DZD Researcher Andreas Fritsche Named New DDG President

Professor Dr. Andreas Fritsche from the DZD partner Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of Helmholtz Munich at Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen (IDM) will be president of the German Diabetes Association (DDG) for the coming two years. He will be voted into his new role today at the DDG Diabetes Congress in Berlin. The new vice president is DZD researcher Professor Dr. Julia Szendrödi.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Fritsche © Michael Haggenmüller - Photographie

Professor Fritsche is a diabetologist and deputy head of IDM, head of division “Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus”, and head of the Diabetes Ward and Diabetes Outpatient Clinic at the University of Tübingen. During his period in office, he aims to focus on the current hospital reform program and the associated challenges facing the field of diabetology. Combating public and political stigmatization of people with diabetes and identifying financial incentives for narrative-based medicine are also issues that are important to him. Professor Fritsche succeeds Professor Dr. med. Andreas Neu, who now assumes the role of past president. The general assembly elected Professor Dr. med. Julia Szendrödi, medical director of the Clinic for Endocrinology, Diabetology, Metabolic Diseases and Clinical Chemistry at Heidelberg University Hospital as the new DDG vice president.

The DDG presidency will face a highly turbulent time in health policy: “The hospital structural reform program will accompany us in the coming years and will hopefully lead to the sustainable positive changes that are desperately needed,” explains new DDG President Dr. med. Andreas Fritsche. “Since diabetes is so widespread in Germany – with around eight million people affected and the numbers continuing to rise – the political decision-making process must be well mapped out”. For this reason, qualified, certified, stage-appropriate diabetes treatment should be established for all levels of care. To achieve this, facilities should be given suitable financial incentives. These are the goals on the DDG agenda for the coming two-year period.

“We Need Investment in People and Humanity”
For Prof. Fritsche, it is also important to ensure that the costs of special care and time-consuming medical attention are covered for vulnerable groups, i.e., children and multimorbid older people with diabetes. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to dismantle prejudices about metabolic disease both in the population at large and in politics. “A stereotypical and discriminatory image of overweight and lethargic people with type 2 diabetes is not only found in the public realm.  The stereotypical, discriminatory image of people with type 2 diabetes as overweight and lazy not only prevails in the public realm; in politics, too, we see a simplification of the disease and the stereotype/cliché of “the diabetic”” laments Professor Fritsche. It can be assumed that this is also a reason for the frequently incorrect health policy decisions that ultimately impede the targeted prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Furthermore, narrative-based medicine is essential in the field of diabetology to guarantee patients a long-term and efficient course of diabetes therapy. “Intensive consultation and joint creation of therapeutic strategies tailored to their individual situation, which the patients themselves can implement, coupled with regular follow-ups, are crucial for the successful treatment of chronic patients, in particular. In our experience, the closer the relationship between physician and patient, the better the therapeutic outcome,” explains Professor Fritsche. “We must give narrative-based medicine the same respect and invest in it in the same way we do for genetic engineering, digitalization, or mRNA therapy. In doing so, we would be investing in people and humanity”. Professor Fritsche sees the hospital structure reform and the ambition to put the procedure driven DRG reimbursement system to the test as a great opportunity to improve diabetes care. He would also like to focus on this during his tenure.

Other Responsibilities

Prof. Dr. Julia Szendrödi. © DZD

At today’s DDG General Assembly, the following persons were elected to the board: Dr. med. Julia Szendrödi from Heidelberg as vice president, Professor Dr. med. Karsten Müssig from Georgsmarienhütte as president of the 2025 Autumn Conference, Professor Dr. med. Jochen Seufert from Freiburg as the new treasurer, and Professor Dr. med. Martin Heni from ULM as president of the 2025 Congress.

Professor Dr. med. Baptist Gallwitz will continue in his role as spokesperson, Dr. med. Dorothea Reichert and Dr. Tobias Wiesner remain on the board as practicioners and representatives of the BVND. The new past president is Professor Dr. med. Andreas Neu from Tübingen. This will ensure that his successful work for the DDG, particularly regarding children with diabetes, will continue.

Professor Andreas Fritsche was awarded the title of Specialist for Internal Medicine in 1998. He further specialized in the field of diabetology and obtained the additional qualification “DDG Diabetologist” in 2000. In 2006, he was appointed to a full professorship (W3) for “Nutritional Medicine and Prevention” at the University of Tübingen. Since 2011, he has been deputy head of the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of Helmholtz Munich and head of the Department of Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus. His main research topics are clinical studies focusing on diabetes therapy in the practical setting and the pathophysiology and prevention of type 2 diabetes.

Professor Fritsche has been a DDG member since 2006. Since 2008, he has sat on the DDG Pharmacotherapy Committee and, from 2019 until 2022, he was spokesperson for the DDG Commission on Epidemiology & Health Services Research. From 2009 until 2014, he was a DDG board member and spokesperson.