Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics 

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Charité epidemiologist Stefan Willich receives Harvard award

Social medicine physician and epidemiologist Stefan Willich received the Alumni Award of Merit from the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health on September 27. This is the first time that this highest honor for alumni of the institution has gone to a German scientist.

The review panel particularly recognized Willich's contributions to establishing one of the world's leading epidemiological centers at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, as well as his publications on current public health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Prof. Dr. Stefan Willich is an internist, epidemiologist, musician and one of the best-known social medicine and public health experts in Germany. Since 1995, he has been director of the Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, which has become one of the most important epidemiological research centers in the world during his tenure. The Charité institute translates many of his preventive medicine research findings into clinical practice. The preventive outpatient clinic established by Willich at Charité has become a model throughout Europe," stated the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health review panel.

A committed advocate of Integrative Medicine, Willich's research has also investigated the effectiveness of traditional and complementary health practices and promoted their use in addition to conventional medical therapy. He was the founding president of the European Society for Integrative Medicine (ESIM), the first editor of the European Journal of Integrative Medicine, and the initiator of the first World Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health.

Willich has authored or co-authored more than 500 peer-reviewed publications and dozens of books and monographs. He is Co-Principal Investigator of the NAKO Health Study, one of the largest epidemiological studies of chronic disease etiology. He is a health policy advisor as well as a presence in the German media, most recently commenting on the sociomedical and epidemiological issues surrounding COVID-19.

The award also recognizes Willich's humanitarian efforts. An accomplished violinist, he founded and conducts the World Doctors Orchestra, an international group of physicians and musicians. Since its founding in 2008, the orchestra has grown to more than 1,500 members worldwide and performs several times a year to support medical aid projects.

PD Dr. med. Anne Berghöfer
+49 30 450 529 034; E-Mail:

The Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics of the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin represents the clinical-theoretical field of social medicine with its disciplines epidemiology, demography, prevention and health economics at the medical faculty Charité.

We are in the canon of the Charité institutions and as the largest institute in the CharitéCentrum 1 for human and health sciences with a team of about 50 employees and additional visiting scientists, student employees and doctoral students in research and teaching as well as in health care.

Our research focuses on epidemiology and prevention, health economics and health systems research, global health sciences and complementary and integrative medicine.

In the various occupational groups, which work together in an interdisciplinary manner within the teams, networking with clinical and basic sciences, clinics and the humanities and social sciences is particularly reflected. Physicians, psychologists, health economists, statisticians, data managers, study nurses and secretariats work together on the same projects and benefit each other from their different education and scientific socialization.

For our research projects, we solicit over € 1 million in funding annually. Our research results are published in international journals.