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Chair Committee

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The Chair Committee steers the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH). It discusses and votes on standards developed or updated by the Topic Expert Groups. It comprises 35 voting members. Voting members of the Chair Committee are:

In addition to the voting members, non-voting observers can participate in the Chair Committee meeting. This includes observers from the project’s Premium Industry Partners and observers from third party organisations.

Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Topic Expert Groups

Foteini Andritsou
Foteini Andritsou is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant from IBLCE (International Board of Lactation Consultants Examiners), Registered Sick Children’s Nurse (RSCN) from the Nursing and Midwifery Council and a specialised Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse from Oxford Brookes University and Oxford University NHS Hospitals with 14 years of experience in clinical neonatal and neonatal research nursing in Greece and the UK. Since September 2023 she is the Neonatal Infant Feeding Lead and Neonatal Lead Nurse in the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in the UK, providing specialist breastfeeding and infant feeding support to NICU families in line with the UNICEF BFI standards and leading the infant feeding practice across the maternity & neonatal services with a view to supporting the NICU and the Hospital in succeeding the UNICEF BFI accreditation. She is the Co-Chair for the European Standards for Care in Newborn Health for the Topic Expert Group on Care procedures and she has developed the standard on the topic of “Promotion of Breastfeeding”. Passionately she is a believer that by empowering the parents and by inspiring the healthcare professionals, the health and social care public services in breastfeeding’s promotion and support, we make the society and the world a better place for children.

Anna Axelin
Associate professor Anna Axelin from the Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku, Finland is the Principal Investigator in the research group the Connected Health –UTU research program which aims to foster the use of information technology and digital solutions to support health promotion and effective health care in the early stages of life. The concept of family-centered care is an underlying framework in all research. Prof Axelin also serves the director of the Separation and Closeness Experiences in the Neonatal Environment (SCENE) group. SCENE is a multi-disciplinary group of international professionals that aims to identify, construct, implement and evaluate best practice to support physical and emotional parent-infant closeness during neonatal care. In the Academic year 2011-2012, Prof Axelin joined the faculty of Department of Family Health Care Nursing in the University of California, San Francisco for her post-doctoral research. To gain expertise in global health, she has contributed as an associated researcher in the International Maternal and Child Health at University of Uppsala, Sweden since 2018. In addition to the academic career, Prof Axelin has ten-year working experience as a NICU nurse.

Giuseppe Buonocore
Giuseppe Buonocore, MD is professor of Paediatrics, Director of the Unit of Paediatric Neonatology and Chairman of Paediatrics and Neonatology at the School of Specialization in Paediatrics of the University of Siena. He is author of more than 200 scientific publications in international journals with IF and Co-Editor of the well known textbook “NEONATOLOGY: A Practical Approach to Neonatal Diseases”, Springer-Verlag Publisher. The focus of his research lies in the mechanisms of neonatal brain injury, the role of free radicals in neonatal diseases and in birth asphyxia. He is also interested in ethics in perinatology and in foetal and neonatal pain prevention. Besides being an active member of the EFCNI Scientific Advisory Board, he is President of the Italian Academy of Paediatrics, College of University Professors of Paediatric (IAP-COPED). He is former President of the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR), as well as of the Union of European Neonatal and Perinatal Societies (UENPS), and currently honour Member of Ibero-American Society of Neonatology (SIBEN).

Marina Cuttini
Dr Marina Cuttini is senior researcher at the Pediatric Hospital Bambino Gesù IRCCS in Rome, Italy. She is a physician with clinical experience in Neonatology, a PhD in Pediatrics and a Master of Public Health from Harvard University, USA. She is associate editor of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Her research focusses on the care of very preterm infants and their parents, in the NICU and during follow-up. Main topics have included ethical issues in neonatal and perinatal care; the relation between perinatal risk factors, healthcare and infant outcomes; family visiting policies in NICU and breastfeeding; and parental perspectives on the care provided to their children. She is currently involved in long-term follow-up studies of children born very preterm.

