About us Institutes of Medicine Institute of Social Medicine and Epidemiology

Institute of Social Medicine and Epidemiology

Social medicine focuses on the social conditions and implications of illness and health, and on exploring the impact societal and political factors have on illness and health. Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the causes of disease conditions. It offers methodical and methodological tools to explore determinants of illness and health, with the aim of improving health in entire populations. Thus, social medicine and epidemiology are essential theoretical and methodical basic disciplines in medical-scientific education at the Brandenburg Medical School. Our concept of medical education places particular emphasis on the sound conveyance of empirical-scientific research methods, training in critical assessment of existing knowledge, and on developing awareness for social and institutional conditions of illness and health.

Teaching and research activities at the Institute of Social Medicine and Epidemiology aim to contribute to an excellent and person-centred system of health care and research. Key research interests at the institute are:

  • systematic identification and evaluation of patient experiences with health care
  • consistent integration of qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • further development of approaches to integrate different data formats
  • development of mixed-method study designs for health services research

The Institute of Social Medicine and Epidemiology is a member of DIPEx Germany and the umbrella organisation DIPEx international. This international research network systematically explores and compares experiences with illness and health reported by individuals. Registered findings are used in research and also as a source of information for other affected persons, scientists and caregivers. The narratives of health and illness experiences are scientifically evaluated and publicly presented at the webpage krankheitserfahrungen.de.

In addition the Institute of Social Medicine and Epidemiology is a partner institution of the NaviCare research network at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The network aims to create a research structure to establish patient-oriented health services research in the region of Berlin and Brandenburg. In this context Prof. Dr. Christine Holmberg organises a monthly colloquium on care research in collaboration with PD Dr. Nina Rieckmann and Prof. Dr. Jacqueline Müller-Nordhorn. The sessions are primarily useful for doctoral candidates who address topics from patient-centred care research.

Further important research partnerships include the National Cancer Institute (US, nci.gov), in particular the department of cancer prevention and the clinical research organisation NRG Oncology.

Job offers

We are always looking for motivated and qualified student assistants and research associates. Don't hesitate to send us your unsolicited application. 


Holmberg C (2018): What's in a name?: Anecdotes, experience, and the stories. In: Lucius-Hoene G, Holmberg C, Meyer T (Ed.): Illness Narratives in Practice: Potentials and Challenges of Using Narratives in Health-related Contexts. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2018.

Lucius-Hoene G, Holmberg C, Meyer T (Ed.): Illness Narratives in Practice: Potentials and Challenges of Using Narratives in Health-related Contexts. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2018.

Head of Institute:
Prof. Dr. phil. Christine Holmberg, MA, MPH
E-Mail: christine.holmberg@mhb-fontane.de
Telefon: +49 3381 41 1281
About Prof. Holmberg
Prof. Dr. Christine Holmberg heads the Institute of Social Medicine and Epidemiology at Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane. In addition to researching barriers to optimal care from a patient's perspective, Prof. Holmberg is primarily involved in teaching and promoting young talent. She has many years of expertise in patient-oriented research and consistently combines qualitative and quantitative methods.
Prof. Holmberg is a member of DIPEx interantional and DIPEx Germany (www.krankheitserfahrungen.de), a project that aims to make evidence-based disease experiences publicly available. She is a member of the German Network Health Care Research e.V., where she actively participates in the working group ‘Qualitative Methods’ and contributes to further education (Spring School). In Brandenburg, Prof. Holmberg intends to continue the development of cooperations for patient-oriented research and extend them to the field of rural care in order to counteract the current deficits.
Melanie Kahle-Stephan
E-Mail: melanie.kahle@mhb-fontane.de
Phone: +49 3381 41 1280
About Mrs. Kahle-Stephan
Melanie Kahle-Stephan is the assistance at the Institute for Social Medicine and Epidemiology at Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane. She studied nutrition science in Hohenheim and learned a lot about organization, communication and coordination of scientific projects during her scientific activities. These experiences help with the establishment of the institute and the support of all employees, in particular of Prof. Holmberg.
Research Assistant:
Tim Holetzek, MA
E-Mail: tim.holetzek@mhb-fontane.de
Phone: +49 3381 41 1282
About Mr. Holetzek
Tim Holetzek is research assistant at the Institute of Social Medicine and Epidemiology at Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontan. He holds a master’s degree in political science, which he earned from the universities of Göttingen (Germany) and Warsaw (Poland). In the past, he has worked at the Department of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine at University Medical Center Göttingen.
His academic interests focus on shared decision-making in health care, social aspects of medicine and the integration of qualitative and quantitative research methods
Research Fellows
Andreas Bergholz, M.A.
Phone: +49 3381 41 1288
About Mr. Bergholz
Andreas Bergholz studied political science and sociology at the University of Kassel, Germany. He recieved his Master of Arts in social policies. His dissertation focused mental images of young persons from the perspective of the eldery. The research took place in a neighbourhood close to the center of a city in North Rhine Westphalia. The dissertation was part of the NRW Forschungskolleg „GROW – Gerontological Research on Well-being“ of the University of Cologne, Germany. Andreas Bergholz‘ main areas of research are reconstructive research, social space, aging and subjective health-related behaviour.


