Clinical Occupational Medicine

In clinical occupational medicine, patients with a wide range of health disorders and hazards could be examined in terms of occupational medicine and internal medicine, including other medical disciplines where appropriate. The focus is on occupational asthma, lung diseases and special health disorders caused by occupational and environmental substances. Almost all diagnostic tests for this, e.g. differentiated cardiopulmonary tests, special allergological or toxicological examinations, the measurement of pulmonary gas exchange and exhaled nitrogen monoxide (FeNO) can be carried out on an outpatient basis. General and special occupational medical check-ups as well as travel medical consultations, e.g. for work stays abroad are part of our services. An important concern of ours is to improve prevention strategies in the world of work. Social court proceedings for the recognition of occupational diseases are a particular challenge in clinical occupational medicine. Questions on basic and comprehensive contexts are answered based on the latest scientific literature. In cooperation with the other working groups of the institute and with Hamburg-based companies, occupational medicine lectures, practice-related courses and plant visits are held for about 200 medical students each semester at the University Hospital Eppendorf. The Working group Clinical Occupational Medicine regularly organizes trainings, e.g. courses for pulmonary function tests, occupational medicine case consultations, conferences on health protection on offshore wind turbines, on current clinical and scientific issues, and on health promotion.

PD Dr. med. Alexandra Preisser Head of Working group Clinical Occupational Medicine / Outpatient clinic
Phone: +49 (0) 40 42837 - 4310 e-mail:

Toxicology and Immunology

Our laboratories´ central area of responsibility at ZfAM is the development and validation of modern human biomonitoring (HBM) methods. Today, HBM (the quantitative determination of hazardous substances and metabolites in biological specimen, e.g. blood and urine) is regarded as the gold standard to reliably assess exposures on the individual level. Occupational physicians can rely on our analytical services and expertise as an essential part of their work objectifying hazardous exposure by comparison to statistical reference values or health-based limit values.

Due to upcoming regulations and new legal issues in the fields of occupational and environmental medicine, our multidisciplinary team of chemists and technical assistants is constantly broadening the spectrum of analytical methods available. Currently, we are developing analytical methods covering areas such as metabolites of smoke components, organic solvents, inhalational anaesthetics, heavy metals, plasticizers, and insecticides.

In our laboratory GC-MS, LC-MS/MS, and ICP-MS are the most commonly used instrumental analytical techniques to meet the high demands in terms of sensitivity, specificity, precision and robustness.

In addition to internal quality assurance measures, our laboratory serves as a reference laboratory for the external quality assessment scheme (G-EQUAS) of the German Society for Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Arbeitsmedizin und Umweltmedizin e.V., DGAUM).

Apart from HBM, several ambient monitoring methods are available in our laboratories. These methods focus on the analysis of air collected from freight containers in the global transportation of goods by sea or air. Quantitative determinations of fumigants and industrial chemicals, that are either used against pests or might emit from transported goods, aim to protect employees and consumers alike.

In the field of immunology, our work focuses on investigating causes for occupational and environmental allergies with regard to respiratory diseases, such as bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis and exogenous allergic alveolitis.

In the field of occupational health care, we provide comprehensive consultancy for insurance companies, employers and occupational physicians on analytical questions. We advise on proper measurement strategies and corporately derive appropriate occupational health and safety concepts.

Click here for our spectrum of laboratory analyses.

Dr. rer. nat. Frederik Lessmann Head of Working group Toxicology and Immunology
Phone: + 49 (0) 40 42837 7542 e-mail:

Maritime Medicine

The central task of the working group is the practical research of the problems that arise in the daily life of seafarers and port workers. This includes above all the optimisation of medical equipment on ships, risk analyses and disease prevention on board and the challenges of ship hygiene. The knowledge gained from the research serves to optimise health protection and to develop the working and living conditions of seafarers and is therefore always communicated at different levels. For example, employees of the AG work in various bodies and committees, develop national regulations and standards in coordination with the state representatives of the North German Cooperation and present these results in training events and at international congresses.

Our service function includes the implementation and continuous development of medical refresher courses for ship officers, medical advice for authorities, offices and ship-equipping pharmacies as well as the review of shipbuilding plans. We also provide a voting member for the committee of the Federal Ministry of Transport on medical equipment in maritime shipping. The working group has the world's largest presence documentation for maritime medical literature (currently over 36,000 articles). Books and journal articles on topics of maritime medicine are collected and catalogued in a documentation programme. The focal points include all aspects of life and work on board - whether from a medical, ergonomic, psychological or social point of view. Questions of hygiene on board (especially the hygiene of drinking water supply) as well as rescue equipment, its development and application and increasingly tourism and cruise medicine also play an important role in the collection. New topics are constantly and flexibly taken up.

