HEALTH AND MEDICINE SOCIOLOGY

Facts and Figures

  • The members of this committee are sociologists and other social scientists with a special interest in health and medicine research.
  • The committee consists of approximately 100 registered members.
  • It was founded in 1978.
  • The members of the committee’s board represent the different linguistic regions of Switzerland.

Relevance of the sociology of health and medicine

The scope of sociology of health and medicine covers a wide and diverse range of topics related to social and cultural aspects of health, illness, medicine, health care organization and policy.

In modern societies, health inequalities are persisting, chronic diseases and mental health troubles are disseminating. At the same time there is a growing importance of cultural interpretative models that define historically recent health problems as a result of individual life styles and emphasise the limits of modern medicine. While the “autonomous patient” becomes a social ideal, prevention of disease and health promotion become more and more important points of reference. Changes in the system of health professions, the emergence of new professions and inter-professional struggles accompany these developments in the context of a health care system with escalating costs and smaller incomes. This is characterised by measures of restructuring, rationalisation and of the transformation of health care institutions into enterprises.

Sociology of health and medicine is part of the field of sociology, and at the same time it is part of the interdisciplinary health sciences/public health. It plays an important role in social and preventive medicine, in research of health professions and in other fields. Studies in sociology of health and medicine are carried out by both researchers from classic universities as well as from universities of applied sciences.

The committee provides a platform for sociologists working in different fields, allowing them to exchange ideas and to be part of a professional body, whether they are active in research or in the teaching and further education of students or members of all types of health professions (medical doctors, nurses, public health experts, etc.). The committee also plays an active role in political and institutional processes by being involved in health policy formulation.

Objectives of the research comitee

  • To promote sociology of health and medicine in Switzerland, in academia and in applied domains.
  • To constitute a national professional body of sociologists in order to facilitate exchange, networking, and collaborations with other groups and associations with similar interests.
  • To collect and distribute information about local, national and international events relevant to our field, such as congresses, call for papers, job advertisements and publications.
  • To organise scientific meetings (e.g. congresses, workshops) in order to increase the dynamics in the field and facilitate networking among researchers in Switzerland.

Activities 2017 & 2018

2017

  • Preparation for the participation at the three-country congress of Germany/Austria/Switzerland of sociology of health, on 5/6 April 2018 in Graz, Austria. Topic of the congress: “Sociological Analyses of Work, Age and Health”. Planning of a contributing panel entitled “Age, Health, Self-Measuring”.
    The three-country congress is traditionally organised by the section “Sociology of Medicine and Health” of the German Sociological Association, the German Society for Medical Sociology, the section “Sociology of Health and Medicine” of the Austrian Sociological Association, and us, the research committee “Sociology of Health and Medicine” of the Swiss Sociological Association (SGS).
  • Conducting a session of the committee at the congress of the Swiss Sociological Association, 21-23 June 2017 in Zurich. Topic of the congress: “Common Good and Self-Interest”. Topic of the session: “Disease, Health, Beauty: Between Health Care and Health Market”. Head of the session: Ursula Streckeisen.

Past activities

2016

  • Co-hosting and participation at the round table (Ursula Streckeisen) at the three-country congress Germany/Austria/Switzerland of sociology of health in Nuremberg, Germany, 31 March/1 April 2016. Congress topic: “Education and Health”.
  • Organisation of a session at the conference of the European Society for Health and Medical Society, ESHMS, on 27-29 June 2016 in Geneva (Head of the congress: Claudine Burton-Jeangros). Topic of the Congress: “Healthy Lives: Technologies, Policies and Experiences”. Topic of the session: “Health Professions in Transition” (Head of the session: Julie Page).
    Former sessions were organised by Claudine Burton-Jeangros and Raphaël Hammer.

2015

  • Organisation of a workshop at the congress of the Swiss Sociological Association in Lausanne, 3–5 June 2015. Topic of the congress: “Collective Dynamics, Social (De-)Regulation and Public Spheres”. Topic of the workshop: “Regulatory Changes in the Health Field and Social Mobilization”(Head of the workshop: Andreas Bänziger).

2014

  • Co-hosting and participation at the round table (Ursula Streckeisen) at the three-country congress Germany/Austria/Switzerland of sociology of health, in Villach, Austria, 17-19 September 2014. Topic of the congress: “Health Literacy as Basic Competence in a Health Society”.