  • Tebest R; Bergholz A, Stock S (2019): Inanspruchnahme von Versorgungsleistungen des deutschen Gesundheitssystems. In Haring R. (Ed.): Gesundheitswissenschaften. Springer, S. 547-559.
Dr. Martina Breuning, Dipl.-Psych.
About Dr. Breuning
Martina Breuning studied psychology at the Universities of Trier and Freiburg. After several years of practical work in an epilepsy clinic, she completed her PhD at the University of Freiburg on the subject of patient narratives in the health sector. Her focus is on qualitative research methods, health care research and systemic therapy approaches.
Since 2008 Martina Breuning has been involved in the development and management of the project Krankheitserfahrungen.de (DIPEx Germany). In the website project of the Universities of Freiburg, Göttingen and Brandenburg, people share their experiences with disease, health and medicine (www.krankheitserfahrungen.de). The experiences are collected all over Germany by means of qualitative interviews, systematically analysed and prepared for the website. Ms Breuning is Director of DIPEx Germany, representing the German group in the international umbrella organisation DIPEx International. She is particularly interested in the question of how people and their relatives cope with illness and suffering and how these subjective experiences can be made useful for others in the health sector. In addition to her research activities, Ms. Breuning has been active in teaching for many years.


  • Breuning, M., Schäfer-Fauth, L., Lucius-Hoene, G., Holmberg, C. (2019). Connecting one’s own illness story to the illness experiences of others on a website - An evaluation study using the think aloud method. Patient Education and Counseling,  (in press), ISSN 0738-3991, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2019.08.014.

  • Lucius-Hoene, G., Breuning, M. & Helfferich, C. (2018). Illness narratives in practice. Which questions do we have to face when collecting and using them? In Lucius-Hoene, G. et al (Hrsg.) Illness Narratives in Practice: Potentials and Challenges of Using Narratives in Health-related Contexts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Adami, S., Breuning, M., Bengel, J., Bischoff, A., Peng-Keller, S.(2018). Chronische Schmerzpatientinnen und -patienten sprechen über ihre Spiritualität: eine qualitative Analyse von Interviews aus dem Projekt krankheitserfahrungen.de. Spiritual Care. 7 (3), 243-254.

  • Breuning, M., Lucius-Hoene, G., Burbaum, C., Himmel, W. & Bengel, J. (2017). Subjektive Krankheitserfahrungen und Patientenorientierung. Das Website-Projekt DIPEx Germany. Bundesgesundheitsblatt, Gesundheitsforschung, Gesundheitsschutz, 60 (4), 453-461.

  • Breuning, M., Hettmer, S., Strahm, B., Bengel, J. & Niemeyer, C. (2016). Krebskranke Kinder und ihre Familien. Verständnis für das Erleben. Deutsches Ärzteblatt, 113 (51), 2362-2363.

  • Lucius-Hoene, G., Breuning, M. & Palant, A. (2015). Patientenerfahrung als Ressource: die Website www.krankheitserfahrungen. de. In V. E. Amelung, S. Eble, H. Hildebrandt, F. Knieps, R. Lägel, S. Ozegowski et al. (Hrsg.), Patientenorientierung. Schlüssel für mehr Qualität (Schriftenreihe des Bundesverbandes Managed Care, S. 248–253). Berlin: MWV Medizinisch Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft.

  • Lucius-Hoene, G., Groth, S., Becker, A.-K., Dvorak, F., Breuning, M. & Himmel, W. (2013). Wie erleben Patienten die Veröffentlichung ihrer Krankheitserfahrungen im Internet? Die Rehabilitation, 52 (3), 196-201.

  • Lucius-Hoene, G., Thiele, U., Breuning, M. & Haug, S. (2012). Doctors' voices in patients' narratives: coping with emotions in storytelling. Chronic Illness, 8 (3), 163-175.

Dr. Sylvia Euler
Phone: +49 3381 41 1287
Dr. med. Philipp Jaehn, MSc
Phone: +49 3381 41 1283
About Dr. Jaehn
Dr. Jaehn studied Medicine in Heidelberg, Germany and Istanbul, Turkey and Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK. His main areas of research include quantitative research methods, social epidemiology and epidemiology of non-communicable diseases. He worked on describing features of gastrointestinal cancers among resettles from the former Soviet Union at the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health. Currently, he is coordinator of the project AdvanceGender and studies participation in health research using approaches grounded in gender theory.
  • Jaehn P, Bobrova N, Saburova L, Kudryavtsev A V, Malyutina S, Cook S (2020): The relation of gender role attitudes with depression and generalised anxiety disorder in two Russian cities. Journal of Affective Disorders 264: 348-357. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.01.027.

  • Jaehn P, Kaucher S, Pikalova, LV, Mazeina S, Kajüter H, Becher H, Valkov M, Winkler V (2019): A cross-national perspective of migration and cancer: incidence of five major cancer types among resettlers from the former Soviet Union in Germany and ethnic Germans in Russia. BMC Cancer 19: 869. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-019-6058-6

  • Akçay M, Drees S, Geffert K, Havemann M, Hommes F, Jaehn, Krisam M, Mohsenpour A, Sell K, Stratil J, von Philipsborn P (2019): Öffentliche Gesundheit in Deutschland. Eine Perspektive des Nachwuchses. Das Gesundheitswesen (efirst). doi: 10.1055/a-0795-3477.

