Witten/Herdecke University: Endowed Chair Created for Education and Training in Anthroposophical Medicine

Portrait Photo of F. Edelhäuser
Prof. Dr. Friedrich Edelhäuser, photo: UW/H

Prof. Dr. Friedrich Edelhäuser is the chairholder of the new endowed chair, established at the Witten/Herdecke University (UW/H) and at the Community Hospital in Herdecke with the support of the Software AG Foundation. The focus of the professorship is training, education, and continuing education in anthroposophical medicine - making it the only chair of its kind in Germany. The professorship will contribute to the research and teaching of anthroposophical medicine, to the further development of human medicine, and to medical education.

Its goals include evaluating training and education concepts and contrasting anthroposophical models, which aim to better understand human beings in sickness and health, with established ones. In teaching, the main goal is to continue to carry out and further develop the Integrated Curriculum for Anthroposophic Medicine (ICURAM). This supplementary qualification has existed at UW/H since 2004; about a third of medical students participate.

The most important aspects of the ICURAM program include the “observing internship,” which aims to train and improve students’ abilities to observe their patients, as well as the “Integrative Medicine Case Day.” Here, students in their clinical semester spend a day familiarizing themselves with the approaches of various medical traditions, for example homeopathy, natural medicine, and anthroposophical medicine, but also conventional medicine. In doing so, they learn the strengths, weaknesses, and potential of integrative approaches. Other core aspects are clinical block internships and the training stations in the Community Hospital in Herdecke, which were awarded a 2015 NRW teaching prize.

“The training is particularly focused on supporting a high level of independent action among students, on their personality development, and on the development of creative power and decision-making ability in medical as well as social questions,” explained Prof. Dr. Friedrich Edelhäuser. “We want to further strengthen these areas and expand our cooperation with the Integrated Curriculum for Anthroposophic Medicine, introduced in 2016. In these ways, we want to deepen the interdisciplinary cooperation between medicine and psychology.”

These goals are supported by the Software AG Foundation (SAGST) in Darmstadt. With around 1.5 billion euros in foundation assets, it ranks among the largest grantmaking foundations in Germany. SAGST is not a corporate foundation; rather, the foundation is the principal shareholder in the Software AG company. The foundation was established by founder Dr. h. c. Peter Schnell, who in 1990 transferred his shares in the IT company to the foundation. Since then, SAGST has been not only supporting initiatives in areas like Education or Children and Youth; it also actively supports projects in agriculture, natural aid, and the academization of anthroposophical medicine. In light of this, SAGST has been supporting the UW/H as a shareholder for many years and will fund the new endowed chair for a period of five years.

“We are very pleased about this additional support from the Software AG Foundation, which has for many years enabled us to carry out important projects in the areas of medical teaching and research,” said UW/H President Prof. Dr. Martin Butzlaff. “This new endowed professorship is an important contribution to the further scientific development of these research areas.”

For more information, please contact PD Dr. Friedrich Edelhäuser: +49 (0) 2330 / 62-3468, Friedrich.Edelhaeuser(at)uni-wh.de

Since its founding in 1982, the Witten/Herdecke University (UW/H) has been playing a leading role in the German education landscape. As a model university with around 2,400 students in health, business, and culture, the UW/H stands for reform of the traditional alma mater. At UW/H, knowledge transfer always takes place hand in hand with values orientation and personal development.
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