The Hannover Sentinel Workshops

Three international workshops on sentinel research have been organized at Hannover Medical School, Germany, so far. The purpose of these meetings was to bring together scientists from European countries who apply sentinel systems in epidemiological research, to discuss methods, problems, and solutions as well as results of sentinel research, and to present the opportunity for information exchange at a personal level. More than 40 participants from Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland attended the workshops, and between 15 and 20 oral presentations on methodological issues and results were made during each 2-day meeting.

Proceedings of the 1st Hannover Sentinel Workshop, which was held in April 1992, have been published in a supplement to the journal "Das Gesundheitswesen" [1]. A compilation of articles based on presentations of the 2nd Hannover Sentinel Workshop, held from 4-5 March 1994, can be found in a supplement to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health [2]. This supplement compiles a peer-reviewed selection of all workshop contributions in a revised edition, in order to meet the requirements of scientific articles. Another supplement to that journal with papers from the 3rd Hannover Sentinel Workshop (1-2 March 1996) has also been published [3]. Publication of the latter two supplements was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, and the editors wish to express their grateful acknowledgement for the Ministry's support.

Written proceedings, however, cannot hope to convey the actual spirit of scientific and personal exchange at an international meeting. For those who were unable to attend, the references cited below not only present a good overview on the workshop presentations, but also a cross-section of concepts, activities and developments in the field of practice-based epidemiology, its opportunities and limitations.

Schlaud M, Schwartz FW. Foreword. J Epidemiol Community Health 1998; 52 (Suppl 1): 1S.