2013

  • Publishing of two congress volumes on the congress “Health Professions in Transition” on 1/2 June 2012, in Winterthur:
    • Josef Estermann, Julie Page, Ursula Streckeisen (editors) (2013). Alte und neue Gesundheitsberufe. Soziologische und gesundheitswissenschaftliche Beiträge zum Kongress „Gesundheitsberufe im Wandel“, Winterthur 2012. Zurich: LIT, Luzern: Orlux.
    • Maffi Irene, Burton-Jeangros Claudine, Hammer Raphaël (editors) (2014). Accompagner la naissance. Terrains socio-anthropologiques en Suisse romande. Lausanne, BSN Press, Collection A Contrario Campus.
  • Workshop at the congress of the Swiss Sociological Association on 27 June 2013, in Bern. Congress topic: “Inequality and Integration in Times of Crises”. Topic of the workshop: “Describing and Explaining the Social Gradient in Health”.
  • Claudine Burton-Jeangros and Julie Page were part of the preparatory group of the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (SAGW/ASSH) organising the convention “Health Research. Perspectives in Social Sciences”, on 14 June 2013, in Fribourg, Switzerland.

2012

  • Publishing the bulletin no 142 of the Swiss Sociological Association, November 2012.
    Topic of the bulletin: “Success and Setbacks in the Collaboration between Sociology and Medicine”. Editors: Claudine Burton-Jeangros & Julie Page.
  • Organisation of the three-country congress Germany/Austria/Switzerland of sociology of health, 1/2 June 2012, at the School of Health Professions, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland. Congress topic: “Health Professions in Transition”.

2010

  • Co-organisation of the congress on 29/30 October 2010, at the University of Teacher Education Thurgau, organised by the three research committees “Social Problems”, “Sociology of Health and Medicine” and “Interpretative Sociology” of the Swiss Sociological Association.
    Congress topic: “On the Relationship between Research and Practice in Social Science: Reference (Dis-)Information”.

2009

  • Participation at the joint congress of the Sociology of Health committees of the German, Austrian and Swiss Sociological Associations, on 26-28 March 2009, at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Halle, Germany. Congress topic: “In Need of Care in a Health Society”.
  • Organisation of a workshop at the congress of the Swiss Sociological Association on 7-9 September 2009, at the University of Geneva. Congress topic: “Identity and Lifestyles Transformations”. Workshop topic: “Identity and Chronic Illness”.

2008

  • Co-organisation of the joint congress of the Sociology of Health committees of the German, Austrian and Swiss Sociological Associations, on 27-29 March 2008, in Bad Gleichenberg, Austria. Congress topic: “Heading towards a Health-Centred Society?”.

Members of the Board

Andreas Bänziger – Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Zurich, PUK, Zurich (treasurer)

Maria Caiata Zufferey – University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI), Lugano

Stefano Cavalli – University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI), Lugano

Stéphane Cullati – University of Geneva and University Hospital Geneva

Jérôme Debons – Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, IUMSP, Lausanne

Josef Estermann – Orlux Social Research and Institute of Sociology, University of Zurich

Raphaël Hammer – University of Health Sciences (Haute Ecole de Santé Vaud), University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, Lausanne (co-president)

Damian Hedinger – Swiss Health Observatory Obsan, Neuchâtel (webmaster)

Ursula Meidert – Zurich University of Applied Sciences, ZHAW, Winterthur

Julie Page – Zurich University of Applied Sciences, ZHAW, Winterthur

Ursula Streckeisen – formerly University of Teacher Education (PHBern) and University of Bern (co-president)

Marilène Vuille – University Institute for History of Medicine and Public Health in Lausanne, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne

The members of the board meet once or twice a year in Bern.

Advisory Board

Thomas Abel, Prof. Dr. Dr., Institute of Social and  Preventive Medicine, Berne

Laila Burla, MA, research assistant, Swiss Health Observatory, Neuchâtel (Lic. rer. soc., Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin, Gesundheitsobservatorium, Neuenburg)

Claudine Burton-Jeangros, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Geneva

Claudia König, PhD, Associate Partner at BEG & Partners AG, Schaffhausen

Peter C. Meyer, Prof. Dr., PC.Meyer-Expertisen, Zurich, formerly Zurich University of Applied Sciences and University of Zurich

Maja Mylaeus-Renggli, MA managing director, SanaCert Suisse, Berne) (lic. phil. I Geschäftsführerin Schweizerische Stiftung für die Zertifizierung der Qualitätssicherung im Gesundheitswesen, SanaCERT Suisse, Bern)

Sophie Paroz, Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland

Annual Reports

2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010   2008

Contact

If you would like to become a member of the research committee, please contact the website of the Swiss Sociological Association:
https://www.sgs-sss.ch/en/the-association/become-a-member/

Or contact the presidents, Raphaël Hammer (raphael.hammer@hesav.ch) or Ursula Streckeisen ursula.streckeisen@phbern.ch):

Raphaël Hammer
Haute Ecole de Santé Vaud
21, avenue de Beaumont
1011 Lausanne
raphael.hammer@hesav.ch

Ursula Streckeisen
Wasserwerkgasse 33
3011 Bern
ursula.streckeisen@phbern.ch