  • Gabrysch S, Jaehn P (2018): Commentary: Germany must invest in its global health academic workforce. The Lancet; 391(10121): 656-657. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(18)30247-2

  • Cho AB*, Jaehn P*, Holleczek B, Becher H, Winkler V. (2018): Stage of cancer diagnoses among migrants from the former Soviet Union in comparison to the German population – are diagnoses among migrants delayed? BMC Public Health; 18(1):148. doi: 10.1186/s12889-018-5046-0 (* equal contribution)

  • Jaehn P, Inhoffen J, Scheer J, Streicher F, Gesine Huhn A, Lance C. 2017. [Possibilities for Universities to Influence Global Pricing of Medicines]. Gesundheitswesen. 2017 Jul;79(7):530-534. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-113249

  • Jaehn P, Holleczek B, Becher H, Winkler V. 2016. Histologic types of gastric cancer among migrants from the former Soviet Union and the general population in Germany: what kind of prevention do we need? Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Aug;28(8):863-70.

  • Brauner M, Fendel L, Jaehn P, Wagner-Ahlfs C. 2015. Studierendeninitiative: Sozial verantwortlich forschen. Dtsch Arztebl 2015; 112(26)

Franziska König, MA, MSc
Phone: +49 3381 41 1286
About Mrs. König
Franziska König studied sociology, psychology and education at University of Magdeburg and University of Bangor (Wales/ GB). After her master studies she worked at Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, where she worked on the mobility of residents in nursing homes. In another project she interviewed inhabitants of a coal mining area in Germany regarding ways of coping with mental stress caused by the imminent resettlement. Furthermore, she studied public health at the Charité in Berlin. In her dissertation she did research on the topics of transdisciplinary cooperations and crossover between different professional worlds. In addition to her research Franziska König can draw on several years of teaching experience at Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg and Hamburg University of Applied Sciences.
Dr. phil. Sibille Merz
Phone: +49 3381 41 1284
About Dr. Merz
Sibille is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in AdvanceGender at the Institute for Social Medicine and Epidemiology at the Medical University Brandenburg Theodor Fontane. She studied social sciences and cultural studies in Berlin and London and gained her PhD in sociology from Goldsmiths, University of London. In her thesis, she empirically examined the construction of ethnic and racial populations in global clinical trials, using the Indian clinical trial industry as her main research site. Her research interests include the social, ethical and economic dimensions of biomedical research; the construction of difference in biology and medicine; Critical Global Health and qualitative methods. Before joining MHB, she worked as a guest lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London and the University of Warwick, and as Research Fellow at the Institute for the History of Medicine at the University of Bonn, Germany.
Publications - Book chapters and articles:
  • Merz, S; Bruni, T; Gadebusch Bondio, M (2018): Diagnose-Apps: wenig Evidenz, Deutsches Ärzteblatt, 115 (12): A-522/B-454/C454.
  • Merz, S; Williams, R (2018): ‘We all have a responsibility to each other’: valuing racialised bodies in the neoliberal bioeconomy. New Political Economy 23(5):560-573.
  • Merz, S (2016): Questioning racial prescriptions. An interview with Jonathan Inda. Theory, Culture and Society, 33(7–8):338–349.
  • Merz, S (2016): ‘Health and ancestry start here’: race and prosumption in online genetic testing services. Ephemera 16(3):107-125.
  • Merz, S (2012): The missionaries of the new era? Neoliberalism and NGOs in Palestine. Race and Class 54(1):50-66.
  • Merz, S (2011): Zwischen ‘Big Society’ und ‘Aspiration Nation’. Krise, Nation und Exklusion in Großbritannien. In: Friedrich, S, Schreiner, P (Ed.): Nation – Ausgrenzung – Krise. Kritische Perspektiven auf Europa. Münster: Edition Assemblage, 139-150.
  • Merz, S (2011): Reforming resistance: Neoliberalism and the co-option of civil society organisations in Palestine. In: Fisher, R (Ed.): Managing democracy, managing dissent. Capitalism, democracy and the organisation of consent. London: Corporate Watch, 136-152.
  • Merz, S (2010): Islam. In: Arndt, S; Ofuatey-Alazard, N. (Eds.): Wie Rassismus aus Wörtern spricht. Kerben des Kolonialismus im Wissensarchiv deutsche Sprache. Ein kritisches Nachschlagewerk. Münster: Unrast, 365-377.
Book reviews:
  • Merz, S 2015 Rose, N. and M. Abi-Rached, J., (2013). Neuro: The new brain sciences and the management of the mind, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Theory, Culture & Society, online.
  • Merz, S (2011): Bröning, M (2011): The politics of change in Palestine, London: Pluto Press. Middle East Policy Council xviii (4), 172-173.
  • Merz, S (2009): Krell, G. et al. (Eds.): Diversity Studies. Grundlagen und disziplinäre Ansätze, New York/Frankfurt a.M.: Campus, Politische Bildung 4 (2007), 109-111.
Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Anne Thier, MSc, MPH
Phone: +49 3381 41 1285
About Ms. Thier
Anne Thier is a research associate at the Institute for Social Medicine and Epidemiology of the Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane and coordinates the project "Age-Related Macular Degeneration and its Consequences from the Perspective of Affected and Providers - AMD-CARE". She successfully completed her studies in Optometry at the University of Applied Sciences in Aalen with her diploma thesis on "Color vision and visuomotor integration in children with dyslexia". After her studies, she worked for many years as an optometrist in the medical and ophthalmic field. In 2014, she completed her Master of Science degree in Clinical Optometry at Salus University (Master's thesis: "Grave's disease in children") and in 2017 the Master of Public Health at the Charité in Berlin (Master's thesis: "Visual impairment in old age"). Her research focuses on the qualitative and quantitative assessment of the care situation of those with age-related macular degeneration. The aim of her research is to identify difficulties and barriers in caring for those with AMD and to develop new strategies to improve the care of those with AMD.
Student Assistants
Lenoie Berz
Robert Böckmann
Ronja Müller-Mertel
Jessica Rölleke
Julia Schlottmann
Pauline zur Nieden
Research projects
Health service research
AMD Care: Age-related macular degeneration and its implications from the perspective of affected persons and caregivers
One of the consequences of demographic change is an increasing number of elderly patients with visual impairments, primarily due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Advanced stages of the illness make human or technical assistance indispensable, e.g. during daily household chores, driving, or reading books. Advisory services on medical aids or psychosocial support are available to affected individuals who wish to maintain a maximum degree of independence. However, access to pertinent advice appears to be difficult for elderly people, resulting in insufficient information.
The AMD Care project aims to identify and analyse existing barriers to the use of advisory services on medical aids and psychosocial support. Researchers determine the level of knowledge among opticians and ophthalmologists about advisory services on medical aids and psychosocial support, and explore the lifeworld experience and perception of elderly AMD patients.
AMD Care will use study findings to develop strategies to improve the distribution and knowledge of advisory services on medical aids and psychosocial support via ophthalmologists, opticians, general practitioners and other health professionals.
  • Friebe Foundation
NAVICARE – Network to strengthen patient-oriented health services research
Germany’s healthcare system is highly specialized and at the same time extremely fragmented. This is a challenge specifically to chronically ill and multimorbid patients. Innovative care models may serve to remove existing barriers and bridge resulting supply gaps. So-called patient navigators constitute a possible approach already employed in countries such as the United States. Navigators are specially trained to accompany and support patients even beyond the limits of the usual care structures and thus facilitate “navigation” within a fragmented care system.
 The NAVICARE network combines the expertise and methodological competences of various project partners and  includes stakeholders and patient representatives. Apart from research and networking, the project objectives are to improve training in health services research and to promote of young researchers. The Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin is the project site, with Prof. Holmberg as one of the co-applicants.
Project duration: 2017-2020

Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

The experience of other affected persons is of main importance in coping with illness. However, not much is known about ways in which scientifically investigated and publically available narratives of individual illness are used. One aim of DIPEx Oncology was to make such illness-related experiences of patients with prostate, breast and colorectal cancer available at krankheitserfahrungen.de, and to evaluate this service with a special focus on strengthening patient competence (Giesler et al. 2017). Interview data are further analysed, e.g. in regard to cancer patients’ information needs (Blödt et al. 2018).
  • Federal Ministry of Health (National Cancer Plan)
  • Krebsallianz (https://www.krebsallianz.de)
Cooperation partners:
  • DIPEx Germany
  • University of Freiburg
  • Joachim Weis (University of Freiburg, Tumor Biology Clinic)
  • Juergen M. Giesler (Unversity of Freiburg, Institute of Medical Biometrics and Statistics)
  • Psychoonkology (Comprehensive Cancer Center, Charité)
  • Interdisciplinary Breast Center (Charité)
  • Interdisciplinary Prostate Center (IPZ) (Charité)
  • Stiftung Männergesundheit – Men’s Health Foundation
Selected publications:
  • Blödt S, Kaiser M, Adam Y et al: Understanding the role of health information in patients’ experiences: secondary analysis of qualitative narrative interviews with people diagnosed with cancer in Germany. BMJ Open
  • Giesler JM, Keller B, Repke T, Leonhart R, Weis J, Muckelbauer R, Rieckmann N, Müller-Nordhorn J, Lucius-Hoene G, Holmberg C: Effect of a Website That Presents Patients’ Experiences on Self-Efficacy and Patient Competence of Colorectal Cancer Patients: Web-Based Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR
  • Lucius-Hoene G, Holmberg C, Meyer T (Eds.): Illness Narratives in Practice: Potentials and Challenges of Using Narratives in Health-related Contexts. 2018. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Decision-Making in Patients at Risk for Breast Cancer
Decision Making in Patients at Risk for Breast Cancer
In the US tamoxifen and raloxifene, two selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), are approved for breast cancer risk reduction since both SERMs have shown to reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer by 50%. The study´s primary aim was to describe the influence of social, environmental and psychological factors (sociality of medication intake, life-events, understanding of prevention, clinical situation) on the decision of women at risk for breast cancer for using chemoprevention agents (Holmberg et al. 2017). Secondary aims are to understand the implications of and influences on decision making that a diagnosis of 'being at risk for breast cancer' has for women, to develop a survey that identifies the factors that influence the decision-making process of women at high risk of breast cancer who are considering chemoprevention, and to understand, what factors hinder women from taking chemoprevention for breast cancer (e.g. Blakeslee et al 2017; Gunn et al 2017).
  • National Cancer Institute
  • NRG Oncology
  • MD Anderson Cancer Center (Division of Cancer Medicine: Dr. Therese Bevers)
  • Boston University Medical Center (Center of Excellence in Women’s Health: Tracy Battaglia)
  • University of Utah (Department of Population Health Sciences: Angela Fagerlin)
Ausgewählte Publikationen:
  • Holmberg C et al, NRG Oncology/National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project Decision-Making Project-1 Results: Decision Making in Breast Cancer Risk Reduction.2017, Journal for Cancer Prevention
  • Blakeslee S et al, Deciding on breast cancer risk reduction: The role of counselling in individual decision-making – A qualitative study. PEC-Journal
Science and methodologies studies
The joint project AdvanceGender aims to develop a tool box with methods of gender-sensitive research to guide the design of research processes in population-based studies: the idea is to facilitate gender-sensitive research as a basis for empirically grounded health monitoring. The project AdvanceGender focuses on study participation and recruitment, data analysis and health monitoring.
The subproject AdvanceRecruitment analyses recruitment and study participation in population-based studies. It explores possible explanations for gender-specific differences in the participation in population-based studies, and possible implications of other categories such as income and education.
  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Cooperation partners:
  • Institute for Public Health and Nursing Research, University of Bremen
  • Department of Health Monitoring, Robert Koch Institute
Risk Scores
Risk scores
The project addresses knowledge transfer processes in epidemiological knowledge generation and the circulation of epidemiological findings in the form of so-called risk scores (Kalender/Holmberg in print).
The objective is to develop an understanding of knowledge transfer processes in epidemiological knowledge generation using the example of a cohort study. An information platform is in preparation to illustrate the generation and dissemination of epidemiological knowledge.
The project uses a combination of method elements from social science and technology research (guideline-based interviews, participatory observations and document analyses). The website is being designed in collaboration with curators, graphic artists, web designers, IT experts and dramatists.
  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Cooperation partners:
  • Institute of Sociology, Goethe University Frankfurt (Prof. Dr. Susanne Bauer, now: University of Oslo, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture)
Selected publications:
  • Kalender U, Holmberg C (in print): Zukünftiges Datendoppel. Digitale Körpervermessung in Kohortenstudien. In Heyen NB, Dickel S, Brüninghaus A (Eds.), Personal Health Science. Persönliches Gesundheitswissen zwischen Selbstsorge und Bürgerforschung, Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2018.


