SSPH+/ETHZ Lecture Series "This Is Public Health"

Wednesday, 23 February - 1 June 2022, 18:15-19:15; moderated by Dr. Emily Reeves.

The lectures take place online* via zoom (the same link is used for all lectures)

Please join the zoom session to watch the lecture and ask questions during Q&A time at the end of the session. If you have questions about the lecture series, write to Dr. Emily Reeves,

Find past editions here.

See flyer here.

See all recorded lectures here.

*due to technical difficulties, the lecture series will no longer take place onsite but will take place exclusively via zoom

The "This is Public Health (TIPH)" - Europe is the ASPHER-led campaign, available to Association's members and organized in partnership between ASPHER and ASPPH. It is aimed at communicating the importance of Public Health as a field, a well-solicited career path and showing the impact possibilities concerning population health.


Date Title Lecturer
23 February 2022

A public health approach to the COVID-19 pandemic – it’s everywhere, but nobody knows what it is – you will.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world, and caused fatalities and damage on a global scale. The public health response to it has dominated the scenes. Yet, a comprehensive account of what we mean, and what we do to respond to epidemics is still missing. This lecture aims to fill this gap, illustrating key concepts and strategies of infectious disease epidemiology and policy. Because we are in this together.


Reading material: A public health approach to COVID-19, WHO managing epidemics

Lecture slides

Video recording

Emiliano Albanese
Full Professor - Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, USI
02 March 2022

Public health research on COVID-19 in Switzerland

The COVID-19 pandemic raises many questions that go far beyond infectious disease. This talk describes how the large Corona Immunitas research program brought together a very diverse consortium of public health researchers to study the spread and impact of SARS-CoV-2 in Switzerland and to inform the public and authorities in balanced way.

Download reading material: West et al protocol Corona Immunitas, Ulyte et al design Ciao Corona

Lecture slides

Video recording

Milo Puhan
Director EBPI, University of Zurich; President SSPH+
09 March 2022

Transportation noise: Health threat or just annoying?

WHO Europe has published new guidelines for transportation noise and wind turbine noise in 2018. In Switzerland, noise guidelines are currently revised by the Federal Commission for Noise Abatement. In this lecture an overview is given about health effects from transportation noise and to what extent the population is protected from current limits.

Download reading material: Transportation noise pollution and cardiovascular disease

Lecture slides

Video recording

Martin Röösli
Professor for Environmental Epidemiology, Swiss TPH
16 March 2022

Changing health behavior: From mechanisms to action

Health behavior, such as eating a balanced diet, or adhering to protective measures during a pandemic are key determinants of personal and public health. Forty percent of premature deaths have been attributed to personal decisions. But how can we promote health behavior change most effectively? I will introduce the audience to the psychological principles of behavior change as the foundation for evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention at the personal and population level. To illustrate this approach, I will present the results of a series of randomized-controlled trials targeting healthy eating, physical activity, and hand hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Download reading material

Lecture slides

Zoom recording

Jennifer Inauen
Institute of Psychology, Department of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, University of Bern
23 March 2022

Clean air in urban spaces is possible - if you want it

This lecture aims to introduce students to concepts of clean air quality and what this means for urban spaces. Notably, it addresses the importance of achieving clean air quality as well as discusses considerations for helping to achieve clean air in urban spaces. Moreover, the lecture discusses how we can achieve this goal in view of the many challenges that achieving clean air in urban spaces faces today.

Download material*:

Zoom recording

Lecture slides

*please note that there was no reading material issued in advance for this lecture the lecture was given spontaneously in the place of the planned lecture by Dr. Isabel Baumann who was not able to give the lecture due to unforseen circumstances.

Nino Künzli
Full professor, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and Director of SSPH+
30 March 2022

Job Exposure Matrix, a fascinating way to learn about occupational and environmental exposures and their health effects

The concept of Job Exposure Matrix (JEM) is not new; the development of JEMs reached its peak in 2000s. Thanks to JEMs, it was possible to identify many toxic products and classify them appropriately as carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic based on causal inference. Today, JEMs are widely used and new JEMs are developed to characterize emerging risks, such as ultrafine particles or nanomaterials. This lecture will present the concept and principles of JEM development, based on JEM examples, and discuss knowledge generated thanks to JEMs, ranging from dose-response relationship assessment for physical and chemical hazards to burden of disease estimation.

Reading material: Canu et al, 2009 Sabyne Audignon- Durand et al, 2021 Peters et al, 2016

Lecture slides

Zoom recording

Irina Guseva Canu
Head of academic sector, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Unisanté Lausanne
6 April 2022

Institutional communication during pandemic threats. Insights into WHO competency framework for infodemic management.

