Odette Wegwarth

Senior Research Scientist Center for Adaptive Rationality


E-Mail: wegwarth@mpib-berlin.mpg.de

Short CV:

  • 2021 – Heisenberg chair for medical risk literacy & evidence-based decisions (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin)
  • 2015 – Habilitation and Venia legendi in Medical Sociology and Sciences of Rehabilitation, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • 2007 – Dissertation (Dr. rer. nat.) in Psychology, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
  • 2003 – Diploma (Dipl.-Psych.) in Psychology, University of Potsdam

Scientific Principal

  • Evaluation of an interactive information tool for vaccine-hestitant individuals using the example of COVID-19 vaccination (iWILL), Innovation Fund of the G-BA.
  • Experiencing the risk of overutilizing opioids among patients with non-tumor chronic pain in ambulant care (ERONA), German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG)
  • Female cancer prediction using cervical omics to individualise screening and prevention ( FORECEE) (WP4), European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme

Main Focus

  • Medical risk literacy in doctors and patients
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Fast-and-frugal decision support tools
  • Defensive decision making in medicine
  • Conflict of interests in medicine

Selected Literature:

(exhaustive publication list; see "Publications")

  • Wegwarth, O., Wagner, G. G., Spies, C., & Hertwig, R. (2020). Assessment of German public attitudes toward health communications with varying degrees of scientific uncertainty regarding COVID-19. JAMA Network Open, 3(12), Article e2032335.  https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.32335
  • Wegwarth, O., & Pashayan, N. (2019). When evidence says no: Gynecologists' reasons for (not) recommending ineffective ovarian cancer screening. BMJ Quality & Safety. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjqs-2019-009854
  • Wegwarth, O., & Gigerenzer, G. (2018). US gynecologists' estimates and beliefs regarding ovarian cancer screening's effectiveness 5 years after release of the PLCO evidence. Scientific Reports8, Article 17181. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-35585-z
  • Wegwarth, O., Wagner, G. G., & Gigerenzer, G. (2017). Can facts trump unconditional trust? Evidence-based information halves the influence of physicians' non-evidence-based cancer screening recommendations. PLoS ONE12(8), Article e0183024. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0183024 
  • Wegwarth, O. (2015). Cancer survival rates: The CONCORD-2 study. The Lancet386(9992), 429–429.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)61442-8  
  • Wegwarth, O., & Gigerenzer, G. (2013). Overdiagnosis and overtreatment: Evaluation of what physicians tell patients about screening harms. JAMA Internal Medicine173(22), 2086–2087. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.10363 
  • Wegwarth, O., Schwartz, L. M., Woloshin, S., Gaissmaier, W., & Gigerenzer, G. (2012). Do physicians understand cancer screening statistics? A national survey of primary care physicians in the United States. Annals of Internal Medicine156(5), 340–349. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-156-5-201203060-00005
  • Wegwarth, O., & Gigerenzer, G. (2011). "There is nothing to worry about": Gynecologists' counseling on mammography. Patient Education and Counseling84(2), 251–256. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2010.07.025 
  • Gigerenzer, G., Wegwarth, O., & Feufel, M. A. (2010). Misleading communication of risk. BMJ341(7777), Article 341:c4830, 791–792. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c4830 
  • Wegwarth, O., Gaissmaier, W., & Gigerenzer, G. (2009). Smart strategies for doctors and doctors-in-training: Heuristics in medicine. Medical Education43(8), 721–728. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2923.2009.03359.x

Honors and Awards:

  • 2022: Appointed member of the Social Science Advisory Board on Pandemic Response of the Berlin Senate for Science and Health
  • 2021: Appointed Expert at WHO Global Technical Consultation on Developing Metrics and Indicators to Quantify the Burden of Infodemic on Health and Well-being, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva (Switzerland).
  • 2020: Granted with a Heisenberg Professorship by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • 2019: Invited expert by the Nobel Foundation, the Swedish ambassador Mr. Per Thöresson, and the Leopoldina for the Nobel Prize Dialogues “Towards Health: Equality, Responsibility, and Research,” Panel: Vaccine hesitancy, Berlin.
  • 2019: Appointed Expert for the WHO European Technical Consultation on Screening, World Health Organization, UN-City Kopenhagen (DK).
  • 2017: Appointed Expert by the German Chancellery for the 3rd Forum of Germany "Global health and innovation," Berlin (Germany).
  • 2016: Dr. Lothar Beyer Prize, German Society of General and Family Medicine (DEGAM), Frankfurt/Main (Germany).
  • 2013: Early Investigator Award, Society of Behavioral Medicine, San Francisco (USA).
  • 2012: Appointed Expert at the citizen dialogue "Future technologies: High tech medicine, “German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), Berlin (Germany).
  • 2010: International Collaboration Grant, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City (USA). 
  • 2009: Visiting Fellow Grant, Clinical Epidemiology Interdisciplinary Research Group, Cardiff University (UK).
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