Willem de Boode
Willem-Pieter de Boode (Arnhem, 1966) received his doctorate degree with honours from the VU University Amsterdam. He specialised in Paediatrics (in Radboudumc and Sint Joseph Hospital, current Maxima Medical Center, in Veldhoven) and in Neonatology (Radboudumc), after which he was registered in 1999 as a Neonatologist. In 2010, he obtained his PhD at Radboud University on research into advanced techniques to investigate and monitor the blood circulation of newborns. De Boode is a paediatrician-neonatologist and staff member of the Neonatology department at the Amalia Children’s Hospital Nijmegen. He is coordinator of the Radboudumc Neonatal Hemodynamics Research and Training Center and, as a former chairman and co-founder, is closely involved in the Dutch working group Neonatal Hemodynamics. He is a board member of the Netherlands Neonatology Network (N3) and a member of the N3 Research working group. Moreover, he has been council member of the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR) and secretary of the ESPR Section “Circulation, Oxygen Transport and Haematology”. Willem is chairman of the ESPR special interest group “Neonatologist Performed Echocardiography (NPE)”, that is formulating European clinical, technical and training guidelines regarding the use of echocardiography on the NICU. He’s the project leader of the BeNeDuctus Trial, an international multi-center, randomized non-inferiority trial of early treatment versus expectative management of patent ductus arteriosus in preterm infants, that is funded by The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw). Willem-Pieter de Boode has been appointed Professor of Neonatology at Radboud University/Radboud university medical center (Radboudumc) with effect from 1 October 2019. In October 2022 he has been elected as the president (-elect) of the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR). Willem de Boode is happily married and father of 4 children. His hobbies are music, boat building and theatre.

Mary Fewtrell
Professor Mary Fewtrell is Professor of Paediatric Nutrition and Honorary Consultant Paediatrician at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London, UK, Clinical Lead for Nutrition at the UK Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health, and a member of the European Food Safety Authority Infant Nutrition working group. She was previously Chair of the ESPGHAN (European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition) Nutrition Committee. Her research interest span the main areas of paediatric nutrition including the programming of health outcomes by early nutrition and growth, primary prevention and treatment of obesity and practical aspects of infant nutrition, including breastfeeding, lactation, and complementary feeding. Mary Fewtrell is author of numerous scientific articles and a regular speaker at conferences. She is also co-editor and author of EFCNI publications on breastfeeding preterm infants.

Lena Hellström-Westas
Lena Hellström-Westas, MD, PhD, is Professor of Perinatal Medicine at Uppsala University, Sweden and Senior Consultant in Neonatology at the Department of Neonatology at the Uppsala University Hospital. She is medical Co-Director at the Karolinska NIDCAP (Newborn Individualised Developmental Care and Assesment Program) center and scientific advisor in neonatology to the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare. Her research on amplitude-integrated EEG monitoring started with a focus on early prediction of outcome in asphyxiated infants and preterm infants. Additionally, her research interests include seizure detection, sleep and pain assessments. She is also a member of the Swedish Neonatal Society and the European Society for Pediatric Research and a members of EFCNI’s Scientific Advisory Board.

Marije Hogeveen
Dr Marije Hogeveen, MD, PhD, is a consultant in Neonatology at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Radboud university medical center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Her main research focus lies on decision making and counselling in extreme premature birth and everything concerning a child with a potentially life-threatening condition. She is the co-leader of the Neonatal Simulation programme in her hospital and also the national course director of the Dutch Neonatal Advanced Life Support training. Her role as chair of the Dutch committee of NICU guidelines may be very helpful for her task as chair of the topic expert group ‘Patient safety and hygiene practice’. Recently, she has been appointed NLS Co-chair Science for the Science and Education Committee of the European Resuscitation Council. She believes in working together to achieve the best results, in consensus where evidence is lacking, and in identifying and closing the gaps in our knowledge.

Britta Hüning
Dr Britta Hüning (MD, PD) is a Consultant in Neonatology at the University Hospital Essen, Germany. She leads the Family-centered Care and Follow-up Programme and is head of Pediatric Discharge Management. Her focus is on Developmental Neurology and Social Medicine. Dr Hüning’s habilitation thesis dealt with the identification of cerebral biomarkers for the evaluation of risk and prognosis in very preterm infants. With both national and international collaborations in multi-disciplinary groups, her research focusses on imaging (MRI) and functional biomarkers (aEEG, NIRS) as well as on early and late outcome parameters e.g. General Movements Assessment and standardised assessments of (fine-) motor skills, cognition and executive functions. Dr Hüning is on the board of the Federal Association “Bunter Kreise” for socio-medical home care for families with chronically ill children. She is a member of the German Paediatric and Neonatal Society and the European Society for Paediatric Research.

