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Medical Sociology

The socio-cultural, normative, organizational, interactive and individual determinants of health and disease are typically at the center of medical sociology. These include, for example, the study of structures, processes and programs of medical treatment and care systems, as well as research on interactions and communication between health care practitioners, patients and their families.

In both its application and interdisciplinarity, medical sociology proves to be particularly adaptable to the fields of medicine, health sciences, sociology, psychology, pedagogy and economics. Accordingly, the medical sociology department at IMVR is networked primarily to improve patient-centered care (e.g. oncological centers) and to contribute to the restoration, strengthening and enhancement of health literacy and of mental, physical and social well-being.

Theoretically and empirically, medical sociology is strongly oriented towards its mother discipline of sociology. Macro-, meso- and micro-theoretical approaches are used along with the numerous possibilities of empirical social research. In addition to its various own surveys, e.g. on aggression in the children's hospital, the medical sociology department at IMVR is particularly well known in evaluation research. For example, we analyze and evaluate various forms of care - such as in certified breast cancer centers in NRW as part of the routine survey, and in an integrated, cross-sector psycho-oncological approach in Germany in the pilot project "isPO."

In teaching, the medical sociology department at IMVR is an integral part of the medical studies program and the Master's programs for Health Economics and Health Care Science. Beyond the intensive training and application of empirical survey methods, students learn the understanding and explanation of social influences on health and illness. Through this education, students are sensitized to patient care, medical communication, cooperation, diagnostics, therapy, counseling and support.

Based on the current subject catalogue for medical sociology (IMPP), macrosocial developments such as population structure, social stratification and social change, as well as organizational parameters such as structural characteristics and cross-sectional tasks in the health system are didactically prepared and communicated at IMVR. Microsocial contexts refer to medical and nursing activities, as well as to the doctor-patient relationship, which includes associated psychosocial knowledge and skills. In addition, subject-specific features of disease and health behavior are explained. These findings are combined in the thematic areas of health promotion, prevention and rehabilitation. Medical sociology at IMVR thus contributes to medical education through a holistic, i.e. biopsychosocial understanding of disease and health.

Department Medical Sociology

Dr. Antje Dresen (Abteilungsleitung)


Natalia Cecon


Theresia Krieger, PhD


Susan Lee


Dr. Timo-Kolja Pförtner


Sandra Salm