Setting New Standards for Dementia and Healthcare Research

New site speaker at DZNE Witten

Bonn/Witten, 17th January 2013. Starting in January, Professor Martina Roes will act as the new site speaker for the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Witten. Prof. Roes, who takes over from Prof. Sabine Bartholomeyczik, comments, “This new role offers me a chance to raise the profile of nursing science. The DZNE Witten is unique in healthcare research. Prof. Bartholomeyczik therefore deserves high praise.” As part of her future plans for the site, Prof. Roes aims to promote greater internationalization. She is also a firm advocate of high quality assurance in nursing and healthcare for patients with dementia. In addition, she wants to foster better interaction with policymakers.

“These main areas of focus are of central importance for nursing and healthcare research,” according to Prof. Pierluigi Nicotera, Scientific Director and Chairman of the Executive Board of the DZNE. “We are delighted with the appointment of Martina Roes who will add her research experience in health care management to the existing, high quality work on nursing science, ongoing at Witten.” Roes already has a longstanding record of promoting nursing science as an area that merits serious analysis within healthcare research. She represents nursing science on various national committees of the Deutsche Pflegerat (German Nursing Council). Prof. Roes is also a member of the Deutscher Bildungsrat (German Education Council). Since 2003, she has been Professor of Nursing Science at the University of Applied Sciences, Bremen. Her appointment marks not only her new responsibility as the site speaker for the DZNE in Witten, but also as the head of the working group processes of implementation and dissemination research. Additionally, she will take over the professorship of Nursing Science and Healthcare Research in the Nursing Sciences department of the Witten-Herdecke University.

Martina Roes’ approach to nursing and healthcare research integrates a number of different aspects. Her research focus is centered on people with dementia, but she also emphasizes the context of care provision, for example, what circumstances put dementia patients in a position to do or not to do things? What is the impact of (un-)stable social networks on care quality? And how will future healthcare models involving different care professionals and non-specialist care assistants perform – this is an increasingly important topic given the current shortfall of qualified healthcare experts. Socio-political issues also need to be taken into consideration: what effects do demographic factors such as migration or poverty have on care for patients with dementia? Can research results be used to support policy decisions, or how do policy matters influence the quality of healthcare?

These are issues which Roes would like to concentrate on. She is particularly interested in the development of healthcare quality strategies and quality indicators for patients with dementia. Providing care is often complex and many factors have to be taken into account to be able to give a reliable quality evaluation. In addition to her research expertise, Prof. Roes also has longstanding experience of managing scientific institutions. From 2004 to 2006, she was Dean of Studies in the Social Welfare faculty in Bremen (now, faculty of Social Sciences), and from 2006 to 2008 she acted as Vice Rector for Education. Since 2006, Roes has played an active role in promoting quality in teaching within the Stifterverband der deutschen Wissenschaft.

“In addition to enhancing the position of the Witten site, I am keen to support postdoctoral researchers as well as doctoral scholars and students enrolled for the new interprofessional Master’s degree programme in ‘Healthcare for Patients with Dementia’,” says Prof. Roes. In this case, her main priority is to help them qualify in this specialist field as well as in areas of methodology and healthcare policy-related issues. “In parallel, I am interested in the practical application of research results as well as highlighting research topics which arise from professional practice.”
Prof. Roes perceives knowledge transfer not only as the application of research in practice. This is because research results in the nursing and healthcare areas are sometimes implemented too quickly for policy reasons and to enforce or justify decisions. At the same time, not enough international research is conducted into how research results can be implemented in a policy-oriented manner in order to influence policy decisions, as Prof. Roes emphasizes. “I want to understand how these processes work and what mechanisms are effective here.”

Prof. Roes goes on to say, “We need a new and modified understanding of how research and policy interact. Both areas could be involved in constructive cooperation.” She recently experienced this during a one-year research sojourn in the USA. Her research visit was funded by the “Commonwealth Fund Harkness / B. Braun Foundation in Healthcare Policy and Practice”. The Commonwealth Fund is a leading American foundation which especially promotes international projects and policy-oriented healthcare research. Roes participated in round table meetings with senators and leading political organizations, representatives of healthcare institutions and insurers as well as scientists. The aim was to gain insights into the federal healthcare system. She also demonstrated through an independent project on the implementation of quality assurance indicators at the University of Pennsylvania that there was scope for improvement in quality assurance systems already in place here in Germany. “Scientific research has to be influential and to have a voice,” as Prof. Roes underlines. As the leading institution for research into neurodegenerative diseases, the DZNE is a key partner for politics. For this reason, the DZNE in Witten will contribute to the discussion on national dementia strategy.

Her transatlantic experiences not only inspired Prof. Roes to engage in the debate with policymakers. Today, nursing and healthcare research are heavily influenced by national factors. However, dementia is a global phenomenon. In this sense, Prof. Roes also has the opportunity to cooperate with experts from other countries and to work collaboratively to explore solutions. She has already established many contacts in the USA that can benefit her work at Witten alongside her existing links with colleagues in Europe.

Martina Roes (born in 1961) studied sociology, philosophy and psychology at the Free University of Berlin and earned her degree in sociology. She received her PhD at the University of Applied Sciences in Bremen on the subject of “Knowledge Transfer in Nursing Care – A New Approach to Learning in Nursing Practice”. After a brief period in Göttingen, she joined the University of Applied Sciences in Bremen in 2003.

The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) conducts research into the causes of neurodegenerative diseases and develops new therapeutic, preventive and nursing strategies. The center is an institute of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres with locations in Berlin, Bonn, Dresden, Göttingen, Magdeburg, Munich, Rostock/Greifswald, Tübingen and Witten. The DZNE closely cooperates with universities, university clinics and non-university institutions. Website:

Prof. Martina Roes
Site speaker, DZNE site Witten
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)
Postfach 6250
Stockumer Str. 12
58453 Witten
+49 (0) 2302 / 926-235

Dr. Dirk Förger
Head of Press and Public Relations
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases
0228/43302 260

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