Linda Johnston
Professor Linda Johnston is Dean of the Lawrence S Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto, Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong and Suzhou University, China, and Adjunct Professor Vanderbilt University, USA. Her programme of research over the last 20 years has focused primarily on the assessment, and management, of pain in babies requiring neonatal intensive care. A particular focus was, on those babies with complex surgical conditions requiring a prolonged hospitalisation and multiple procedures. More recently her work has begun to explore the longer term physical, emotional and social outcomes for surgical babies and their families who experience a neonatal intensive care stay. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the European Academy of Nursing Science. She co-convened the 8th International Neonatal Nursing Conference in Belfast, auspiced by the Council of International Neonatal Nurses. Linda Johnston also contributes her expertise to the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Berthold Koletzko
Berthold Koletzko is Professor of Paediatrics at LMU – Luwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich and Head of the Division Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine at Doctor von Hauner Children’s Hospital, LMU University of Munich, Germany. He has coordinated several international research consortia, including the EarlyNutritionProject, the Early Nutrition eAcademy South East Asia and the ESPEN Project on Disease Associated Malnutrition in Children, served as scientific advisor in the European Parliament Committee on Consumer Protection as well as in the Innovation Initiative of the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. He previously was member and rapporteur of the European Commission Scientific Committee on Food. Professor Koletzko is author of >900 scientific journal publications. He is further President of the Federation of International Societies of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition (FISPGHAN) and Managing Director of the Early Nutrition Academy. He also is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Pierre Kuhn
Pierre Kuhn, MD, PhD, is a professor of paediatrics at the University Hospital of Strasbourg, France, and was an invited researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. He works as senior neonatologist and has the position of head of the NICU at the University Hospital Strasbourg. Pr Kuhn is also a researcher in neuroscience at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. He is involved in research evaluating mainly the impact of the hospital environment on the sensory systems and the brain development of infants born very preterm, His research focuses also on the evaluation of infant and family centred developmental care strategies. Pierre Kuhn has published in national and international journals and books. He is a board member of the Société Française de Néonatologie and is coordinating the Group of Reflection and Evaluation of the Environment of Newborn infant (GREEN) in France. In addition, he is also the president of the perinatal network in the Alsace region. Pierre Kuhn is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Nicholas Lack
Dr Nicholas Lack is a retired statistical consultant, who was formerly employed as section head of statistical methods, perinatology, neonatology, gynaecology and breast cancer surgery at the Bavarian Institute for Hospital based Quality Assurance (BAQ) in Munich, Germany. He has gained over 35 years of international experience in maternal and child health in government health administration assignments in the UK and Germany. His specialty lies in benchmarking of hospitals with respect to quality of care. For over 15 years he has been involved in international collaborations such as cross-country comparisons of perinatal health (EURO-PERISTAT working group of European indicators of perinatal health) and causal analysis of rare obstetric events and their prevention (International Obstetrics Surveillance System – INOSS). Since 2014 he is a statistical consultant for the Rotarian RFPD Maternal Child Health (MCH) Project in Nigeria. Besides different lecturing jobs in the field of statistics and health education, Dr Lack has published on the topics of funnel plots for quality comparisons, the epidemiology of perinatal mortality as well as on methodological difficulties of cross-country comparisons of indicators of maternal child health care. He also is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Florian Langhammer
Dr Florian Langhammer, MD, is a senior physician at the University Children’s Hospital Regensburg (KUNO), at the Hospital St. Hedwig of the Order of St. John, Germany. He is a board-certified specialist in neonatology, paediatric intensive care and paediatric cardiology. He worked at the University Children’s hospitals in Munich and Würzburg. His clinical focus is the care of critically ill premature and newborn infants and paediatric emergencies. He is the head of the local neonatal and paediatric simulation programme and he is responsible for the neonatal resuscitation trainings held in the surrounding hospitals. He serves at the European School of Neonatology (ESN) as the coordinating medical expert.

Jos Latour
Jos M. Latour is Professor in Clinical Nursing at Plymouth University in Plymouth, UK and at Hunan Children’s Hospital, Changsha, China. His clinical post is based at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, Somerset, UK, where he is leading the Clinical School for the Somerset region. The research lines of Jos Latour are related to empowerment and involvement of parents in healthcare, end-of-life care, and paediatric sepsis. His major research programme is called the EMPATHIC study (EMpowerment of PArents in THe Intensive Care) and is currently implemented in NICUs and PICUs in many countries around the world. Jos is actively involved in the promotion of evidence-based and evidence-informed care. His vision is to narrow the gap between research, education, and clinical practice. Jos has published widely in peer-reviewed journals, books and chapters. He is associate-editor of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and editorial board member of several other international peer-reviewed journals and contributes to the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Atle Moen
Dr Atle Moen is a consultant neonatologist at Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet. He worked for more than 10 years at the Drammen Hospital, part of Vestre Viken Hospital Trust as consultant in paediatrics and neonatology, Clinical Director Neonatology and Medical Director of the Department of Paediatrics. In Drammen Hospital, he planned and implemented a new single room level II NICU in 2012. His scientific focus is neonatology, healthcare management, paediatrics, and patient safety. Atle Moen is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Monique Oude Reimer-Van Kilsdonk
Monique Oude Reimer-Van Kilsdonk is a NIDCAP trainer at the Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital, Rotterdam and Co-director of the Sophia NIDCAP Training Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Currently, she works as a Clinical development consultant at the NICU, where she supports the units in all their efforts to implement individualized care for the patients and their Family. Together with her colleague Inga Warren, Senior NIDCAP Trainer in London, UK, she developed the Family and Infant Neurodevelopment Education course (FINE). Her interests lie in nursing, nursing education and assessment, primary care and family nursing as well as clinical teaching. Monique has presented multiple lectures in English, German and Dutch at different conferences over the past few years and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Dietmar Schlembach
PD Dr Dietmar Schlembach (MD) is an expert in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Obstetrics. Since May 2014, he is Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vivantes Clinic Berlin-Neukölln, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. PD Dr Schlembach addresses the specific problems and treatment of pregnancy complications (such as hypertensive disorders and intrauterine growth restriction) as well as prenatal diagnosis and therapy. His clinical and research focus is screening, diagnosis and treatment of hypertensive disorders and intrauterine growth restriction, preterm birth and prenatal diagnosis and therapy of fetal abnormalities. He is currently board member of the German Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics and secretary of the Working Group Obstetrics and Prenatal Medicine of the German Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is also the Secretary of the German Society of Prenatal- and Obstetric Medicine. Since 2015, he has been the Chairman of the Trustee Board of EFCNI.

