Urban Public Health

As the world becomes increasingly urbanised and more people live in cities and peri-urban areas, addressing health needs and health inequities in urban populations is vital. Urban Public Health is a multidisciplinary field aiming to create healthier, more sustainable, and equitable urban environments. The Urban Public Health Unit conducts inter- and transdisciplinary research to contribute directly to promoting sustainable development in urban contexts, both in Switzerland and internationally.

Solution- and impact-oriented research

The UPH Unit conducts translational research specifically focused on the health challenges and opportunities associated with urban and peri-urban environments. Current projects aim to integrate public health into urban planning, civil engineering and architectural design by, for example, using health impact assessment as a central approach. Another key interest of the unit is to investigate the health co-benefits of promoting sustainable cities and communities through mixed-methods intervention studies, big data analysis and modelling. Whenever possible and appropriate, the UPH Unit aims to promote collaboration between public health professionals, epidemiologists, urban planners, architects, engineers, policy-makers and, last but not least, community members throughout the project implementation cycle. Overall, the Urban Public Health Unit is part of the evolving discipline of Sustainability Science, which seeks to provide data and evidence-based support for projects and policies, thereby contributing to positive social change.

Mirko Winkler

Mirko Winkler

Associate Professor, PhD, DTM&H, MSc

HIA4SD Project

The development and operation of natural resource extraction projects (e.g. minerals, metals, oil and gas) affects public health, ecosystems and societies in producer regions. The HIA4SD Project intends to analyse the conditions under which impact assessments are an effective regulatory mechanism to engage natural resource extraction projects in working towards the health-related targets of the SDG 2030 Agenda. Read more


Current technologies and approaches to improve water, sanitation and hygiene are fragmented. Hands4health focuses on the development, testing, evaluation and scaling up of new water efficient hand washing technologies as well as on a holistic approach to hand hygiene, water quality and sanitation. To leave no one behind, the project works in primary health care facilities and schools not connected to a functional water supply system in in four target countries and beyond. Read more

Cambaco O et al. Applying the photovoice method with adolescents in mining areas in rural Mozambique: critical reflections and lessons learned. Glob Health Action. 2024;17:2305506. DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2024.2305506

Cambaco O et al. Adolescent health and well-being in the context of impact assessment of natural resource extraction projects: a scoping review. Environ Impact Assess Rev. 2024;105:107360. DOI: 10.1016/j.eiar.2023.107360

Galli A et al. Assessing the effectiveness of a multicomponent intervention on hand hygiene and well-being in primary health care centers and schools lacking functional water supply in protracted conflict settings: Protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial. JMIR Res Protoc. 2024;13:e52959. DOI: 10.2196/52959

Lamprecht N, Erlanger T.E, Utzinger J, Winkler M.S. Prospects and perspectives of health impact assessment: a systematic review of the peer-reviewed literature from june 2007 to january 2023. Public Health Rev. 2024;45:1606649. DOI: 10.3389/phrs.2024.1606649

Farnham A, Loss G, Lyatuu I, Cossa H, Kulinkina A.V, Winkler M.S. A roadmap for using DHIS2 data to track progress in key health indicators in the Global South: experience from sub-Saharan Africa. BMC Public Health. 2023;23:1030. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-023-15979-z