Landeszentrum Gesundheit Nordrhein-Westfalen (LZG.NRW) - EPIET
Tel. +49 234 91535-2400
Fax. +49 234 91535-2491
Description of the institute
The Landeszentrum Gesundheit Nordrhein-Westfalen (LZG.NRW) is the professional coordination center for the Public Health Services in North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) within the portfolio of the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia giving support and expert advice in all health issues to the authorities in charge - the NRW State government and the municipalities.
The about 150 employees of NRW Centre for health are working at the intersection of research, policy and practice in multidisciplinary teams with a broad range of educational backgrounds and experiences. There are five functional or organizational units: division 1, Service, internal administrative affairs, but also internal communications, press and media. Division 2 is professional responsible for Infection Prevention and Control. It is composed of two departments, the department 2.1 Infectiology and Hygiene and the department 2.2 Infectious Diseases Epidemiology. The department 2.2 Infectious Diseases Epidemiology - a young team of epidemiologists – is the responsible unit for the EPIET training. Division 3 is professional responsible for Healthy Settings and Prevention, Health Promotion, Healthy Childhood and Youth. Division 4 is professional responsible for Drugs and Medicines, their Usage and Safety. Division 5 deals with Health Data, Health Reporting and Healthcare Structures, Health Economics,
Since 2017 the NRW Centre for Health is mainly located 8 minutes away from downtown Bochum in a new building at the Gesundheitscampus, nearby the area of the Ruhr University Bochum with more than 40,000 students one of the largest universities in Germany, including the Faculty of Medicine, the Center for Clinical Research, the Biomedical Center (including VISUS Ltd., Kairos Ltd., Cyberdyne lTd., SNAP Ltd., MedEcon Ruhr Ltd.), the Technology Center (including Grönemeyer Institute, ReDis Ltd., ZTG Ltd.) and numerous other health-related professorial chairs (economic, social, natural, engineering) and the technology district (phenox Ltd., Tieto Germany Ltd.).
The city of Bochum (approximately 365,000 inhabitants) is situated between the rivers Ruhr and Emscher and belongs to the Ruhr district (5.1M inhabitants), the largest conurbation in Germany with many open green spaces (Kemnader lake). In Bochum there are nine universities or branches of higher education institutions. In 2010 Bochum and the Ruhr area were European Capital of Culture. The German Mining Museum, the Schauspielhaus, the Planetarium, the Railway Museum, the Bermuda3eck, the Ruhrstadion (as the venue of the soccer club VfL Bochum), Tierpark and Fossilium as well as the longest-running musical in the world, Starlight Express, are known nationwide.
North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous territorial state (18 M inhabitants) in Germany, situated in the Middle West of Germany, organized in 5 District Authorities and 53 local public health departments with a great amount of notified infections (N=75.146 in 2019) and notified outbreaks (n=1.165 in 2018), a large field to train enthusiastic intervention epidemiologists in applied research, outbreak investigation and surveillance evaluation.
The EPIET fellow will be involved in the broad spectrum of routine tasks of the LZG NRW as the state’s intelligence unit for the surveillance of infectious diseases, responsible for advice and support to the local health authorities in their performance and duties according to the Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases in Man (Protection against Infection Act), regarding any issues in the fields of applied infection hygiene, communicable disease epidemiology, immunization and sexually transmitted diseases. LZG NRW also provides information on highly contagious diseases, recommendations on risk management and outbreak control. LZG NRW also provides educational modules on infection prevention and control that can be conducted in cooperation of local health authorities and public health schools. In addition the LZG is organizes yearly two expert conferences (NRW-Dialog) and is involved in numerous scientific symposia and conferences.
State Reporting Office
Monitoring of infectious diseases and early detection of outbreaks are the core responsibilities of the epidemiologic intelligence unit. Cases of notifiable diseases are published online weekly, in the “infection.
Sexually transmitted and blood borne infections including HIV
The prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and blood borne infections including HIV is an important task of the public health service in the Infection Protection Act, often focused on vulnerable target groups. The NRW Centre for Health supports and advises the Public Health Services in the performance of the various tasks associated with Sexual Health.
Centre of excellence in infection control
The NRW Centre for Health advises and supports in implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR) and rules for notification of events of international significance to the World Health Organization (WHO) according to section 12 of the Infection Protection Act (IfSG) at the federal level. New standards and changes in international regulations require constant adjustments. The LZG NRW advises the authorities and bodies on the topic of "measures related to threatening diseases" especially in pandemic situations.
LZG NRW provides the Ministry of Health and local health authorities with expert knowledge on vaccination, vaccine preventable diseases and the national immunization plan according to the Recommendations of the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO). Primary data on vaccination coverage, surveyed by the local health authorities during the annual school entrance health examinations, are compiled, processed and published.
Another focus in this field is the development of recommendations, e.g. on strategies for specific target groups. LZG NRW supports local health authorities during outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases, giving advice on post exposure vaccination and other specific preventive measures.
Applied Hygiene and Hospital Epidemiology
The LZG NRW and the Public Health Services agree on guidelines, standards and recommendations on infection control measures, to improve hospital hygiene and hygiene in nursing homes, in schools and in day care centers in NRW.
In 2006 a policy to combat the emerging multi-resistant pathogens was adopted in the framework of the Health Ministers Conference. This policy intended a nationwide establishment of regional networks for the prevention of multidrug-resistant pathogens. There are already 26 MRSA or MRE networks in NRW, involving a total of 52 municipalities.
We are Partner in a Public Health project “Medical tourists - a source of imported pathogens. A status survey in NRW using the example of MERS coronavirus” funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). In the projects, data on patients arriving only for medical treatment will be collected in clinics in NRW in order to estimate the risk for imported pathogens, in particular MERS-CoV and multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO). From the results, information material and recommendations for action for the public health service and the hospital staff will be developed.
We were partner in the EurHealth-1Health project, a follow-up project of EurSafety Health-net and the Euregio MRSA-net. These projects are nationwide models in the prevention of nosocomial MDRO infections. The main goal of the current project is, next to protection against infection, strengthening of trans-border patient safety with a special focus on “One Health”. The project is funded until 2020 by the INTERREG V A Programme "Germany-Netherlands". The Dutch-German cooperation reinforces the protection against infectious hazards such as hospital acquired infections, diarrheal disease, but also the prevention antimicrobial resistance and promotion of prudent use of antibiotics in human and animal health. Project coordinators are the University Hospital Groningen, the North Rhine Westphalian Centre for Health, the Klinikum Oldenburg, the Lower Saxony State Health Department, the Local Health Department Neuss, the University Hospital Münster and the Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety.
Laboratory services, including microbiology, are based on agreements with external laboratories, funding programs or research cooperation’s. In principle, the local health departments dispose laboratory investigations in outbreak investigations, often in cooperation with the reference laboratories in Germany. If a cluster of cases occurs, they can be asked for support in outbreak analysis by laboratory testing, typing (i.e. to confirm the same strain) or laboratory confirmation (i.e. detection of false negative tests) of samples. In order to be able to provide expert advice for a broad spectrum of pathogens, in Germany consiliar laboratories (KL) are also appointed to health-relevant infectious agents. The focus here is on consulting services but also on laboratory support in outbreak investigation.
Particular strength of NRW Centre for Health as EPIET training site:
-highly motivated multidisciplinary team with a broad range of educational backgrounds and experiences
-strong regional and international network
-experience in cross-border surveillance of multidrug resistant pathogens (MRE)
-EPIET (MS-track) graduate on site
-central location in Germany and Europe, great diversity in the population, -urban and rural districts
-Hochdeutsch (modern standard German) is spoken throughout the whole area
The EPIET fellow will be involved in the broad spectrum of routine tasks in applied infection hygiene, communicable disease epidemiology, immunization, sexually transmitted diseases, risk management of threatening events and pandemic preparedness, teaching and surveillance in a population of 18M inhabitants.
The EPIET fellow will be encouraged to participate in specific research and surveillance projects, outbreak investigations as well as in our teaching activities.
We offer project outlines for epidemiological studies but also invite the fellow to contribute own ideas. LZG fellows can draw on the experience of the excellent EPIET/FETP infrastructure at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Berlin, including weekly academic sessions (telephone conferencing) and quarterly meetings held at RKI.
The LZG provides best conditions to fulfill the EPIET requirements and to acquire a sound expertise in infectious disease epidemiology.
Like all EPIET and PAE fellows in Germany, the LZG fellow has the opportunity to enroll in the Master of Science in Applied Epidemiology (MSAE) program (120 ECTS points) which is organized by RKI and Charité University, the medical university of Berlin.
Primary supervision is provided by Annette Jurke. She is the head of the department responsible for the EPIET training, an experienced supervisor and a senior expert in applied infectious disease epidemiology. Sebastian Thole, who graduated EPIET Member State-track in 2018 at LZG.NRW offers project supervision. Other supervisors depend on the projects chosen.
Currently there are seven experienced infectious diseases epidemiologists, three microbiologists and other experts at the site, all happy to support the EPIET fellow.
Good English skills and working knowledge of German (and the willingness to improve) are recommended to communicate with municipal partners. Language classes can be organized easily.
Number of EPIET fellows trained at institute: One (2016)
Number of PAE fellow trained at institute: One (2008)
Number of EPIET alumni working at institute: One
Number of PAE alumni working at institute: None