Eva Schwindt
DDr Eva Schwindt is consultant at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Medical University Vienna, Austria. She is a specialist in neonatal resuscitation and certified simulation trainer of Newborn Life Support trainings (European Resuscitation Council). DDr Schwindt finished a PhD in neuroscience with a focus on neonatal neurology (neurophysiological assessments of neurodevelopment in extremely preterm born infants). Her current main research focus is on neonatal intensive care medicine and healthcare safety. She analyses strategies for improvements in teamwork and system safety with certain consideration of human factors, change management, communication and clinical briefing and debriefing. DDr Schwindt is co-chair of the working group “pediatric simulation and patient safety” of the Austrian Society for Children’s and Adolescent Medicine.

Umberto Simeoni
Umberto Simeoni is Professor of Paediatrics at Faculté de Biologie et de Médecine, University of Lausanne and Director of the Division of Pediatrics and of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) Research Unit at CHUV University Hospital in Lausanne Switzerland. His research is oriented towards the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD), with a special focus on the developmental programming of the cardio-vascular system in conditions of perinatal disease, such as intrauterine growth-restriction, preterm birth or exposure to maternal overweight/obesity and gestational diabetes. He also is highly interested in perinatal bioethics. He authored and co-authored more than 200 referenced articles, several books on neonatology, and more than 300 invited lectures. Umberto Simeoni is Past-President of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine and of the Société Francophone DOHaD. He also is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Bente Silnes Tandberg
Bente Tandberg works as a clinical nurse, RN, MscN, PhD and researcher at the Neonatal intensive care unit at the Department of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Drammen Hospital, Vestre Viken Hospital Trust in Norway. She holds a PhD on Single-family room care. In addition, she has a part-time position as associated professor at a Master degree program for Advanced Clinical Neonatal Nursing at Lovisenberg Diaconal University College. She has twenty years experience of working in neonatal intensive care units both in clinical and in a research context. She is also part of the Steering group of the SCENE (Separation and Closeness Experiences in the Neonatal Environment) research network. SCENE is a multi-disciplinary group of international professionals that aim to identify, construct, implement and evaluate best practice to support physical and emotional parent-infant closeness during neonatal care. Her main research interests are Family Centered Care, Single Family Room Design and Care, Infant growth, feeding and breastfeeding.

Agnes van den Hoogen
Agnes van den Hoogen is an A Professor & researcher at Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, a senior academic lecturer in Clinical Health Science at Utrecht University (UU), The Netherlands and distinguished Professor at Hunan Childrens Hospital in Changsha, Hunan province, China as well as affiliated with the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health, University of Plymouth, UK. Moreover, she graduated in Clinical Health Science (Cardiff University, Wales, UK) and holds a PhD from the medical faculty of Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Her research line is parent and family participation in all areas of clinical care, education, and research. As member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the EFCNI (European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants), she is also involved as Vice Chair for Standards of Care for Newborn Health in Europe regarding ‘Education and Training for nurses and midwives’. Additionally, Professor van den Hoogen is member of the WHO working group for Maternal Health and Newborns and is involved in WHO development of Goal for child survival, to reduce Global Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Morbidity and Mortality. Professor van den Hoogen is chair of the section Nursing and Health care professionals of the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR), and as past president of the European Society for Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care (ESPNIC), she is still involved in many societies.