  • Holmberg, C. (2005). Diagnose Brustkrebs. Eine ethnografische Studie über Krankheit und Krankheitserleben. Frankfurt/New York: Campus-Verlag.

Edited Books

  • Lucius-Hoene, G., Holmberg, C., Meyer, T., (Eds.) (2018). Illness Narratives in Practice: Potentials and Challenges of Using Narratives in Health-related Contexts. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
  • Holmberg, C., Blume, S., Greenough P. (Eds.) (2017). The Politics of Vaccination: A Global History. Society for the Social History of Medicine Series. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Journal Articles (peer-review)

First and last author articles

  • Blödt, S., Kaiser, M., Adam, Y., Adami, S., Schultze, M., Müller-Nordhorn, J., & Holmberg, C. (2018). Understanding the role of health information in patients’ experiences: secondary analysis of qualitative narrative interviews with people diagnosed with cancer in Germany. BMJ Open, 8, e019576. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019576
  • Kendel, F., Otto, I., Engler, J., Schrader, M., & Holmberg, C. (2018). Leben mit einem lokal begrenzten Prostatakarzinom – Entscheidungsfindung und Krankheitsverarbeitung. Psychotherapie – Psychosomatik – Medizinische Psyhologie (EFirst). doi:10.1055/s-0043-122880
  • Holmberg, C., Bandos, H., Fagerlin, A., Bevers, T. B., Battaglia, T. A., Wickerham, D. L., & McCaskill-Stevens, W. J. (2017). NRG Oncology/National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project Decision-Making Project-1 Results: Decision Making in Breast Cancer Risk Reduction. Cancer Prevention Research, 10(11), 625-634. doi:10.1158/1940-6207.capr-17-0076
  • Gunn, C., Bokhour, B., Parker, V. A., Blakeslee, S., Bandos, H., & Holmberg, C. (2017). Exploring Explanatory Models of Risk in Breast Cancer Risk Counseling Discussions: NSABP DMP-1. Cancer Nursing (Epub ahead of print). doi:10.1097/NCC.0000000000000517
  • Giesler, J. M., Keller, B., Repke, T., Leonhart, R., Weis, J., Rieckmann, N., Muckelbauer, R., Müller-Nordhorn, J., Lucius-Hoene, G., & Holmberg, C. (2017). Effect of a Website that Presents Patients’ Experiences on Self-Efficacy and Patient Competence of Colorectal Cancer Patients - Results of a web-based randomized-controlled trial (DIPExRCT). Journal for Medical Internet Research, 19(10), e334. doi:10.2196/jmir.7639
  • Engler, J., Guthlin, C., Dahlhaus, A., Kojima, E., Muller-Nordhorn, J., Weissbach, L., & Holmberg, C. (2017). Physician cooperation in outpatient cancer care. An amplified secondary analysis of qualitative interview data. European Journal of Cancer Care, 26(6), e12675. doi:10.1111/ecc.12675
  • Brandner, S., Stritter, W., Müller-Nordhorn, J., Fotopoulou, C., Sehouli, J., & Holmberg, C. (2017). Taking Responsibility: Ovarian Cancer Patients’ Perspectives on Delayed Healthcare Seeking. Anthropology in Action, 24(3), 41-48. doi:10.3167/aia.2017.240107
  • Blakeslee, S. B., McCaskill-Stevens, W., Parker, P. A., Gunn, C. M., Bandos, H., Bevers, T. B., Battaglia, T. A., Fagerlin, A., Müller-Nordhorn, J., & Holmberg, C. (2017). Deciding on breast cancer risk reduction: The role of counseling in individual decision-making – A qualitative study. Patient Education and Counseling, 100(11), 2346-2354. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2017.06.033
  • Holmberg, C., Muckelbauer, R., Sarganas, G., Braun, V., Heintze, C., Dini, L., & Muller-Nordhorn, J. (2016). [Primärprävention in der Allgemeinarztpraxis: Eine Befragung. Gesundheitswesen. doi:10.1055/s-0042-113601
  • Holmberg, C., Farahani, Z., & Witt, C. M. (2016). How Do Patients with Chronic Neck Pain Experience the Effects of Qigong and Exercise Therapy? A Qualitative Interview Study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2016, 8010891. doi:10.1155/2016/8010891
  • Engler, J., Adami, S., Adam, Y., Keller, B., Repke, T., Fugemann, H., Lucius-Hoene, G., Müller-Nordhorn, J., & Holmberg, C. (2016). Using others' experiences. Cancer patients' expectations and navigation of a website providing narratives on prostate, breast and colorectal cancer. Patient Education and Counseling, 99(8), 1325-1332. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2016.03.015
  • Blödt, S., Witt, C. M., & Holmberg, C. (2016). Women's reasons for participation in a clinical trial for menstrual pain: a qualitative study. BMJ Open, 6(12), e012592. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012592
