Karl Lauterbach is Germany’s new health minister

Karl Lauterbach, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Health Policy and Management and an alumnus of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was sworn in as Germany’s health minister on December 8, 2021. Lauterbach, MPH ’90, SM ’92, SD ’95, is a professor of health economics and clinical epidemiology at the University of Cologne and a member of the Deutscher Bundestag (the lower house of the German parliament).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lauterbach has appeared often in German media to speak about the country’s response. He starts his new role as Germany faces another surge of infections and hospitalizations, and the emergence of the Omicron variant.

After his swearing in, Lauterbach promised that his policies would be guided by science, The Washington Post reported in a December 11 article. He said, “Health policy, as I see it, can only be successful when it’s anchored in evidence-based medicine.”

During an interview last June for the School’s Voices in Leadership series, Lauterbach spoke about his career as a scientist and politician, including his experience advising the government on its initial response to the pandemic. He said that the most important lesson other countries could learn from Germany’s experience is to be transparent about what is known and unknown, and to explain why policies change as more is learned. “Don’t mess around with the public in an emergency situation,” he said.

Read the Washington Post article: Germany’s ‘Fauci,’ a Harvard-educated doctor, gets ready to tackle the pandemic

Watch the Voices in Leadership video: Karl Lauterbach