Niedersächsisches Landesgesundheitsamt (NLGA) - EPIET

acknowledged by EPIET available for next EPIET cohort
Roesebeckstrasse 4-6
DE-30449 Hannover

Available as a training site for Cohort 2018: Yes

Contact person:

Elke Mertens

Tel. +49 511 4505 303
Fax. +49 511 4505 4298


Description of the institute

Description of the institute

The Governmental Institute of Public Health of Lower Saxony (Niedersächsisches Landesgesundheitsamt, NLGA) is the main institute in the German federal state Lower Saxony for surveilling of communicable and non-communicable diseases and providing political advice to the state ministry of social affairs and health. The NLGA is responsible for prevention, detection and controlling of emerging health hazards as well as for health reporting within Lower Saxony.

The tasks and activities include:

  • Surveillance of notifiable infectious diseases, both collected through routine reporting and dedicated epidemiological surveys.
  • Analysis of these data with particular emphasis on standardised statistical cluster detection.
  • Running active and passive surveillance systems on Influenza and acute respiratory diseases, on meningitis and encephalitis and on tick born encephalitis.
  • Conducting laboratory investigations (including BSL3 facility) for surveillance, research projects and outbreak investigations. 
  • Supporting local public health authorities in outbreak investigations.
  • Conducting epidemiological studies.
  • Teaching. The NLGA offers advanced training courses on various topics to public health officers, hygiene specialists in hospitals (nurses and physicians), nursing home employees and medical students. In addition the NLGA is involved in the organisation of two yearly scientific conferences, one on public health and one on hospital and environmental hygiene.
    Particular strengths are:
  • highly motivated, multi-professional team
  • strong national and international network
  • instant access to subject experts in
    • epidemiology
    • statistics
    • microbiology (including BSL3)
    • geography
  • EPIET graduate on site
  • interface position between local and national public health actors: the fellow will be acquainted with different perspectives of the German public health system
  • central location in Germany and Europe
  • Hochdeutsch (modern standard German) is spoken throughout the whole area
    The EPIET fellow will be based in the Microbiology & Infectious Disease Unit. The institute is 10 minutes away from downtown Hannover (520 000 inhabitants), the capital of Lower Saxony (2nd largest federal state of Germany, 8 Mio inhabitants). Hannover is a green city with an excellent but budget-friendly infrastructure and a wide range of culture and leisure facilities. Thanks to the central location in Germany, the airport and the express train station, major German and European cities as well as popular destinations are within easy reach.

Training opportunities

The EPIET fellow will be involved in the routine infectious disease surveillance and encouraged to participate in specific surveillance projects as well as outbreak investigations. He/She will have the opportunity to attend practical lab-trainings in the onsite laboratories and to practice health communication and teaching.

We offer project outlines for epidemiological studies but also invite the fellow to contribute own ideas. NLGA fellows can draw on the experience of the excellent EPIET/FETP infrastructure at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Berlin, including weekly academic sessions (telephone conferencing) and quarterly meetings held at RKI.

The NLGA provides best conditions to fulfill the EPIET requirements and to acquire a sound expertise in infectious disease epidemiology. Short-term international assignments are supported. 

Like all EPIET and PAE fellows in German, the NLGA fellows has the opportunity to enroll in the Master of Science in Applied Epidemiology (MSAE) programme (120 ECTS points) which is organized by RKI and Charité University, the medical university of Berlin.

Training supervision

Primary supervision is provided by Elke Mertens and Johannes Dreesman. Elke Mertens is a German FETP fellow of cohort 15 who successfully graduated from EPIET and the MSAE programme in 2011. Johannes Dreesman is the head of the department and, besides being and expert in statistics, he draws from many years of experience in infectious disease epidemiology.

Other supervisors depend on the projects chosen. Currently there are six infectious diseases epidemiologists, four microbiologists, two statisticians and two geographers at the department, all happy to support the EPIET fellow.

Language requirements

Good English skills and working knowledge of German (and the willingness to improve) are recommended to communicate with municipal partners. Language classes can be organized easily.

Training history

Number of EPIET fellows trained at institute: Nil

Number of PAE fellow trained at institute: Three (2008, 2010, 2012)

Number of EPIET alumni working at institute: None

Number of PAE alumni working at institute: One