James Webbe
Dr James Webbe, PhD, is a neonatologist and Clinical Research Fellow at Imperial College London. His research has focussed on identifying the outcomes of neonatal care that matter most to former neonatal patients, parents and healthcare professionals. He led the COIN project to identify a core outcome set for neonatal research, and has contributed to national and international collaborations exploring neonatal research prioritisation and outcome reporting. His current research uses existing data to identify how clinically important neonatal outcomes can be optimised.

Dieter Wolke
Dieter Wolke PhD Dr rer nat h.c. is Professor of Developmental Psychology and Individual Differences at the Department of Psychology and Division of Health Sciences at the University of Warwick. He leads the Lifespan Health and Wellbeing Group. His research focuses on developmental pathways leading to developmental psychopathology, social and emotional development, biological at risk children (very preterm children), school and sibling bullying, infant regulatory problems (crying, feeding, sleeping) and parenting. His particular interest is of how preterm birth affects brain development and psychological development and quality of life. He is involved in a range of follow-up studies of preterm children in the UK and Germany including the EPICure Study, the Bavarian Longitudinal Study and Avon Longitudinal Study (ALSPAC) and in the Scientific lead of RECAP-preterm, a EU Horizon 2020 project with 20 partners. Professor Wolke has published widely and is on the editorial boards of a number of journals and several scientific boards, e.g. of EFCNI’s Scientific Advisory Board.

Luc Zimmermann
Luc J.I. Zimmermann is Professor of Paediatrics and Neonatology at the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences at Maastricht University since 2003. He also is a staff neonatologist and since 2005 Chief of the Division of Neonatology at the Academic Hospital Maastricht. From an early stage in his professional career he developed a distinct reserach interest on the development of the preterm lung, on which he did his PhD and continued his further research. In 2006 he became Chairman of the Department of Paediatrics and Division Leader in the Research Institute GROW (Oncology and Developmental Biology). He is past president of the European Society of Paediatric Research (ESPR). Since 2017, he is a member of the Trustee Board of EFCNI.

ESCNH Parent, Patient and Public Advisory Board (PPPAB) members

Vilni Verner Holst Bloch
Vilni Verner Holst Bloch is a parent of a preterm infant born in 2009. Mr Bloch soon engaged with national Norwegian parents organization in 2010. He quickly became the national parent contact person towards EFCNI and participated in the first Parents Advisory Board. Later he also took part in the Topic Expert Group on Data collection and documentation related to the development of European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH). He hosted the national seminar launching the ESCNH and the Call to Action in 2018, and for this the Norwegian parents organization received the EFCNI Award in 2019. In 2022, he was elected to take part in the ESCNH Parent, Patient and Public Advisory Board (PPPAB) from 2023 and onwards. He has a MSc in landscape ecology and resource geography, and works as senior advisor at statistics with geographic information systems and population registers.

Stephanie Ernst
Stephanie Ernst is the founder of TAPS Support, an organisation dedicated to improving outcomes for monochorionic twins. Her twin daughters were born at 31 weeks with twin anemia polycythemia sequence (TAPS). Her experience has fuelled her determination to raise awareness for twins and prematurity. She is a passionate writer on rare diseases, building strong online communities, cooperation between patient groups and medical professionals, and naturally, multiple births, and has been widely published. She is also involved in research with two other monochorionic twin parents. She has successfully published several research articles with them, focussing on screening and updating guidelines. She also sits on the International Council of Multiple Birth Organisations board. She works as a freelance writer and content specialist.

Paula Guerra
Paula Guerra is one of the founders of the Portuguese preemies association XXS – Associação Portuguesa de Apoio ao Bebé Prematuro, being an executive board member of XXS since the creation of the association in November 2008. She has two daughters, one born in 1993 as a term baby and a second one, an extremely preterm born girl, born in 2001 with 26 weeks of gestation and 615g of weight. Since 1993, Paula worked in IT development departments of three diferent Portuguese banks and she is since 2010 the Head Talent Management of the IT Department in one of those Portuguese banks. Paula Guerra is a member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Gigi Khonyongwa-Fernandez
Gigi Khonyongwa-Fernandez, is the mother of four angel babies and a surviving twin born at 24 weeks. She is both an International Coach Federation (ICF) accredited Professional Coach and a Trauma-Informed Certified Coach, and founder of GKF Coaching and Consulting. Her niche areas are leadership and organisational wellness, NICU leaders/community, diversity, empowerment, and wellbeing. She is passionate about imbedding joy and clarity within leaders in any sector and throughout the workplace culture. Gigi’s clients range from individuals and professional teams to medium to large-size organisations across the healthcare, education, faith-based, government, industry, and corporate sectors. She also partners with several consultancy groups to help them deliver on a range of leadership, diversity, and organisational development initiatives and is a vocal advocate for equity in the healthcare and educational realms. Gigi holds a BSc in Occupational Therapy (USA), MSc in Health, Population and Society (UK) and a Diploma in Personal Performance Coaching (UK/USA). She has almost 20 years of international clinical, strategic and project management experience within the healthcare sector both in the USA and UK health systems and holds global board appointments in the maternal-infant health sector. Gigi currently serves as the President of the Board for NICU Parent Network (NPN), a PPAB member for European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI), and a Chair Committee Member for the Global Alliance for Newborn Care (GLANCE). She is an experienced international speaker, presenter, and facilitator. A native of the USA, Gigi currently resides in London, England