  • Holmberg, C., Whitehouse, K., Daly, M., & McCaskill-Stevens, W. (2015). Gaining control over breast cancer risk: Transforming vulnerability, uncertainty, and the future through clinical trial participation - a qualitative study. Sociology of Health and Illness, 37(8), 1373-1387. doi:10.1111/1467-9566.12307
  • Holmberg, C. (2015). Decision making in the context of breast cancer chemoprevention: patient perceptions and the meaning of risk. ASCO Educ Book, e59-64. doi:10.14694/EdBook_AM.2015.35.e59
  • Holmberg, C., Waters, E. A., Whitehouse, K., Daly, M., & McCaskill-Stevens, W. (2015). My Lived Experiences Are More Important Than Your Probabilities: The Role of Individualized Risk Estimates for Decision Making about Participation in the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR). Medical Decision Making, 35(8), 1010-1022. doi:10.1177/0272989X15594382
  • Holmberg, C., Sarganas, G., Mittring, N., Braun, V., Dini, L., Heintze, C., Rieckmann, N., Muckelbauer, R., & Müller-Nordhorn, J. (2014). Primary prevention in general practice - views of German general practitioners: a mixed-methods study. BMC Family Practice, 15, 103. doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-103
  • Holmberg, C., Rappenecker, J., Karner, J. J., & Witt, C. M. (2014). The perspectives of older women with chronic neck pain on perceived effects of qigong and exercise therapy on aging: a qualitative interview study. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 9, 403-410. doi:10.2147/CIA.S54249
  • Holmberg, C., Karner, J. J., Rappenecker, J., & Witt, C. M. (2014). Clinical trial participants' experiences of completing questionnaires: a qualitative study. BMJ Open, 4(3), e004363. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004363
  • Holmberg, C. (2014). No one sees the fear: becoming diseased before becoming ill--being diagnosed with breast cancer. Cancer Nursing, 37(3), 175-183. doi:10.1097/NCC.0b013e318281395e
  • Brandner, S., Müller-Nordhorn, J., Stritter, W., Fotopoulou, C., Sehouli, J., & Holmberg, C. (2014). Symptomization and triggering processes: ovarian cancer patients' narratives on pre-diagnostic sensation experiences and the initiation of healthcare seeking. Social Science and Medicine, 119, 123-130. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.08.022
  • Beermann, S., Chakkalakal, D., Muckelbauer, R., Weissbach, L., & Holmberg, C. (2014). "We talk it over"--mixed-method study of interdisciplinary collaborations in private practice among urologists and oncologists in Germany. BMC Cancer, 14, 746. doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-746
  • Holmberg, C., Bischof, C., & Bauer, S. (2013). Making Predictions: Computing Populations. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 38(3), 398-420. doi:10.1177/0162243912439610
  • Witt, C. M., & Holmberg, C. (2012). Changing academic medicine: strategies used by academic leaders of integrative medicine-a qualitative study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012, 652546. doi:10.1155/2012/652546
  • Holmberg, C., Brinkhaus, B., & Witt, C. (2012). Experts' opinions on terminology for complementary and integrative medicine - a qualitative study with leading experts. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 12, 218. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-218
  • Holmberg, C., Harttig, U., Schulze, M. B., & Boeing, H. (2011). The potential of the Internet for health communication: the use of an interactive on-line tool for diabetes risk prediction. Patient Education and Counseling, 83(1), 106-112. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2010.04.021
  • Holmberg, C., & Parascandola, M. (2010). Individualised risk estimation and the nature of prevention. Health, Risk & Society, 12(5), 441-452. doi:10.1080/13698575.2010.508835
  • Holmberg, C., Daly, M., & McCaskill-Stevens, W. (2010). Risk Scores and Decision Making: The Anatomy of a Decision to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk. Journal of Nursing and Healthcare of Chronic Illness, 2(4), 271-280. doi:10.1111/j.1752-9824.2010.01068.x
  • Holmberg, C. (2008). Vom Krank Sein zum Krank Fühlen – Krankheitserleben von Frauen mit Brustkrebs im Zeitalter der Früherkennung. Bricolage. Innsbrucker Zeitschrift für Europäische Ethnologie, 5.
  • Holmberg, C. (2003). Geschichte einer Krebserkrankung. Einblicke in die interpretative Medizinanthropologie. Berliner Blätter. Sonderband: Körperpolitik - Biopolitik.
  • Holmberg, C. (2001). Anders hätte ich das gar nicht überlebt. „Magische“ Objekte als Hilfen im Heilungsprozess. Zeitschrift für Volkskunde in Sachsen, 10(11).


