Interdisciplinary, forward-looking and one of a kind in Hesse

Founded in January 2017 by Fulda University of Applied Sciences, the PHZF is the only academic institution in the German federal state of Hesse dedicated to research and education in the field of public health. Its focus is on the health of populations and sections of these populations, as influenced in particular by social, political and economic factors.

Public health refers to both the academic discipline and to practices aimed at preventing diseases, prolonging human life and promoting physical and mental health while taking into account the fair distribution and efficient use of available resources. The primary goal of public health measures is to safeguard the health of the general population and specifically endangered sections of the population.

The discipline of public health is, by definition, an interdisciplinary field, drawing on medical and nursing expertise as well as on an understanding of therapy and nutrition sciences, health promotion, health economics and the sociology of health. A specialised field within public health, public health nutrition focuses on population-based preventive and health-promoting approaches as solutions to nutrition-related issues.

In particular, public health research and education addresses issues such as (in consensus with the German Public Health Association (DGPH)):

  • the prevalence as well as the spatial and social distribution of diseases within the population (social inequality of health opportunities);
  • the investigation of factors affecting health and sickness, in particular social and environmental factors, as well as options for modifying these factors through political decisions (health in all policies approach);
  • the systematic planning, implementation and evaluation of political and setting-based interventions for the promotion of the health-related quality of life of the population;
  • the population-wide need for preventive, curative, rehabilitative, nursing, midwifery and palliative care;
  • the effectiveness and cost-benefit ratios of health promotion and disease prevention measures as well as of health and nursing care, as evidenced by patient-relevant outcomes;
  • the design, control and funding of health systems offering high-quality care that is need-appropriate, non-discriminatory and accessible irrespective of financial means;
  • the appropriate involvement of the population in health system design and in political decision-making that affects public health issues;
  • education and training in health professions, interprofessional collaborative structures and interfaces in health-related care; and
  • the creation of evidence-based expertise relevant to decision-making with regard to health-related measures.