Prof. Dr. Lothar H. Wieler

Our Vision for Digital Global Public Health at HPI

Our research is strategically designed and dedicated to addressing critical global health and health equity challenges. Our primary focus encompasses infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases, recognizing their profound impact on communities worldwide. Within this framework, we will hone our attention towards three pivotal areas, which are considered major global health threats today, namely, Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), Diabetes and Mental health. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a great impact on society at every level. Learning from COVID-19 is crucial in addressing these global health threats. At the heart of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic was human behaviour, and the pandemic brought to light a host of challenges, underscoring the need for careful consideration and robust ethical frameworks concerning global health issues. As a research group focusing on digital global health and health equity, we wish to leverage the knowledge gained from the COVID-19 pandemic and hope to adopt a more holistic and adaptive approach to global health issues. Essential to our approach is a steadfast commitment to prevention, aiming to curb the spread of diseases and alleviate their burden on vulnerable populations.

Illustration depicting the work and vision of the Chair for Digital Global Public Health

Keeping the guiding principles of Global Health in mind, it is essential that the digital tools we develop, and research we carry out at the Chair for Digital Global Public Health consider these aspects when implementing our research agenda. Following COVID-19, we wish to analyze some of our learnings and experiences more thoroughly and apply these lessons to our current research goals. We will focus on evidence-based public health communication using digital tools with a positive psychology approach to create and improve awareness around AMR, Diabetes and Mental Health. In addition, we will initiate digital health interventions to gather evidence about the outcome and success of these targeted interventions. To address the digital divide and digital health equity, we will focus on descriptive ethics around metrics, preferences and perceptions with regard to fairness, trust and the basic ethical principles that guide the use of AI and digital technology for health. Finally, our methodology will include among others, federated analysis, predictive modelling, data quality analysis and natural language processing. 

We aim to develop digital tools that promote health and well-being for everyone but are also affordable and accessible. Our research will therefore not be confined to high-income countries (HICs) including Germany, but a special focus will be placed on low-and middle-income countries (LICs and LMICs). We will work closely with our partners at HPI-Mount Sinai in New York and in South Africa.