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The Centre Virchow-Villermé for Public Health Paris-Berlin (CVV) 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 CVV is now tackling the challenges posed by current and future global and public health issues.

CVV was established on April 15th, 2013, at the initiative of the 14th French German 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 Université Paris Descartes and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin are the basis for this joint undertaking.

CVV’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 the context of ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty in January 2013.

Under the patronage of the German and the French governments, the Centre Virchow-Villermé seeks to bring about sustainable improvements in the public health sector through research, education and expertise.



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”.

For more information on Virchow and Villermé, see  our Newsletter No. 2