Public Health

What is public health?

Public health focuses on the intersection of health and society and is a cornerstone of modern welfare states. It aims to prevent diseases and to maintain and improve the health and well-being of people at the population level.

Thereby, public health addresses people across different stages of their life course and brings together a variety of stakeholders across multiple fields of policy and practice. Public health issues are addressed in typical healthcare settings, but also, for example, in schools and communities. Similarly, while public health is an important issue in health policymaking, it cuts across several other policy areas such as environmental, housing or education policy.

Why is research on public health needed?

Social science research on public health focuses on three intertwined areas: First, it is interested in why certain groups of people experience better health than others. Second, social scientists address how policymakers respond to public health issues. Third, they study how people make sense of and react to public health policy measures and what their effects are.

Some important questions in this context are:

  • What is the relationship between social phenomena (such as education or loneliness) and health? How do policies address this relationship?
  • How can policymakers, healthcare and social welfare institutions promote population health? Which actions do they take in this regard?
  • Why do policies target certain public health issues and particular groups of people and not others?
  • How are public health measures implemented and what are their health and social consequences?

By answering these questions, social science research can contribute to better public health policies and better population health. Furthermore, it is important, because it can point to the additional – beneficial and detrimental – social implications of public health policy.

What we offer:

Researchers at the European Centre have wide experience in public health policy and great expertise in social science methods. They study social contexts and institutional systems to advise policymakers on comprehensive health promotion and interventions. For example, in the context of research in public health, we

  • Consider the social conditions that may promote or prevent health
  • Analyse public health policies and regulations through comparative methods
  • Pursue an intergovernmental approach that considers the degree to which health issues are allowed for in other policy areas (e.g. health at the workplace, health of the homeless, healthy cities etc.).
  • Liaise with stakeholders in Europe to organise exchanges on new perspectives on public health policies

Project examples

Contact persons

Selma Kadi

Selma Kadi

Mirjam Pot

Mirjam Pot