  • Seanehia, J., Treibich, C., Holmberg, C., Muller-Nordhorn, J., Casin, V., Raude, J., & Mueller, J. E. (2017). Quantifying population preferences around vaccination against severe but rare diseases: A conjoint analysis among French university students, 2016. Vaccine, 35(20), 2676-2684. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.03.086
  • Engler, J., Kone, I., Holmberg, C., Baumann, W., Siebenhofer, A., & Guthlin, C. (2017). Oncologists' views on the importance of general practitioners for cancer patients: a qualitative interview study from Germany. Family Practice. doi:10.1093/fampra/cmx044
  • Martinez, K. A., Fagerlin, A., Witteman, H. O., Holmberg, C., & Hawley, S. T. (2016). What Matters to Women When Making Decisions About Breast Cancer Chemoprevention? Patient, 9(2), 149-159. doi:10.1007/s40271-015-0134-z
  • Gschwendter, K., Holmberg, C., Weis, J. (2016). Beweggründe von Krebspatienten für und gegen die Inanspruchnahme der Misteltherapie. Forsch Komplementmed, 23(4), 215-222. doi: 10.1159/000448745
  • Guethlin, C., Holmberg, C.., & Klein, G. (2016). Oncologists' experiences of discussing complementary and alternative treatment options with their cancer patients. A qualitative analysis. Supportive Care in Cancer, 24(9), 3857-3862. doi:10.1007/s00520-016-3205-3
  • Blodt, S., Mittring, N., Schutzler, L., Fischer, F., Holmberg, C., Horneber, M., Stapf, A., Witt, C. M. (2016). A consultation training program for physicians for communication about complementary medicine with breast cancer patients: a prospective, multi-center, cluster-randomized, mixed-method pilot study. BMC Cancer, 16(1), 843. doi:10.1186/s12885-016-2884-y
  • Witt, C. M., Perard, M., Berman, B., Berman, S., Birdsall, T. C., Defren, H., Kummel, S., Deng, G., Dobos, G., Drexler, A., Holmberg, C., Horneber, M., Jutte, R., Knutson, L., Kummer, C., Volpers, S., Schweiger, D. (2015). Using the framework of corporate culture in "mergers" to support the development of a cultural basis for integrative medicine - guidance for building an integrative medicine department or service. Patient Prefer Adherence, 9, 113-120. doi:10.2147/PPA.S66778
  • Stockigt, B. M., Besch, F., Jeserich, F., Holmberg, C., Witt, C. M., & Teut, M. (2015). Healing Relationships: A Qualitative Study of Healers and Their Clients in Germany. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015, 145154. doi:10.1155/2015/145154
  • Stockigt, B. M., Besch, F., Jeserich, F., Holmberg, C., Witt, C. M., & Teut, M. (2015). Biographical similarities between spiritual healers and their clients in Germany - a qualitative study. Anthropology & Medicine, 22(2), 177-190. doi:10.1080/13648470.2015.1050578
  • Stamer, M., Guthlin, C., Holmberg, C., Karbach, U., Patzelt, C., Meyer, T., & für die Arbeitsgruppe Qualitative Methoden des Deutschen Netzwerks Versorgungsforschung e, V. (2015). Qualitative Studien in der Versorgungsforschung – Diskussionspapier, Teil 3: Qualität qualitativer Studien. Gesundheitswesen, 77(12), 966-975. doi:10.1055/s-0035-1565235
  • Kamal, S., Holmberg, C., Russell, J., Bochenek, T., Tobiasz-Adamczyk, B., Fischer, C., & Tinnemann, P. (2015). Perceptions and Attitudes of Egyptian Health Professionals and Policy-Makers towards Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives and Other Promotional Activities. PloS One, 10(10), e0140457. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140457
  • Teut, M., Stockigt, B., Holmberg, C., Besch, F., Witt, C. M., & Jeserich, F. (2014). Perceived outcomes of spiritual healing and explanations--a qualitative study on the perspectives of German healers and their clients. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 14, 240. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-240
  • Gschwendtner, K. M., Klein, G., Güthlin, C., Holmberg, C., Horneber, M., & Weis, J. (2014). Bedeutung komplementärmedizinischer Verfahren bei Patienten mit Prostatakarzinom. Der Urologe, 53(11), 1600-1609. doi:10.1007/s00120-014-3613-2
  • Müller-Nordhorn, J., Holmberg, C., Dokova, K. G., Milevska-Kostova, N., Chicin, G., Ulrichs, T., Rechel, B., Willich S. N., Powles, J., Tinnemann, P. (2012). Perceived challenges to public health in Central and Eastern Europe: a qualitative analysis. BMC Public Health, 12, 311. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-311
  • Karbach, U., Stamer, M., Holmberg, C., Guthlin, C., Patzelt, C., & Meyer, T. (2012). Qualitative Studien in der Versorgungsforschung – Diskussionspapier, Teil 2: Stand qualitativer Forschung in Deutschland – ein exemplarischer Überblick. Gesundheitswesen, 74(8-9), 516-525. doi:10.1055/s-0032-1323694
  • Meyer, T., Karbach, U., Holmberg, C., Guthlin, C., Patzelt, C., & Stamer, M. (2012). Qualitative Studien in der Versorgungsforschung - Diskussionspapier, Teil 1: Gegenstandsbestimmung. Gesundheitswesen, 74(8-9), 510-515. doi:10.1055/s-0032-1323693
  • Blödt, S., Holmberg, C., Muller-Nordhorn, J., & Rieckmann, N. (2012). Human Papillomavirus awareness, knowledge and vaccine acceptance: a survey among 18-25 year old male and female vocational school students in Berlin, Germany. European Journal of Public Health, 22(6), 808-813. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckr188
  • Muller-Riemenschneider, F., Holmberg, C., Rieckmann, N., Kliems, H., Rufer, V., Muller-Nordhorn, J., & Willich, S. N. (2010). Barriers to routine risk-score use for healthy primary care patients: survey and qualitative study. Archives of Internal Medicine, 170(8), 719-724. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.66
  • Schulze, M., Holmberg, C., Hoffmann, K., Boeing, H., Joost, H.-G. (2007). Entwicklung eines Kurzfragebogens zur Bestimmung des Diabetesrisikos auf Grundlage des Deutschen Diabetes-Risiko-Scores. Ernährungs-Umschau, December, 54:698-703.

