The Epidemiology Working Group focus on the implementation of population- and subgroup-related projects. The aim of these projects is research on work-related stress and its effects on health based on observational as well as cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in different companies or economic sectors and embedded in a large cohort study.
Occupational epidemiology investigates exposures to harmful substances, carcinogenic noxae as well as stresses and strains due to specific movement patterns at the workplace. This can be occupational contact with asbestos or chemical noxious substances or technical changes in the work process due to digitalisation, e.g. as a result of data glasses and exoskeletons.
Possible health effects of shift and night work and the influence of light on chronobiology are also being investigated. The association between the various exposures and the endpoint under investigation will be determined in statistical analyses that take into account the influence of, among other things, socioeconomic factors, anthropometric data, lifestyle factors, diet, pre-existing conditions, and exercise and sport.
Participation in the large, population-representative cohort study "Hamburg City Health Study (HCHS)" enables comprehensive data collection from a total of 45,000 Hamburg subjects aged 45 to <75 years who are recruited over a period of six years. The project on the reduction of occupational COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which is being conducted by the Epidemiology in cooperation with the Competence Centre for Epidemiology and Health Services Research in the Nursing Professions (CVcare, UKE), is embedded in the HCHS. The aim of this project is to derive specific and targeted prevention measures for workers who are exposed to gases, vapours, dusts and smoke at the workplace. Another project that will contribute to prevention at the workplace is the rewriting of the guideline on "Health aspects and design of night and shift work" (S2k guideline).
The extended affiliation of the ZfAM to the Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BJV) of the City of Hamburg is also reflected in cooperations, e.g. with the trade doctor and various projects on health and occupational safety of employees in the public sector, some of which are carried out jointly with the other working groups of the ZfAM. In addition, the Epidemiology Working Group advises on the development of study designs within ZfAM and supports the creation of project-specific questionnaires as well as data collection and evaluation or analysis of the results from the Institute's projects.
The methodological spectrum of the Epidemiology Unit includes systematic literature research, the development of occupational epidemiological concepts for projects and the corresponding electronically readable questionnaires and online tools for interviewing test persons. The software programmes R, SPSS and SAS are used for evaluation and statistical analysis.
Doctoral students of human medicine who are directly supervised by the Epidemiology Unit or in another unit of the ZfAM during their dissertation are advised in the application of epidemiological and statistical methods. Master's students in health sciences or public health are also supervised as part of their internships and can carry out epidemiological master's theses.