The Center for Global Health at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is concerned with the promotion of health as well as with the prevention of ill-health at a global level. It brings together and initiates research projects and teaching activities that address global health issues across different disciplines. The Center for Global Health therefore connects researchers of different faculties and their research foci.
About the Center for Global Health
The Center for Global Health was founded in 2017 by the Professors Andrea Winkler and Clarissa Prazeres da Costa. The Center for Global Health is based at the medical faculty of TUM and is financed and supported by the Department of Neurology, Klinikum rechts der Isar / TUM (headed by Prof Hemmer) and the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene at TUM (headed by Prof Busch). This collaboration demonstrates the interdisciplinary approach that is taken at TUM and that is vital for the activities of the Center for Global Health.
Our activities include the establishment of collaborative projects that address relevant research questions in Global Health, teaching, as well as discussion forums looking at the different facets of Global Health.
We have been able to build a large network of partners in the Global South, especially in sub-Sahara Africa and Southeast Asia due to past and ongoing collaborations. We continuously expand those networks but also want to make them available to other researchers in order to support them in giving their research activities a global footprint.
It is our goal for research findings to be quickly translated into meaningful and effective policies. Only then can we reach the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations that Germany has committed itself to.
We encourage everyone who is interested in the field of Global Health to reach out to us. We have listed some of our activities below for further information.
What is "Global Health"?
The increasing interconnectedness of the world we live in means that health has also become a topic that requires a global perspective. In order to address the complex health challenges of today we need to go beyond local solutions and approaches. Challenges include for example changing prevalence in neglected tropical diseases as a result of migration and climate change or the spread of antimicrobial resistance. Global Health is a multidisciplinary approach to research, teaching and policy making connecting biomedical sciences with political and social sciences, computer sciences and engineering to thereby better understand as well as address the interconnectedness and interplay of the many different health determinants.
Important overarching themes within the Global Health field are governance, Global Health financing, health systems strengthening and “One Health”, meaning the relationship(s) between human, animal and environmental health. The study of non-communicable and infectious diseases as well as mental health topics benefits from using these overarching themes as guidance. Further areas of interest in Global Health research include nutrition, eHealth and the role of trade in global health.
The activities of the Center for Global Health
Please see below a selection of our activities.
• Antimicrobial Resistance
An exchange initiated by the Center for Global Health amongst the Boston University, the Bangladesh Agricultural University, Jimma University Ethiopia, as well as the University of Oslo has led to the set-up of a consortium that by taking a One Health approach looks into whether and how quality and quantity of the antibiotics used in livestock contribute to resistance development.
• Global Neurology
The working group Global Neurology / Neuroinfectiology at the Department of Neurology is concerned with neurological diseases that occur in resource-poor regions, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa. These regions suffer from the highest prevalence levels of cerebral infections, such as cerebral malaria, meningitis and parasitic diseases as well as the highest prevalence of people with epilepsy. In addition, neurovascular and neurodegenerative diseases are on the rise. The research of the prevalence as well as other epidemiological aspects of neurological diseases, in addition to the monitoring of the development and response to selected therapeutic measures are the focus of the working group's research projects. Research findings are communicated with political stakeholders in order to ultimately strengthen health systems, specifically with regards to neurological diseases. This involves amongst others capacity building and further training for colleagues in the regions in question.
• Neglected Tropical Diseases
Neglected tropical diseases represent a core focus of the Center for Global Health due to the long-term experience of the two founding directors in this field. The joint project Cystinet-Africa for example is a research network of German and African partners aiming to better understand Taenia solium cysticercosis / taeniosis and to facilitate capacity building as well as data collection and distribution in the involved countries. The project is also mentioned in the brochure on “Global Health in the focus of research – funding concept: neglected and poverty-related diseases” published by the BMBF, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Furthermore, the Center for Global Health together with the Centre for Global Health at the University of Oslo has published a paper on the landscape of neglected tropical diseases at present and in the future for the Series “Global Health in the Era of Agenda 2030”. This series is a collaboration between Norad, the Centre for Global Health at the University of Oslo and the Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association.
The working group Parasite Immunology is concerned with the role of the innate and adaptive regulatory immune response in chronic helminth infections. The focus of the research is on Schistosoma mansoni, the causative agent of schistosomiasis, one of the most prevalent worm diseases and currently 210 million infected people worldwide. The central questions address how the immune system of the human host is affected and changed by the parasite, what adaptive measures take place, which - both positive as well as negative - influence such changes have on other diseases of the host, including allergies or infectious diseases (e.g. hepatitis), as well as consequences for the efficacy of immunisations. Alongside an emphasis on basic research, clinical projects analyse the effects of schistosomiasis infections in pregnancy on maternal health and on the immune system in early childhood, as well as research takes place looking into the development of new drugs for treatment.
The Center for Global Health also participated in a discussion on the global challenges of our nutrition that equally resulted in a publication in the above mentioned Series “Global Health in the Era of 2030” (a collaboration collaboration between Norad, the Centre for Global Health at the University of Oslo and the Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association).
Every summer semester we organise the elective module "tropical medicine", which in addition to tropical diseases covers important themes and stakeholders in the Global Health field.
In addition, the Center taught the lectures on Global Health that are part of the BSc Health Sciences as well as the MSc Health Science - Prevention and Health Promotion at the Department of Sport and Health Sciences.
In August 2017, the TUM Medical Education Center together with the Center for Global Health ran a trilateral Global Health Summer School for medical students at TUM, the Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis as well as the Medical University of Silesia, Katowice.
Additional activities and respective publications can be found using the links below.
- Women in Global Health - Germany
In order to showcase women’s leadership in global health, Ilona Kickbusch from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva launched a Twitter campaign to collect nominations of women working in the forefront of global health around the world. The list of 100 Women Leaders in Global Health was published in December 2014. After a commentary in The Lancet further nominations followed and in 2015 the list of 300 Women Leaders in Global Health was compiled and published. During this time, Dr. Roopa Dhatt Dr. Desiree Lichtenstein, Caitlin Jackson and Kristina Ronsin founded the movement and organization Women in Global Health, which is a movement for gender equality in global health leadership and supports women in global health with the end of goal of achieving improved and more sustainable health worldwide.
Recognizing the momentum, and the need to highlight the diversity of women working in global health, it was then suggested to establish regional and national lists to create networks on the regional and national level. Ilona Kickbusch and Sabine Ludwig have taken forward this idea and launched a meeting in Berlin in July 2017 to discuss on the founding of a chapter "Women in Global Health – Germany" - WGH-GER. As Germany is taking on a new leadership role in global health, it seemed to be optimal timing to start this initiative and to ensure that women not only significantly contribute to this development, but are also equal leaders.
The network's second meeting was hosted by the Center for Global Health at the TUM on December 8th. Many different topics were presented in the morning and discussed further in working group sessions in the afternoon. Topics included "migration and health", "sexual and reproductive health", "gender and health", "Universal Health Coverage (UHC)", as well as the planned establishment of a Global Health Hub in Germany.
- Global Health Round Table
There is a Round Table every three months covering Global Health relevant topics and research fields by means of one or two presentations and a subsequent discussion.
Topics covered so far include "Neglected tropical diseases in research and politics", "Theory of plagues: a historical approach", "Health systems in fragile states and community health workers", "Antimicrobial resistance and essential medicines".
- Women on the Move
- Süddeutsche Zeitung "Weltweiter Kampf gegen die großen Killer", February 2018