The Centre was named after the physicians Rudolf Virchow and Louis-René Villermé, scientists who in the nineteenth century already understood the significance of public health for society as a whole. It is in this tradition that the Centre Virchow-Villermé for Public Health Paris-Berlin is now tackling the challenges posed by current and future global and public health issues.
The Centre Virchow-Villermé for Public Health Paris-Berlin was established on April 15th, 2013, at the initiative of the 14th French Council of Ministers with a view to promoting advances in the public health sector by bundling together all the required competences. Several years of close cooperation between the Faculty of Medicine of Paris Descartes University and the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin are the basis for this joint undertaking.
The Centre’s founding was first announced to the public at a joint colloquium of the French Academy of Science and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, which was held in context of ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty in January of 2013.


Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902) was a German physician and ‘father’ of modern pathology. He made significant contributions to research; his achievements include important theories on cellular pathology, discoveries in the field of leukemia and scientific research exploring mechanisms related to embolism and thrombosis. As a practical hygienist he described the factors contributing to the emergence of epidemics and he strongly encouraged the building of sewers and centralized potable water supplies in the city of Berlin. As a socially-responsible politician, Virchow fought for the introduction of basic medical care for everyone. He was responsible for the establishment of communal hospitals in Berlin.


Louis-René Villermé (1782-1863) was a French military surgeon, official epidemiologist and scientist. He was considered a trailblazer of modern occupational and public hygiene.

On the basis of statistical-based, medical-demographic studies he demonstrated the relationship between body mass on the one hand and biological and socio-economic factors on the other. The introduction of a child labor law – the first of its kind anywhere – can be traced to a report he sent to the City of Lyon in 1831. His most important publications include a “Dictionary of the Medical Sciences” and an “Essay on Partial Amputations”.