Livia Nagy Bonnard
Livia Nagy Bonnard has been one of the founding members of Right(s) beside you Association-Patient organisation for preterm infants in Hungary. The Association brings together doctors, medical professionals, policy makers, NGOs, and parents of preterm children in order to improve the quality of care. She advocates for family-centred care as an EUPATI patient expert in Hungary and Europe-wide, as part of the Faculty of FINE (Family and Infant Neurodevelopmental Education) training in Hungary and as a patient researcher on several national and international research projects. Though born in Hungary, she now lives on the French-Swiss border, so she has a deep insight into the NICU and follow-up systems in Hungary, France, and Switzerland. She is a mother of 4 children, 3 girls, and a preemie boy who was born at gestational week 27 and who lives with many challenges as consequences of his early birth. Livia is a trained nurse, she worked mostly with babies and children in cardiac departments and a CICU (cardiac intensive care unit). Livia Nagy Bonnard is a member of the PPPAB of the ESCNH since 2015. PPAB member for European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) between 2015-2023, and a Chair Committee Member for the Global Alliance for Newborn Care (GLANCE).

İlknur Okay
After 22 years of professional life in major local and international companies as a mid-level manager, Ilknur dedicated her career to the good of humanity. She obtained a CTI professional coach certificate from the USA and also earned accreditation as an ACPI-certified parent and family coach. Ilknur further expanded her knowledge by obtaining an MSc degree in Psychology along with a certificate in Interpersonal Therapy. In addition, she possesses expertise as a conflict management coach. She co-authored two published books: the first one caters to families with multiples, titled “Life with Multiples: From A to Z,” while the second book is geared towards families with premature babies, titled “From Incubator to World.” Her diverse cultural background and extensive experience working with various cultures and communities have equipped her with a deep understanding of the unique needs of individuals and families, particularly those who are less privileged and facing urgent challenges. Besides being co-founder and chairwoman of the Turkish parent organisation El Bebek Gül Bebek, she is mother to former 30 weeker twin girls. Since 2008, Ilknur has been proudly advocating for babies born preterm and their parents in Turkey, actively engaging in campaigns, petitioning efforts, presentations at medical congresses, the establishment of psycho-education models, and the training of parents, among other impactful initiatives.

Emma O’Neill
Mental health, wellbeing and family support have been central themes of Emma’s career, spanning across two decades in both the statutory and voluntary sectors. Emma holds a BA Hons degree in Sociology and Social Policy from Queen’s University, later developing her professional education with an ILM Level 5 qualification in Leadership and Management. In her current role as Head of Operations for TinyLife, she leads on the delivery of services for families with premature babies. Early intervention and collaboration are pivotal to this role, owing to health inequalities associated with premature birth and the longer-term impacts. In previous roles she has advocated for and supported young carers and their families and managed the delivery of mental health programmes in post-primary education. With a passion for Diversity and Inclusion, she previously held the role of Co-Chair for Action for Children’s national Gender Equality Network. Outside of work, Emma is a proud parent to three daughters, including twins who were born eight weeks prematurely. This lived experience has helped her to identify with those impacted by premature birth, adding real value to her professional practice and leadership role in TinyLife. To unwind she spends as much time as possible wild swimming, even in the winter.

Eleni Vavouraki
Dr Eleni Vavouraki is a pulmonologist with a PhD in pulmonary rehabilitation; she is also specialised in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. After becoming an aunt of triplets that were born very prematurely (26+4), she together with the triplet’s parents co-founded the association Ilitominon, of which she is the President since 2011. For 23 years she was a faculty member of TEI-A, currently known as University of West Attica, and now she is teaching postgraduate courses in the Medical School of the University of Thessaly and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Eleni is also a member of Therapeutic Riding Association of Greece, a NGO where children with disabilities (mainly due to prematurity) are helped to cope by improving their physical and psychological condition. Dr Eleni Vavouraki is a member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI.

