Research Group: Community Health and Health Care Systems

Located in the paradigm of participatory health research, the group applies social sciences theories and methods to study the contextual conditions of health, health behaviors, and health care in and with communities. The group focusses on (a) social and structural determinants of health, health disparities, and vulnerable populations in community health, (b) innovative approaches to knowledge translation and co-creation of knowledge and interventions in health(care)systems, and (c) healthy environments, including community and policy interventions for health-promoting resilient and active cities.

Group leaders

Group members

Ongoing resarch projects

Divided pandemic society and Public Health. Polarization in the Covid-19 pandemic response in Switzerland (MCID Bern, 2022-2025)

This project uses an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on the fields of political science and public health (community health and epidemiology) to investigate the manifold divides in Covid-19 risk perceptions, policy preferences, and preferences for protective behaviours – with a particular focus on marginalized communities, particularly from immigrant or ethnic minority backgrounds.

BaSAlt - Physical activity promotion in long-term care facilities (BMG, 2019-2022)

BaSAlt is a participatory mixed-methods study with in eight nursing homes in South-Western Germany. It aims to generate knowledge about the structural and personal conditions of older adults' physical activity in nursing homes as well as to develop and test an integrated counseling approach to promote physical activity in this setting. Link

Current PhD projects

Researcher - policymaker interaction in public health: A qualitative, actor-centred approach

(Sophie Meyer)

This PhD project aims to establish an understanding of actor-oriented processes of knowledge translation in public health that helps develop a framework for a Swiss health science and policy exchange in public health emergencies.

Migrant health and smoking

(Kris Schürch)

This PhD project aims to in-depth research knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour towards smoking among people with migration experience in Switzerland to identify and develop promising strategies to support and promote healthy choices in diverse socio-cultural contexts.

Landscapes of health and illness and societal division in a "pandemic-tested" society: A qualitative multi-method approach

(Cristopher Kobler Betancourt)

This PhD project is located within the multidisciplinary research project "The pandemic society in Switzerland: Polarization and public health" (funded by the MCID, Bern).
It uses a A social science method-mix including multi-sited ethnography, focus group discussions and drawing-elicitations to a) explore healthcare practices on an individual level and their sociocultural embedment, b) reconstruct potentially shared health and illness beliefs within and across different communities - to look at collective patterns, and c) to understand and explain how societal division might emerge from landscapes of health and illness in the context of pandemic emergency and thus to reflect health equity for future pandemic response.

Global research component within the WHO special initiative on urban governance for health, wellbeing, and equity (WHO HQ Geneva, Enhanced Wellbeing Unit, 2021)

Within the special initiative of the World Health Organization, the research component brings together partners from Bogota, Douala, Khulna, Mexico City, and Tunis to review existing evidence on how to achieve good governance for health and well-being, understood as participatory governance that builds upon multisectoral action and civic engagement, and how to measure the impact of governance on urban health outcomes. The global research component aims to identify potential barriers and facilitators for multisectoral action and civic engagement as well as, ultimately, to identify potential models of good governance for health, equity, and well-being in urban settings.

coming soon