The documentation can be used by any citizen. However, it is not possible to borrow it. Before a visit, please make an appointment by using the contact information provided. .

e-healthy ship:
The main objective of the interdisciplinary ERDF project e-healthy ship is the adaptation and optimisation of health management on ships travelling without doctors on board. It serves to improve the health care of workers at sea, to further develop health promotion on board and to implement occupational health and safety regulations. Through the development and use of innovative IT technology, the networking of established maritime information systems is tested, scientifically evaluated, improved and their meaningful expansion is promoted. An IT-supported health platform to be developed in the project will be available for the nautical officers (in particular for the so-called "health officer") on a central laptop or tablet PC (e.g. on the ship's bridge) and will relieve this group of persons in their complex task. The platform will consist of various health-related applications ("modules" e.g. for emergency care, telemedicine, documentation, vaccinations, hygiene, training and nutrition). .

Internal reference Course offer: Medical Refresher Course

PD Dr med. Marcus Oldenburg Head of Working group Maritime Medicine
Phone: + 49 (0) 40 42 837 4308 e-mail:


The working group “Epidemiology” focuses on the implementation of epidemiological work-related projects. These projects include research on work-related burdens and their effects on health on the basis of cross-sectional studies in different companies and industrial sectors or embedded in a population-related cohort study.

For epidemiological research on possible associations between exposure at the workplace, e.g. exposure to asbestos, gases, smoking, chemical noxae, or on effects due to technical changes and digitalisation (e.g. smart glasses), socio-economic factors, anthropometric data, lifestyle factors, eating habits, previous illnesses and information on exercise and sport must also be included in the analyses.

The participation in the large population-representative cohort study "Hamburg City Health Study (HCHS)" enables a comprehensive data collection among a total of 45,000 participants living in Hamburg aged 45 to <75, recruited over a period of six years. The project to reduce work-related COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which is being carried out by the ZfAM working group “Epidemiology” in cooperation with the working group of Prof. A. Nienhaus (CVcare, UKE), is embedded in the HCHS. The aim of this project is to derive specific and targeted prevention measures for employees exposed to gases, vapours and fumes at the workplace. Another project that will contribute to primary prevention at workplaces is the revision of the guideline on "Health aspects and design of night and shift work" (S2k guideline).

The methodological spectrum of the working group includes systematic literature research, the development of epidemiological work-related concepts for projects and corresponding project-specific questionnaires readable electronically as well as online tools for ascertaining data of study participants. Statistical software programs such as R, SPSS and SAS are used for evaluation and analysis.

In addition, the working group Epidemiology advises within the ZfAM on the development of study designs and supports the creation of project-specific questionnaires as well as the collection and evaluation of data and the analysis of the results from projects of the institute. Due to the extended affiliation of the ZfAM to the Authority for Health and Consumer Protection (BGV) of the city of Hamburg, projects in cooperation with e.g. the state industrial physician of the city of Hamburg are also part of the repertoire.

PhD-students studying medicine who are directly supervised by a ZfAM working group during their dissertation are advised on the application of epidemiological and statistical methods. Master students in health sciences, epidemiology or public health are also supervised as part of their (compulsory) internships and can carry out epidemiological projects for master theses.

Dr. Claudia Terschüren Head of Working group Epidemiology
Phone: + 49 (0) 40 42837 4326 e-mail:

Mental Health

The subject area "mental health at the workplace" is becoming increasingly important because mental health is a central value and prerequisite for the quality of life, performance and well-being of every individual. Current developments in the world of work, which are influenced by increasing flexibility and digitalisation, lead to corresponding changes in work requirements, work organisation and work environments.

Against this backdrop, the mental health working group conducts application-oriented research and counselling in a broad range of topics.

The current research focus of the working group includes the following topics: - Psychosocial stress factors and demands in the world of work (e.g. in the context of digitalisation and flexibilisation) - evaluation of new ways of work (e.g. virtual teamwork, use of new technologies/assistance systems) - prevention and promotion of mental health at work (e.g. digital health management)

Consulting services provided by the AG relate to the following main areas: - Risk assessment of mental stress - New ways of work and workplace concepts - Healthy work design - Workplace health management

We also provide support with lectures and workshops in the following range of topics: - Mental stress at the workplace - Workplace health management - Stress Management - Healthy leadership.

In addition, we offer support for health-related projects with analysis, consultation and evaluation. A comprehensive spectrum of qualitative and quantitative methods from empirical social research is used to carry out research and consulting activities. A holistic approach consisting of analysis, intervention and evaluation is aimed at.

For further information and inquiries please contact us:

PD Dr. Dr. Stefanie Mache, Dipl.-Psych., MHA Head of working group Mental Health
Phone: +49 (0) 40 42837 - 4313 e-mail:

Public Health

The newly established working group Public Health deals with population-relevant aspects in occupational medicine and maritime medicine, be it for specific population groups or subgroups (e.g. in the world of work) or in the population as a whole (e.g. in international travel).

One focus is on international health protection at so-called points of entry, especially ports and airports. There is close cooperation with the Port and Airport Medical Service of the City of Hamburg (HPHC).

Furthermore, the investigation and development of workplace-related public health-relevant prevention strategies, such as early detection of exposure to cancerogenic agents, is an important area of work.

Further information will follow shortly. .

Dr. med. Jan Heidrich Head of Working group Public Health
Phone: +49 (0) 40 42837 - 4304 e-mail: