Research Group "Digital Global Health"

Welcome to the website of the research group "Digital Global Health"

Global Health Wahlfachtrack

Im Zentrum des Wahlfachtracks Global Health stehen das Verständnis für die globale Dimension von Gesundheitsproblemen und deren Ursachen, sowie das Erlernen relevanter Forschungsmethoden.


COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy

Following a large digital cohort, we evaluate in an online randomized controlled trial the effectiveness of a short animated video towards COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy

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Wearable devices for climate change and health research

To understand individual behaviours and their impact on health, we research how consumer-focused wearable devices can be used for climate change and health research in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Project: Finding ways to adapt to a heating planet

As our world inevitably heats up due to climate change, impacting people's health, it is crucial that we act to reduce global emissions and explore ways to protect vulnerable communities from the escalating health effects of heat through adaptive measures and focused research.


Project: Healthy Routing App

Read more about the "healthy routing" app, designed to suggest less heat-stressed routes for enhancing user health and wellbeing

READ GEHIPED Project Blog Post
Kliniken &… Institute Heidelberger Institut… Groups & Projects Working Groups

Carl Zeiss Stiftung NEXUS Research Group "PULSE-AI" - Digital Global Health

Global health is increasingly challenged by climate change, with countries in the Global South being particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of extreme heat. Such impacts can compromise health, cognitive performance, and work productivity, leading to heightened mortality rates in these populations.

The Carl Zeiss Stiftung NEXUS research group (PULSE-AI) is a cutting-edge research initiative focusing on the integration of artificial intelligence and graph databases in global health research. Its primary objective is to deepen our understanding of climate change's health implications on at-risk communities and devise strategies to address them.

Within the project, sensor-driven studies are established in existing health and demographic surveillance sites across Africa and Asia. This approach provides a granular view of individual heat exposure. The collected data is organized using graph databases and analyzed using AI techniques to pinpoint risk patterns and formulate targeted interventions.

Dr. Sandra Barteit has been awarded the Carl Zeiss Stiftung NEXUS award of 1.5 Million Euro to focus her research on the application of AI and digital technologies to improve global health, especially in the context of climate change. The research group was established in October 2023 and has a projected timeline of five years.

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Focal area: Climate Change and Health

Digital health, as defined by the World Health Organization, encompasses the utilization of digital, mobile, and wireless technologies to bolster health objectives. This broad domain includes both mHealth and eHealth, and offers a comprehensive approach to leveraging information and communication technologies (ICT) for health.

Digital health not only paves the way for advancements in Global Health but also serves as a catalyst in achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Our Digital Global Health working group delves into the potential of digital technologies in fortifying medical education and health infrastructures. Our current research spotlight is on sensor-driven interventions, encompassing wearable tech, environmental sensors, and remote sensing techniques. We harness the power of Artificial Intelligence to manage the vast data generated from these sensors. A significant portion of our research is dedicated to the interplay between climate change and health, with extensive projects underway in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Malaysia, and Zambia. Additionally, we explore realms like telemedicine, blended learning, MOOCs, digital data collection methods, and virtual reality.

For a comprehensive overview of our ongoing projects, please visit the 'Projects' tab.

Transdisciplinary Higher Education for Global Wellbeing

THE-GLOW project empowers Higher Education Institutions in Thailand and Europe to cultivate transdisciplinary skills, fostering collaboration across diverse fields to address global 'wicked problems' and prepare the future workforce for innovative problem-solving.

THE-GLOW Project Website

HEAT CARES: Heat Adaptation Through Community-based Approaches and Research

Southeast Asia's annual heat-related mortality is projected to surge by 295% by 2030. To mitigate this, our research focuses on evaluating behavioral and structural interventions in Malaysia, aimed at reducing heat-related health risks among vulnerable communities. We introduce interventions to augment heat health literacy and leverage digital technologies like wearables to understand individual exposures.

Wellcome Trust Project Website

Clustering of Adolescent Risk Profiles

With machine learning algorithms, we aim to identify behavioural health risk profiles in adolescents, who make up about 24% of the total global population. Particularly in their teen ages people pick up many lifestyle risk behaviours that may lead to chronic diseases and early death.

Adolescent Risk Profiles

Innovations in e-learning

The Blended Learning in Zambia project aims to strengthen medical education at the largest medical University in Zambia with a blended learning approach and electronic learning innovations like e-logbooks and virtual reality learning.

Blended Learning in Zambia
  • Ongoing
Topic Project Name Degree sought
Impact of climate change on health of adults living with and without HIV in Siaya, Kenya DFG RU CCH Kassem, Nour Dr. med.

Evaluating the effects of heat stress on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma in a rural population in Nouna, Burkina Faso

DFG RU CCH Boutros, Perla Dr. med.
The effect of a short, animated story-based video on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy: An online randomized controlled trial Online Cohorts: Vaccine Hesitancy Beleites, Ferdinand Dr. med.
Feasibility and acceptance of measuring health data using consumer-grade wearable devices in the low-resource context of the Siaya HDSS, Kenya DFG RU CCH Koch, Mara Dr. med.
Sensor-based wearable devices for population-based climate change and health research in Burkina Faso, Africa DFG RU CCH Matzke, Ina Dr. med.
Novel direct health measurements using personal wearable devices in the low-resource context of Burkina Faso DFG RU CCH Huhn, Sophie Dr. med.
Evaluation of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on "Research methods for the study of health and climate change" DFG RU CCH Nieder, Jessica Dr. sc. hum.
  • Graduated
Topic Project Name Degree Year
Teledentistry in India (Scoping Review) MSc IH  Kannan, Abirami M.Sc. 2023
Mapping Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain within the Healthcare Sector: Scoping Review MSc IH Osman, Hassan M.Sc. 2022
Challenges and Benefits of Implementing E-Learning and Blended Learning Methods in Medical Curricula in Low- and Middle-Income Contexts MSc IH Elhassan, Lamees M.Sc. 2022
Risk profiles of school children in sub-Saharan Africa: A machine learning approach Adolescent Risk Profiles Yan, Elina M.Sc. 2022
What is the effectivness and usage of telemedicine platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic in developing countries? MSc IH Mahmoud, Kareem M.Sc. 2021
Evaluation of the feasibility of an electronic logbook in the BSc Clinical Sciences program in Zambia BLiZ Schmidt, Jelena Maike B.Sc. 2020
Effectiveness of Head-Mounted Displays for Extended Reality in Medical Education within the Global Context: A Systematic Review MSc IH Lanfermann, Lucia M.Sc. 2019
Measures used to assess the effectiveness of asynchronous e-learning in medical education in Sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review MSc IH Guzek, Dorota M.Sc. 2017
  • MSc IH = Master of Science in International Health (see HERE for more information)
  • DFG RU CCH = DFG-funded Research Unit "Climate Change and Health in sub-Saharan Africa" (see HERE for more information)

Publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals and book chapters: 

see on PubMed 

(last updated on 17th January, 2024)

40. Bunker A, Compoaré G, Sewe MO, Laurent JGC, Zabré P, Boudo V, Ouédraogo WA, Ouermi L, Jackson ST, Arisco N, Vijayakumar G, Yildirim FB, Barteit S, Maggioni MA, Woodward A, Buonocore JJ, Regassa MD, Brück T, Sié A, Bärnighausen T (2024). The effects of cool roofs on health, environmental, and economic outcomes in rural Africa: study protocol for a community-based cluster randomized controlled trial. Trials, Volume 25, Issue 29. DOI: 

39. Beleites F, Adam M, Favaretti C, Hachaturyan V, Kühn T, Bärnighausen T, Barteit S (2023). Evaluating the impact of short animated videos on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy: An online randomized controlled trial. Internet Interventions, 100694. DOI: 

38. Mensah GA, Fuster V, …  Barteit S …  Murray CJ.L.,  Roth GA (2023). Global Burden of Cardiovascular Diseases and Risks, 1990-2022. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Volume 82, Issue 25. DOI: 

37. Barteit S, Colmar D, Nellis S, Thu M, Watterson J, Gouwanda D, Bärnighausen T, Su TT (2023). Developing Climate Change and Health Impact Monitoring through eHealth at the South East Asia Community Observatory and Health and Demographic Surveillance Site, Malaysia (CHIMES). Front Public Health 2023; 11. DOI:

36. Matzke I, Huhn S, Koch M, Maggioni M, Munga S, Muma J, Odhiambo CO, Kwaro D, Obor D, Bärnighausen T, Dambach P, Barteit S (2023). Heat Exposure and Health Outcomes: An Observational Study using Wearable Devices in Rural Populations in Western Kenya. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. DOI: 

35. Koch M, Matzke I, Huhn S, Sié A, Boudo V, Compaoré G, Maggioni M, Bunker A, Bärnighausen T, Dambach P, Barteit S (2023). Assessing the Effect of Extreme Weather on Population Health Using Consumer-Grade Wearables in Rural Burkina Faso: Observational Panel Study. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2023;11:e46980. DOI: 

34. Boutros P, Kassem N, Nieder J, Jaramillo C, von Petersdorff J, Walsh FJ, Bärnighausen T, Barteit S (2023). Education and Training Adaptations for Health Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Scoping Review of Lessons Learned and Innovations. Healthcare. 2023; 11(21):2902. DOI: 

33. Golec M, Kamdar M, Barteit S (2023). Comprehensive Ontology of Fibroproliferative Diseases: Protocol for a Semantic Technology Study. JMIR Res Protoc 2023;12:e48645. DOI: 

32. Müller C, Ouedraogo WA, Schwarz M, Barteit S, Sauerborn R (2023). The effects of climate change-induced flooding on harvest failure in Burkina Faso: Case study. Front Public Health. DOI:

31. GBD 2019 Adolescent Communicable Disease Collaborators (co-author) (2023). The unfinished agenda of communicable diseases among children and adolescents before the COVID-19 pandemic, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet. DOI: 

30. Horst R, Witsch LM, Hazunga R, Namuziya N, Syakantu G, Ahmed Y, Cherkaoui O, Andreadis P, Neuhann F, Barteit S (2023). Evaluating the Effectiveness of Interactive Virtual Patients for Medical Education in Zambia: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Med Educ. 2023 Apr 20. DOI: 

29. Barteit S, Sié A, Zabré P, Traoré I, Ouédraogo WA, Boudo V, Munga S, Khagayi S, Obor D, Muok E, Franke J, Schwarz M, Blass K, Su TT, Bärnighausen T, Sankoh O, Sauerborn R (2023). Widening the lens of population-based health research to climate change impacts and adaptation: the climate change and health evaluation and response system (CHEERS). Front Public Health. 2023 May 25;11:1153559. DOI: PMID: 37304117; PMCID: PMC10248881

28. Schwarz M, Ouédraogo WA, Traoré I, Müller C, Sié A, Barteit S, Mank I, Siegert F, Sauerborn R, Franke J (2023). Satellite-based multi-annual yield models for major food crops at the household field level for nutrition and health research: A case study from the Nouna HDSS, Burkina Faso. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. DOI: 

27. Barteit S, Schmidt J, Kakusa M, Syakantu G, Shanzi A, Ahmed Y, Malunga G, Blass K, Nieder J, Andreadis P, Neuhann F (2022). Electronic logbooks (e-logbooks) for the continuous assessmet of medical licentiates and their medical skill development in the low-resource context of Zambia: A mixed-methods study. Frontiers in Medicine (Sec. Healthcare Professions Education). DOI: 

26. Ciecierski-Holmes T, Singh R, Axt M, Brenner S, Barteit S (2022). Artificial intelligence for strengthening healthcare systems in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic scoping review. npj Digital Medicine. 5, 162. DOI: 

25. Bischops A, Radev S, Köthe U, Chen S, Geldsetzer P, Sarker M, Su T, Fawzia AM, Noorali D, Noor AA, Sidi AOB, Bärnighausen T, Barteit S (2022). Data Resource Profile: The Global School-Based Student Health Survey - behavioural risk and protective factors among adolescents. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2022. DOI:

24. Huhn S, Matzke I, Koch M, Gunga HC, Maggioni MA, Sié A, Boudo V, Ouedraogo WA, Compaoré G, Bunker A, Sauerborn R, Bärnighausen T, Barteit S (2022). Using wearable devices to generate real world, individual-level data in rural, low-resource contexts in Burkina Faso, Africa. Front. Public Health. 972177. DOI: 

23. Barteit S, Hachaturyan V, Beleites F, Kühn T, Favaretti C, Adam M, Bärnighausen T (2022). The effect of a short, animated story-based video on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy: A study protocol for an online randomized controlled trial. Front. Public Health. 10:939227. DOI: 

22. Golec M, Lemieszek MK, Dutkiewicz J, Milanowski J, Barteit S (2022). A Scoping Analysis of Cathelicidin in Response to Organic Dust Exposure and Related Chronic Lung Illnesses. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23, 8847. DOI:

21. Koch M, Matzke I, Huhn S, Gunga HC, Maggioni MA, Munga S, Obor D, Sié A, Boudo V, Bunker A, Dambach P, Bärnighausen T, Barteit S (2022). Wearables for measuring health effects of climate change-induced weather extremes: A scoping review. JMIR mHealth and uHealth. Vol. 10, Issue 9, p.1. DOI:

20. Nieder J, Schwerdtle P, Sauerborn R, Barteit S (2022). Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for health worker education in low-and middle-income countries: A scoping review. Front. Public Health - Public Health Education and Promotion. DOI:

19. Mahmoud K, Jaramillo C, Barteit S (2022). Telemedicine in low- and middle-income countries during the COVID-19 pandemic: A scoping review. Front. Public Health - Digital Public Health. DOI: 

18. Armocida, B., Monasta, L., Sawyer, S., Bustreo, F., Segafredo, G., Castelpietra, G., ... Barteit S ... & Panda-Jonas, S. (2022). Burden of non-communicable diseases among adolescents aged 10–24 years in the EU, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis of the Global Burden of Diseases Study 2019. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. DOI:  

17. Schnieders E, Röhr F, Mbewe M, Shanzi A, Berner-Rodoreda A, Barteit S, Louis V, Andreadis P, Syakantu G, Neuhann F (2022). Real-life Evaluation of an Interactive Versus Noninteractive e-Learning Module on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease for Medical Licentiate Students in Zambia: Web-Based, Mixed Methods Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Med Educ 2022;8(1):e34751. DOI: 

16. Huhn S, Axt M, Gunga HC, Maggioni MA, Munga S, Obor D, Sié A, Boudo V, Bunker A, Sauerborn R, Bärnighausen T, Barteit S (2022). The Impact of Wearable Technologies in Health Research: Scoping Review. JMIR mHealth uHealth 2022;10(1):e34384. DOI: 

15. Barteit S, Boudo V, Ouedraogo A, Zabré P, Ouremi L, Sié A, Munga S, Obor D, Kwaro D, Huhn S, Bunker A, Sauerborn R, Gunga H-C, Maggioni MA, Bärnighausen T (2021). Feasibility, acceptability and validation of wearable devices for climate change and health research in the low-resource contexts of Burkina Faso and Kenya: Study protocol. PLOS ONE. 2021 Sep 30;16(9):e0257170. DOI:

14. Barteit S, Lanfermann L, Bärnighausen T, Neuhann F, Beiersmann C (2021). Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality-Based Head-Mounted Devices for Medical Education: Systematic Review. JMIR Serious Games; 2021;9(3):e29080. DOI:

13. Barteit S, Guzek D, Jahn A, Bärnighausen T, Jorge MM, Neuhann F (2020). Evaluation of e-learning for medical education in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review. Computers & Education; 145. DOI: 

12. Barteit S, Neuhann F, Bärnighausen T, Bowa A, Wolter S, Siabwanta H, Jahn A (2019). Technology Acceptance and Information System Success of a Mobile Electronic Platform for Nonphysician Clinical Students in Zambia: Prospective, Nonrandomized Intervention Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research; e14748. DOI:

11. Barteit S, Sié A, Yé M, Depoux A, Louis VR, Sauerborn R (2019). Lessons learned on teaching a global audience with massive open online courses (MOOCs) on health impacts of climate change: a commentary. BMC Globalization and Health; 15(52). DOI:

10. Barteit S, Jahn A, Banda S, Bärnighausen T, Bowa A, Chileshe G, Guzek D, Jorge MM, Lüders S, Malunga G, Neuhann F (2019). E-Learning for Medical Education in Sub-Saharan Africa and Low-Resource Settings: Viewpoint. Journal of Medical Internet Research21(1): e12449. DOI: 

9. Barteit S, Neuhann F, Bärnighausen T, Bowa A, Lüders S, Malunga G, Chileshe G, Marimo C, Jahn A (2019). Perspectives of Nonphysician Clinical Students and Medical Lecturers on Tablet-Based Health Care Practice Support for Medical Education in Zambia, Africa: Qualitative Study. JMIR mHealth and uHealth7(4): e13431. DOI: 

8. Barteit S, Bowa A, Jahn A, Lüders S, Malunga G, Marimo C, Wolter S, Neuhann F (2018). How Self-Directed e-Learning Contributes to Training for Medical Licentiate Practitioners in Zambia: Evaluation of the Pilot Phase of a Mixed-Methods Study. JMIR Medical Education; 4(2):e10222. DOI: 

7. Barteit S, Sié A, Yé M, Depoux A, Sauerborn R (2018). Climate Change and Health as Massive Open Online Courses. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. 2018;247:416-20. Epub 2018/04/22. PubMed PMID: 29677994.

6. Barteit S, Depoux A, Sié A, Yé M, Sauerborn R. (2018). Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on Climate Change and Health: Teaching a Global Audience. In: Azeitero UM, Leal Filho W, Aires L, eds. Distance Learning, Climate Literacy and Innovations in Climate Change Education. New York and Heidelberg: Springer. DOI: 

5. Sorgho R, Jonas F, Simboro S, Barteit S, Sauerborn R (2018). Utilizing Remote Sensing at a Subsistence Farming Level to Explore Child Undernutrition in the Context of Climate Change. In: Kallel A, Ksibi M, Ben Dhia H, Khélifi N, eds. Recent Advances in Environmental Science from the Euro-Mediterranean and Surrounding Regions: Proceedings of Euro-Mediterranean Conference for Environmental Integration (EMCEI-1), Tunisia 2017. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2018: 1725-8. DOI: 

4. Barteit, S., A. Bowa, S. Lüders, C. Marimo, Y. Phiri, S. Wolter and F. Neuhann (2017). Implementation of Mobile Medical E-Learning for Higher Medical Education in Zambia – a Zambian-German-Swiss cooperation. Tropical Medicine & International Health22(S1): 115-345. DOI: 

3. Neuhann, F. and S. Barteit (2017). Lessons learnt from the MAGNET Malawian-German HospitalPartnership: the German perspective on contributions to patient care and capacity development. BMC Globalization and Health; 13(1):50. DOI: 

2. Sorgho R, Franke J, Simboro S, Barteit S, Phalkey R, Sauerborn R. (2017). Linking weather data, satellite imagery and field observations to household food production and child undernutrition: An exploratory study in Burkina Faso. Universal Journal of Public Health; 5(5):256-270. DOI: 

1. Barteit, S., P. Hoepffner, S. Huwendiek, A. Karamagi, C. Munthali, A. Theurer and F. Neuhann (2015). Self-directed e-learning at a tertiary hospital in Malawi–A qualitative Evaluation and Lessons learnt. GMS Zeitschrift für medizinische Ausbildung; 32(1):Doc7. DOI:

Global Health Wahlfachtrack

The elective track Global Health offers medical students a variety of modules that deal with important and current topics of global health. Medical students are thus given the opportunity to put together the Global Health elective from modules according to their own interests and thus set their own priorities.

The elective track Global Health offers medical students a variety of modules that deal with important and current topics of global health. Medical students are thus given the opportunity to put together the Global Health elective from modules according to their own interests and thus set their own priorities.


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Indo-German Business Talk: Digital Transformation and Healthcare

In June 2023, the Indo-German Business Talk showcased how artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technologies are reshaping healthcare in India and Germany, a transformation accelerated by the pandemic. Expert panelists discussed the optimal fusion of human expertise and AI to improve patient outcomes, and stressed the importance of education and inclusion in digital health initiatives to bridge literacy and digital divides.

Key points included the critical role of accurate data in training language models, ethical considerations in the use of digital health technologies, and addressing disparities in healthcare access and quality. Despite technological fatigue from the rapid emergence of new tools, the consensus underlined the need for appropriate application and user education to maximize the benefits of these innovations. For the full discussion, check out the YouTube stream below.

Talk on Massive Open Online Courses for Health Education in Low-Resource Contexts

Heidelberg Institute of Global Health Symposium 2022 - 25.06.

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Massive Open Online Course: Research Methods for the Study of Climate Change and Health

Check out our online courses at

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