EFCNI Executive Board members

Silke Mader
Silke Mader is the Chairwoman of the Executive Board and co-founder of EFCNI. In 1997, her twins were born in the 25th week of pregnancy, and were not given the appropriate care. Unfortunately, one of them died a few days after birth. During her time in hospital and afterwards, Silke Mader was faced with the non-existence of support of any kind, the absence of public awareness and the lack of information and education for parents during pregnancy. Her motivation is to prevent parents from making similar experiences in such painful situations. As the conditions throughout Europe are distressingly similar and preterm children urgently need a voice within Europe and worldwide, she decided to take on the role of chair on the Executive Board of EFCNI. Silke Mader is co-editor of the EFCNI Benchmarking Report “Too little, Too Late? Why Europe Should do more for Preterm Infants”, “Caring for Tomorrow” – the EFCNI White Paper on Maternal and Newborn Health and Aftercare Services and technical editor of the “Born too Soon” Global Action Report on Preterm Birth. Besides this, Silke Mader is author and editor of many other publications on topics related to maternal and newborn health. In 2012 Silke Mader was awarded the “Prix Courage” by ZDF television programme “ML mona lisa” in cooperation with the cosmetics company Clarins. 2013 she received the Medal for Particular Services to Bavaria in a United Europe. Since 2014 she is Honorary Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 2015, Silke Mader has been awarded as social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow and in 2016 she received the Bavarian State Medal for Services concerning Health and Long-term Care.

Nicole Thiele
Nicole Thiele joined EFCNI in 2010 and holds the position of Vice Chair of the Executive Board. She is a Fellow of the European Patients’ Academy (EUPATI), has a diploma as European Secretary/ESA and holds a university degree in Economics, Management and Business Administration. Living and working abroad has provided her with extensive experience in different positions within multi-national companies. With her family experiencing the consequences of an extremely preterm birth nearly 50 years ago, she is personally committed to driving forward the prevention of preterm birth, the continuous improvement of treatment and care as well as the philosophy of family-centred developmental care and parental involvement, to give every baby the best start in life. Nicole Thiele has developed a variety of educational and information materials and is author, (co-)author and (co-)editor of several publications on the topic, e.g. of the EFCNI White Paper on Maternal and Newborn Health and Aftercare Services – “Caring for Tomorrow”.

Luc Zimmermann
Luc J.I. Zimmermann is Professor of Paediatrics and Neonatology at the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences at Maastricht University since 2003. He also is a staff neonatologist and since 2005 Chief of the Division of Neonatology at the Academic Hospital Maastricht. From an early stage in his professional career he developed a distinct reserach interest on the development of the preterm lung, on which he did his PhD and continued his further research. In 2006 he became Chairman of the Department of Paediatrics and Division Leader in the Research Institute GROW (Oncology and Developmental Biology). He is past president of the European Society of Paediatric Research (ESPR). Since 2017, he is a member of the Trustee Board of EFCNI.

Former Chair and Board members

Gérard Bréart (former chair)
Gérard Bréart is a perinatal epidemiologist and Professor of Public Health at the Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris, France. He also holds adjunct faculty positions at the Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, USA and the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, USA. His researched focuses on different aspects of women’s and children’s health, in particular on preterm birth, fetal growth, organisation of care and efficacy and effectiveness of interventions. From 2008 to 2011, Professor Bréart served as Director of the Institute of Public Health at INSERM. He is past President of the Association of French-speaking Epidemiologists (1989-1993) and of the French Society of Perinatal Medicine (1999-2001). Gérard Bréart has also been involved in large national and international studies such as the ENP, the EURO-PERISTAT, EPICARD, and EPIPAGE and has published numerous articles in leading journals.

Morten Breindahl (former chair)
Morten Breindahl is Head of Patient Flow “Extremely preterm infants” at Karolinska University Hospitals in Danderyd, Solna and Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden. He is also Senior Consultant and Medical Director of NeoPETS (the Neonatal and Paediatric Emergency Transport Service), and holds a PhD in paediatric infectional diseases. In this capacity he has joined a comprehensive reformation of the health care system at Karolinska University Hospital focusing on Value Based Care and treatment including new organisational structures, leadership and cooperation principles. He was the Congress President of the 2nd (2016) and 3rd (2017) edition of the international congress. „Transport of High Risk Neonates – When skill, equipment and professionalism make the difference” furthermore, Morten Breindahl is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI and the past President of the European Society for Neonatology (ESN).