Book chapters

  • Holmberg, C. (2018). What’s in a name? Anecdotes, Experience, and the Meaning of Stories. In in Lucius-Hoene, G., et al (Eds), Illness Narratives in Practice: Potentials and Challenges of Using Narratives in Health-related Contexts. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
  • Jeserich, F., Besch. F., Holmberg, C., Stöckigt, B., & Teut, M. (2015). Radikale Körper-Empathie spiritueller Heiler und somatische Gegenübertragungen im Heilritual: Ein Beispiel für das methodologische Spiel mit psychoanalytischen Konzepten in der Religionswissenschaft. In G. Klinkhammer & E. Tolksdorf (Eds.), Somatisierung des Religiösen: Empirische Studien zum rezenten religiösen Heilungs- und Therapiemarkt (pp. 339-378). Bremen: Universität Bremen. http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:gbv:46-00104231-10.
  • Mittring, N., Teut, M., Holmberg, C., & Witt, C. (2010). Konzeptuelle Unterschiede im Verständnis von Kinderkrankheiten zwischen konventionellen, homöopathischen und anthroposophischen Kinder- und Hausärzten. In H. Albrecht & M. Frühwald (Eds.), Jahrbuch 17 (pp. 125-142). Essen: KVC-Verlag.
  • Holmberg, C. (2010). Klinisches Emplotment – Erfolgreiche Arzt-Patienten-Beziehungen?!. In C. Witt (Ed.), Der gute Arzt aus interdisziplinärer Sicht. Ergebnisse eines Expertentreffens (pp. 141-157). Essen: KVC Verlag.
  • Holmberg, C. (2007). Researching Breast Cancer: Understanding Sameness and Otherness. In C. Lammer, K. Sawchuck, C. Pichler. (Eds.), Verkörperungen – Embodiment (pp. 185-199). Wien: Löcker-Verlag.
  • Holmberg, C. (2005). Die Interdependenz von Statistik und Krankheitserfahrung als Forschungsfeld der Europäischen Ethnologie. In B. Binder, S. Göttsch, W. Kaschuba, K.Vanja (Eds.), Ort. Arbeit. Körper. Ethnografie Europäischer Modernen (pp. 413-420). Münster: Waxmann-Verlag.
  • Holmberg, C. (2000). Da haben wir nur an das Nächstliegende gedacht. Metzingen in der Nachkriegszeit. In R. Bidlingmaier (Ed.), Metzingen in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus. Reutlingen: Stadt Metzingen.
  • Holmberg, C., S. Assfalg (1995). Die Schlacht von Köpenick. Zur Geschichte einer Geschichte. In L.-U.-I. f. E. Kulturwissenschaft (Ed.), Spiegelbilder. Was Ost- und Westdeutsche übereinander erzählen. Tübingen: Tübinger Vereinigung für Volkskunde e.V.

Other publications

  • Holmberg C. (2014). Zeitschriftenschau. G+G Wissenschaft, 14(2).
  • Holmberg, C. (2006, February). Review to Green, J., Thorogood, N., Qualitative Methods for Health Research, 2004. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, 7(2). Available from: http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/101/211.
  • Holmberg, C. (2005, April). Rezension zu Samerski, S., Die verrechnete Hoffnung. Von der selbstbestimmten Entscheidung durch genetische Beratung, Münster 2002. H-Soz-u-Kult, 01.04.2005. Available from: http://www.hsozkult.de/publicationreview/id/rezbuecher-4397.
  • Holmberg, C. (2004, January). Rezension zu Kalitzkus, V. Leben durch den Tod. Die zwei Seiten der Organtransplantation. Eine medizinethnologische Studie, Frankfurt am Main 2003. H-Soz-u-Kult. Available from: http://www.hsozkult.de/publicationreview/id/rezbuecher-3178.

Website development for research presentation for a general public

  • 2015: www.krankheitserfahrungen.de (wissenschaftliche Aufbereitung von Erfahrungen mit Brustkrebs, Darmkrebs, und Prostatakrebs), Kollaboration mit DIPEx Germany
  • 2005: www.understandingrisk.cancer.gov (Webseite auf dem epidemiologisches Risiko erklärt wurde und Risiko Score Rechner eingebaut waren. Webseite wurde deaktiviert), National Cancer


Direction and contact

Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane
Institute of Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Hochstrasse 15

D-14770 Brandenburg an der Havel

Email: info.sozepi@mhb-fontane.de
Phone: +49 3381 41-1280
Fax: +49 3381 41-1289

Click here to find us via Google Maps.

For more details (news, staff, research projects, publications etc.) see German website.