People with Intellectual Disabilities and Health Promotion (GESUND!)

GESUND! (= HEALTH!) was a participatory project where academic researchers were doing research together with people with intellectual disabilities. The research project focused on health education and health promotion for and with people with intellectual disabilities.

Our main questions were:

  • How can (municipal) health promotion be realized for and together with people with lintellectual disabilities?
  • How can participatory health research be realized with people with intellectual disabilities?

In order to answer these questions, we planned various studies and developed different activities during the course of the project:

1st funding period (2015-2018):

In the first funding period of GESUND! we developed and implemented a health education program and realized four inclusive research projects: two smaller projects in a workshop for adapted work (sheltered workplace), a Photovoice study in the district of Berlin-Lichtenberg (Germany), and an evaluating writing workshop.

2nd funding period (2018-2021):

In the course of the second funding period, four health education seminars were jointly developed, tested in a sheltered workshop, evaluated for their practicability and comprehensibility, and prepared for publication. The seminars deal with topics such as heart health, healthy nutrition and relaxation, and combine these topics with aspects of sustainability and environmental protection.

We have made four explanatory videos for our seminars. These videos are compiled on this page (English subtitles available).


Catholic University of Applied Sciences Berlin

  • Reinhard Burtscher, Project leader, reinhard.burtscher(at)
  • Theresa Allweiss
  • Merlin Perowanowitsch
  • Nikola Schwersensky
  • Elisabeth Rott
  • Germaine Köchling
  • Laura-Sophie Dauti

 LWB - Lichtenberger Werkstätten gemeinnützige GmbH (workshop for adapted work/ sheltered workplace)


  • Christiane
  • Frank Backhaus
  • Daniela Barleben
  • Monika Genandt
  • Nicole Maaß
  • Conny Müller
  • Jens Müller
  • Michaela Strunk
  • Symone Trepte
  • Christian Meinhard
  • Sven Frey
  • Willi Rex
  • Christian
  • Dana Jungen
  • Elham
  • Luise Pflanz

Coordination and support:

  • Florian Demke, Management
  • Ute Hannemann, Head of Social Services
  • Christophe Visscher, Education coordinator

In the first funding phase, we were accompanied by a scientific advisory board.

In the second funding phase, GESUND! worked with an advisory group consisting of representatives of the cooperation partners, other social organisations (Bundesvereinigung Lebenshilfe e.V.; RBO - Inmitten gemeinnützige GmbH; Akademie für Gesundheit, Kommunikation & Recht) and the vdek.

Projekt partners:

  • LWB – Lichtenberger Werkstätten gemeinnützige GmbH
  • Bezirksamt Lichtenberg von Berlin (Abteilung Jugend und Gesundheit, QPK - Qualitätsentwicklung, Planung und Koordination)
  • Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband Berlin e.V
  • vdek – Verband der Ersatzkassen e.V.


English publications:

  • Allweiss T, Burtscher R, Perowanowitsch M (2016) An empowerment-oriented health education programme for people with intellectual disabilities. European Journal of Public Health(Abstract Supplement 1 - 9th European Public Health Conference)26.
  • Allweiss T, Perowanowitsch M, Burtscher R, Wright MT (2018) Participatory Exploration of Factors Influencing the Health of People with Intellectual Disabilities in an Urban District. A Photovoice Study. In: Proceeding of the 3rd International Conference on Public Health. The International Institute of Knowledge Management (TIIKM), S 237–245
  • Wright MT, Burtscher R, Wihofszky P (2018) PartKommPlus: German Research Consortium for Healthy Communities—New Developments and Challenges for Participatory Health Research in Germany. In: Wright M T, Kongats K (Hrsg) Participatory Health Research. Voices from Around the World. Springer, Cham, Switzerland, S 117–126
  • Projekt GESUND! YouTube channel with various participatory videos for and with people with intellectual disabilities (English subtitles available).

For more German-speaking publications check our German projekt page.