In April 2020 the WHO Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN) produced, through an online global consultation, a WHO framework for managing the COVID-19 infodemic. This framework included, among other priorities, the need to create a competency framework for infodemic management (IM) for health institutions. Indeed, specific knowledge and skills are needed to apply infodemic management interventions and practice to promote resilience of individuals and communities to infodemics, and to promote individuals’ self-protective health behaviors. The objective is to present WHO framework for infodemic management, by highlighting the different research steps behind.

Reading material: Research agenda for managing infodemics.pdf

WHO competency framework

Lecture slides

Zoom recording

Sara Rubinelli
Department of Health Sciences and Medicine / Professor of Health Sciences with a focus in Health Communication, University of Lucernce
13 April 2022

Monitoring SARS-CoV-2: Combining clinical and wastewater surveillance

This lecture will focus on different ways to monitor an ongoing infectious disease outbreak, and inform public health response and interventions. In particular, I will focus our team’s efforts to estimate the effective reproductive number (R) of SARS-CoV-2 in Switzerland and abroad. We used both clinical data (e.g. newly confirmed cases, hospitalizations or deaths) and wastewater measurements to estimate R, which represents a key advance in the translation of environmental data to policy-relevant indicators. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these R estimates directly informed the Swiss government and the Federal Office for Public Health.

Reading material: Modeling infectious disease dynamics in the complex landscape of global health

Zoom recording

Lecture slides

Jana Huisman
Researcher at the Department of Environmental Systems Science , ETH Zurich
27 April 2022

Patient Participation – (how) can it work?

The involvement of patients and other service users in identifying health challenges, designing solutions and interventions, and implementing and evaluating is an approach dating back to the past century. It is applied to improve patient experience, access to services and efficacy of interventions. And yet, patient participation is still far from mainstream. The lecture introduces participatory approaches in health care and promotion and then presents selected examples, critically discusses how and why participation worked (or did not) in these cases and concludes by summarizing dos and don’ts as take-aways for your own participatory project.

Reading material: Wright, 2013 What is participatory health research?

Lecture slides

Zoom recording: will follow

Heidi Kaspar
Co-lead Competence Center Participatory Healthcare, Department of Health Professions, BFH Bern
04 May 2022

You are what you eat, are you? How to interpret the evidence from nutrition epidemiology studies – PART 1

A healthy diet is the major determinant of noncommunicable diseases (NCD) worldwide. Still, most NCD prevention relies on drugs rather than on lifestyle. This lecture will present evidence that small changes in dietary habits at the population level can produce huge results in NCD incidence. The course will provide a short introduction on the effect of diet on NCD, then on the dietary recommendations to prevent them, then on some examples of successful (in)voluntary implementation of healthy dietary habits at the population level. The course will finish by providing a list of the most effective methods to change dietary habits at the population level and the hurdles to overcome to implement them.Download reading material

Pedro Marques-Vidal
Professor at the Department of Medicine, Internal Medicine, CHUV, University of Lausanne
11 May 2022

You are what you eat, are you? How to interpret the evidence from nutrition epidemiology studies – PART 2

Download reading material: Satija, 2015

Diet is an important modifiable risk factor for several chronic conditions. While there are several biomarkers for specific nutrients, measuring usual overall diet is challenging. In addition, to evaluate the role of diet on chronic conditions, we mostly rely on data
collected from large long-term observational studies. Several potential sources of bias can arise due to study design and measurement of diet, therefore, this lecture will provide the basic tools for interpretation of nutrition epidemiology data.

Patricia Chocano-Bedoya
Head of Ageing Research, Bern Institute of Family Medicine, University of Bern; Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology at the Population Health Laboratory, University of Fribourg
18 May 2022

Digital revolution and public health

For billions of people across the globe, mobile phones enable relatively cheap and effective communication, as well as access to information and vital services on health, education, society, and the economy. In this lecture, I suggest that boosting mobile-phone access and coverage and closing digital divides, particularly among women, can be powerful tools to attain empowerment-related sustainable development goals, in an ultimate effort to enhance population health and wellbeing and reduce poverty.

Valentina Rotondi
Researcher, SUPSI & University of Oxford
01 June 2022

You are what you have done throughout your life. How reliable are life course influences on healthy ageing?

The life course epidemiology is an interdisciplinary approach to health resulting from the convergence of interest in social epidemiology, natural sciences (biology, genetics) and social sciences (psychology, sociology, history). It examines the origin of chronic diseases in the past of individuals, considering the duration and timing of exposure to different risk factors, throughout the life of people, from gestation to old age. The life course epidemiology is interested the bio-psycho-social determinants as in environmental and societal influences on the trajectories of health and various diseases, either somatic or psychic.

Stephane Cullati
Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology and Public Health, Population Health Laboratory, University of Fribourg; Medical sociologist at the Division Quality of Care, Department of Readaptation and Geriatrics, University of Geneva