Interdisciplinary Health Research Group

Ophørt. 31/12/2014.


A broad group of researchers from the humanities and social sciences have formed the Interdisciplinary Health Research Group (IHR) in order to promote research on social, communicative, and cultural facets of health. It is located in the department of Culture and Global Studies. IHR includes a group of affiliates representing researchers within and outside Aalborg University as well as practitioners and decision makers.


Health research is an interdisciplinary area. Insights originating in the humanities and the social sciences must supplement biomedical knowledge in order to understand the complex dynamics of individual and collective health practices and their interplay with the cultural, social, and institutional frameworks in which they are embedded. Not least the fundamental changes that the Danish healthcare system is undergoing call for in-depth investigation, theorization and problematization of these changes from a humanistic and social point of view. Among the most challenging trends in health development are the advancements of the technological and medical capacity of biomedicine coupled with the need to prioritize limited economic resources, socially disadvantaged groups’ heightened susceptibility to lifestyle diseases and global disparities in health.  Such issues call for intersectoral health initiatives and policies as well as an interdisciplinary research approach.

A wide range of health (promotion) problems pertain to the functioning of national and global healthcare systems and institutions i.e. the social, cultural and communicative processes involved in the interaction between (different groups of) professionals, politicians, patients and their relatives. The investigation and understanding of such problems calls for involvement of social scientific, cultural and communicative expertise. Furthermore, in a globalized world, health problems must be viewed as local effects of global social processes. The interrelation between the global distribution of material and immaterial wealth and inequality in health is a central concern of interdisciplinary health research.

Research and education perspectives

It is increasingly recognized that existing health education based on biomedical research and on research in nursing and care must be supplemented with a broader set of communicative, cultural and social competences. Qua its position in collaborative networks involving multiple healthcare education programs, IHR provides research-based teaching modules matching the needs of students in a broad variety of BA and MA programs (studies of medicine, health sociology etc.). IHR is involved in the education of PhD students and has the ambition to build up a supportive and challenging research environment.

Objectives of IHR

Given the research needs identified above, it is the ambition of IHR to:

-          advance the quality and social relevance of health research originating in humanistic and social science theories and methods

-          form a regional forum for multi-perspectival health research and thereby enable exchange and collaboration between health researchers of various disciplinary backgrounds.

-          increase the visibility and impact of humanistic and social scientific health research

-          promote the dissemination of social and humanistic health research in relevant health education programs

-          increase the number of inter-institutional research projects and promote research-practice collaboration

-          enhance health professionals’ access to interdisciplinary social and humanistic health research.


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