Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is attaching great importance to enhancing workplace health. Among the measures taken are projects for the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases and actions launched by the Health Network for more physical exercise and better prevention of addiction and nutrition. In the category of “Prevention at Work”, the Felix Burda Foundation has now honored the KIT Medical Services Unit for its bowel cancer prevention action for KIT employees.
In 2009, a bowel cancer prevention action was organized for the third time on today’s Campus North of Karlsruhe Institute of Tech-nology. To increase the response rate compared to the two previous years, however, the Medical Services Unit decided to address all employees over 40. In addition, the stool test gadget and all necessary information were sent personally to the employees at their workplaces via internal mail. They did not have to come to the first-aid station to collect them. This considerably reduced the inhibition threshold: The participation rate reached 52% of the 2400 employees contacted.
In addition, presentations and lectures on bowel cancer prevention and on risk factors like lacking physical exercise and wrong diet were offered. The tests were evaluated by the laboratory of the Medical Services Unit. In case of a positive finding, the KIT physi-cians were available for detailed conversation and provided addi-tional information. Most of the addressees accepted this offer. “This special, well-thought-out action organized in addition to daily routine work would not have been that successful without the active support by KIT’s Presidential Committee, in particular KIT Vice President Dr. Alexander Kurz, and the high commitment of all staff members of the Medical Services Unit,” emphasized Dr. Volker List, Head of the Medical Services Unit.
The high participation rate also convinced the 18 experts of the Felix Burda Award jury. Since 2003, the Felix Burda Foundation has been granting this award annually to the most successful and most innovative projects in the field of bowel cancer prevention. The KIT “Bowel Cancer Prevention 2009 and 2010” action was one of more than 60 applications nominated by the jury in the category of “Prevention at Work”, one of five award categories. The jury also considered the high acceptance of the talks offered by KIT’s physi-cians during the prevention action to be a brilliant idea. As a result of this support, nearly all positive findings were cleared up further by a coloscopy. Even at large enterprises with an accordingly large medical service unit, this hardly is the case.
In its category, the KIT action won over three competitors. During an awards gala presented by Barbara Schöneberger at the Adlon Kempinski Hotel, Berlin, the award was handed over to Volker List, Andrea Stahl, and KIT President Professor Eberhard Umbach on Sunday evening. The award was designed by the artist Christian Eckert in memory of his friend Felix Burda, who died from bowel cancer. This year, about 300 prominent supporters of the foundation and stars from show business, politics, industry, and science met at the luxurious hotel in Berlin to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the foundation.
KIT is systematically extending its actions relating to in-plant health management developed by the precursory institutions of Universität Karlsruhe and Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe to permanently and sustainably promote the health of its employees. The Medical Services Unit focuses on holistic health care. Cancer prevention pro-jects are being performed or planned. Offers relating to the preven-tion of cardiovascular diseases, such as stress ECGs, checks of the risk factors of blood pressure, overweight, disturbances of bone metabolism, stress management, and other psychic stress factors, are on the agenda as is the improved reintegration of employees after longer diseases. In 2010, the KIT Health Network was established. In the same year, this Network for the first time organized the Health Days under the heading of “Fit im KIT – mit Körper, Geist und Seele” (Fit at KIT – with body, spirit, and soul). “KIT employees participated in an extensive program with information stands, workshops, and physical exercises and actions concerning stress relaxation, nutrition, and safety,” explained Dr. Andrea Stahl, one of two Heads of the Network. When organizing these measures, KIT also provides scientific input. The Institute for Sports and Sports Science, the House of Competence, and the Medical Services Unit jointly execute the “Fit for Life” study that focuses on the impact of endurance training on the physical, psychic, and mental health of KIT trainees.
Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,600 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 23,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.