Bielefeld becomes the centre of health education in NRW

The Faculty of Health Sciences is founded on 24 May 1994 as the first of its kind in Germany. The forerunner of the Faculty is the supplementary course of studies in Health Sciences and Public Health Promotion, established in 1989. By placing cooperation with medical professionals in the foreground, this course serves as a model for teaching this subject. This practical orientation and interdisciplinarity goes on to significantly shape the Faculty’s profile, such that the academic community refers to it as the “Bielefeld Model”.  The first dean is Professor Dr. Klaus Hurrelmann, who is a member of the Education Faculty Commission.

Ceremony for the foundation of the Faculty of Health Sciences on 12 October 1994 at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), in which the founding dean Professor Dr. Klaus Hurrelmann and Rektor Professor Dr. Karl Peter Grotemeyer as well as the NRW Minister of Science, Anke Brunn, participated.

Photo: Klaus Halbe
Source: Universitätsarchiv Bielefeld, FOS 01879

The faculty was founded on the template of independent “Schools of Public Health”, which are particularly popular in the USA, with the aim of maintaining and promoting health. Klaus Hurrelmann said on the occasion of his election as founding dean: “With the founding of the new Faculty, Bielefeld will become the No. 1 university address for the new health professions and for modern interdisciplinary health research.”

Founding members of the Faculty of Health Sciences, from left to right: Professor Dr. Ulrich Laaser, Dr. Paul Wolters, Professor Dr. Bernhard Badura and founding dean Professor Dr. Klaus Hurrelmann.

Photo: Klaus F. Linnenbrügger
Source: Universitätsarchiv Bielefeld, FOS 01880

Health research for and with OWL (East Westphalia-Lippe)In

In Bielefeld, the conditions for this innovative new faculty were excellent. In addition to the emphasis on interdisciplinarity, the absence of a medical faculty at the University was actually seen as an advantage. Without narrowing it down to curative medicine, the Faculty could focus on the shortcomings and potential improvements of preventative medicine and aftercare. At the same time, the Faculty of Health Sciences was able to draw on medical partners in the “East Westphalia Health Region” from its inception, including the v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel and the Heart Centre Bad Oeynhausen. This participation is still evident today in teaching and research projects.

Signing of the cooperation between v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel and Bielefeld University on 27 April 1989 (from left to right): University Chancellor Dr. Eberhard Firnhaber, Rektor Professor Dr. Karl Peter Grotemeyer, Pastor Johannes Busch (Director of v. Bodelschwingh Foundation) and Dr. Paul Wolters (Managing Director of the Health Sciences course).

Photo: Norma Langohr
Source: Universitätsarchiv Bielefeld, FOS 01881

Already in its early days, the Faculty made significant advances in research in the fields of medical science, such as nursing research and hospital system research. To this day, the Faculty excels above all in problem-oriented basic research. Specialist areas of research include the field of gerontology or the analysis of health effects and implications against the background of the advancing differentiation and diversification of society.