project".
The aim is to design new strategies for improved health and better living conditions in deprived urban areas.
Furthermore, in collaboration with The Pennsylvania State University (PSU), the Centre for Medicine and Society is currently working on a network for Global Health and on a research project entitled, “Identifying Urban Transition Priority Areas for Mother and Child Interventions in Cape Town and Pune".
In cooperation with WHO-TDR (Research and Training in Tropical Diseases), the centre is exploring major urban diseases in several cities of Latin America.
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