News From the Group

On the trail of Albert Schweitzer: Research trip of the Health Communication Working Group to Gabon

Behavioral research must be reliable and locally and culturally embedded. For many years, psychological research focused primarily on studies from so-called WEIRD societies (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic) and yet generalized to people in general. In order to change this biased research practice, international research initiatives are required which focus on people' s behavior, thoughts, and attitudes who have not or hardly been represented in psychological research.


In early October, Prof. Dr. Cornelia Betsch, Dr. Mattis Geiger and Dr. Lars Korn visited the Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL) in Gabon as part of a research trip. CERMEL, one of the leading medical-infectious research institutions in Central Africa, is a long-standing cooperation partner of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM), where Cornelia Betsch has been head of the Health Communication working group for the past year. The goal of the trip was to discuss focal research areas and ideas with other research groups at BNITM and CERMEL and to get to know the medical and social and behavioral science research landscape. In addition, intensive working sessions with CERMEL's social science research group, led by Selidji Todagbe Agnandji, MD, were held to discuss the joint replication project as well as further directions.

"During the trip we established valuable partnerships and further internationalized our collaborative work on Planetary Health Behaviour", says Lars Korn, who is leading the project in Betsch's group.

The teams of BNITM and the University of Erfurt will now continue to work together with their African partners on the implementation of the project and will look for further collaborators in the future in order to replicate psychological research in the field of health communication in other contexts.



Group picture of the partners
From left to right: Lars Korn (BNITM), Paul Anthony Mboumessieyi Ngorouma, Pamela Angoissa Minsoko, Mattis Geiger (BNITM), Cornelia Betsch (Universität Erfurt/BNITM), Maxime Agnandji Selidji.   ©BNITM | Working group health communication

Research trip of the working group Health Communication to Zanzibar

Antibiotics are vital resources for our health - the increasing development of antimicrobial resistances pose increasing threats to our health.  Thus, research on the factors that contribute to the prudent and frugal use of antibiotics in the health care system, in animal husbandry, and in individual consumption is important. This applies all over the world - and it is therefore vital to develop psychological measurement tools that can be used across the globe and reliably identify areas for improvement. In collaboration with the One Health Bacteriology research group at the BNITM (group leader: Denise Dekker) and researchers from the University of Ulm and the University of Copenhagen, we have therefore developed measurement tools that will now be tested in the field.


At the end of October, Prof. Dr. Cornelia Betsch, Dr. Lars Korn, Dr. Mattis Geiger and Christopher Jäger, together with cooperation partners from the Universities of Ulm (Oliver Wilhelm and Franziska Rees) and Copenhagen (Ana Santana), visited future project partners in Zanzibar (Tanzania). Together with colleagues from the Health Improvement Project Zanzibar (HIPZ), the Zanzibar Health Research Institute (ZAHRI) and the Zanzibar Livestock Research Institute (ZALIRI), data collection was prepared on the topic of antibiotic use and resistance in Zanzibar. The obtained data will be compared with data from Germany. In addition, a joint future collaboration was agreed upon in the context of the replication project.

"Excursions to hospitals and health centers enabled us to learn about the Zanzibari health care system - this gave us important insights into how we can culturally adapt our study material," says Mattis Geiger, who leads the research project in Betsch's group.

Cornelia Betsch & her team sincerely thank HIPZ, ZAHRI and ZALIRI for the friendly and productive exchange in Zanzibar and are looking forward to intensive collaborations in the future.The project is currently funded by internal resources of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine.

Group picture of the partners
From left to right: Mattis Geiger (BNITM/Universität Erfurt), Khadija Omar, Lars Korn (BNITM/Universität Erfurt), Simon Kühnert (HIPZ), Massimo Gozzelino, Cornelia Betsch (Universität Erfurt/BNITM)   ©BNITM | Working group health communication

Establishing a new Institute for Planetary Health Behaviour

Fighting climate change will require far-reaching measures in the future. At the University of Erfurt, we are currently planning on establishing the Institute for Planetary Health Behavior (working title), which will focus on the cause and potential combatant of climate change — humans and their behaviour. The term planetary health is understood to mean the consequences for humans and nature that result from human intervention in nature. Our scientific work is going to focus on the societal, political and individual level and initiate a transformation towards better planetary and human health: because our health depends on a healthy planet.

The institute is currently being founded and, according to the current planning status, brings together scientists from health communication (Prof. Cornelia Betsch und Dr. Mirjam Jenny), social, organizational and economic psychology (Prof. Tilmann Betsch), educational research (Prof. Johannes Bauer), empirical social research (Prof. Guido Mehlkop) and communication science (Prof. Dr. Fabian Prochazka). The professional spectrum will be expanded in the future.

This institute will build bridges to scientific institutions that conduct scientific and biomedical research on climate and health, and to alliances that place climate and health protection on a political level. We want to provide behavioral science tools and new concepts for science communication and journalism as well as education to contribute to a healthy future.


For more information, visit our Institute for Planetary Health Behaviour (IPB) Website

Das Logo der Universität Erfurt: ein schwarzes Trapez setzt sich von einem magenta farbenden Trapez ab. Auf dem schwarzen Trapez ist der Schriftzug Universität Erfurt zu lesen, darunter in magenta Institute for Planetary Health Behaviour.

Health communication