Odile Frauenfelder (former chair)
Odile Frauenfelder is a senior nurse practitioner specialised in the field of maternity and child care. In 2018, she obtained her second master´s degree in Quality and Safety in Patient care at the University of Nijmegen. Her interests as a neonatal nurse practitioner lie primarily in the care of extreme preterm infants, not restricted to the medical and nursing care but also including the care of the parents during their stay at the NICU. In addition to her clinical work, Odile is also active in other fields for advisor. In the past, she was the Nursing President from ESPNIC (European Society for Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care) and President of the Dutch Association for Nurse Practitioners (V&VN VS). She has established an extensive network amongst professionals involved in the care of the extreme preterm infants and beyond in the Dutch health care and political world. Odile is member of the registration commission for Dutch nurse practitioners and a member of the advisory board for the Dutch Dentists registration commission. Odile is knowledge ambassador of the city of Rotterdam and since 2010, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Gorm Greisen (former chair)
Gorm Greisen is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Copenhagen University, Denmark and consultant neonatologist at the Department of Neonatology at The Juliane Marie Centre, Rigshospitalet. His research focuses on causes of brain injury in preterm infants, cerebral blood flow and cerebral oxygenation, systematic follow-up studies to evaluate outcomes later in life, growth before and after birth and the consequences of growth in the perinatal period for later health, as well as interventions in the newborn period to improve health later in life, and the ethics of medical research. He is currently engaged in an attempt to test the clinical value of monitoring cerebral oxygenation by near-infrared spectroscopy in extremely preterm infants (the SafeBoosC project) with a group of neonatologists in 17 European countries. Gorm Greisen is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Boubou Hallberg (former chair)
Dr Boubou Hallberg (MD, PhD) is the Head of Neonatology at the Neonatal Department of the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden and affiliated to Karolinska Institute. His research focuses on new strategies for preventing neonatal brain injury. He is PI/clinical lead for the EU-funded projects PreventROP, NEMO, NeoOpioid and BIHIVE. Additionally, he is involved in family-centered and couplet care in neonatology and also directs his attention towards staff and parental interaction and the process of designing an optimal neonatal intensive care unit to support this process for the past several years. He is also a member at the Swedish Neonatal Society, European neonatal brain club and director of the working group for centralization and transport. Boubou Hallberg is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Onno Helder (former chair)
Dr Onno Helder is a nurse scientist at the Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands and lecturer at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. He gained his PhD from the Medical Faculty of Erasmus University Rotterdam and currently works as a senior clinical researcher in addition to his lecturer post. His research interests are infection prevention, implementation strategies, and developing technical innovations that facilitates healthcare professionals’ workflow and patient safety. He has contributed to improvements in the BSc nursing program at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, and initiated several multi institutional research projects. Onno Helder is an active member of the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Aleid Leemhuis (former chair)
Aleid Leemhuis (formerly publication name van Wassenaer-Leemhuis) MD, PhD, is pediatrician and the head of the follow-up programme of NICU graduates at the Emma Children’s Hospital, Amsterdam University Medical Center. She is consultant to the Expertise Center for post discharge developmental support (EOP-Nl, Expertise centrum Ontwikkelingsondersteuning voor Prematuren). Within national and international collaborations, she is in involved in research in multi-disciplinary groups mostly aiming at improving long term health and neurodevelopmental outcomes of preterm infants and infants born after fetal growth restriction. This concerns primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of neurodevelopmental disabilities, mostly within in the age group 0 to 13. Aleid van Wassenaer-Leemhuis participated in the core writing group of the Dutch guideline on aftercare for preterm and small for date neonates which was a joined effort of the preventive primary healthcare, the Dutch society of paediatrics and the Dutch association of parents of preterm infants. She also is a member of EFCNI’s Scientific Advisory Board.

Tomasz Makaruk (former PPPAB member)
Dr Tomasz Makaruk is the founder and Chairman of the Polish Premature Baby Foundation (Fundacja Wczesniak Rodzice-Rodzicom), which has existed since 2004, shortly after Tomasz became a father to a preemie born in week 29 at 1600 g. Tomasz holds a PhD in Economics from the Warsaw School of Economics and also completed a course in Managing Professional Service Firms at Harvard Business School Executive Education. During his work with the Premature Baby Foundation, Tomasz was also the co-creator of a highly successful fundraising campaign for the organisation in 2010. Over the past 15 years Tomasz has worked in both management and executive positions within the marketing departments of top international corporations. Tomasz also co-owns and manages a marketing firm specialised in building brand loyalty. Tomasz is an active communicator and in addition to keeping a blog on marketing and economics, he has written a number of articles that have appeared in the press. Dr Tomasz Makaruk is a member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Neil Marlow (former executive board member)
Professor Neil Marlow trained in clinical medicine at Oxford and University College Hospital London. His first research post was in Manchester where he carried out one of the first and largest single observer outcome studies following low birthweight. Since that time, he has continued to focus on the sequelae of perinatal events and in particular neuropsychological outcomes. Neil was appointed Professor of Neonatal Medicine at University College London in September 2008, having held the chair of Neonatal Medicine in Nottingham since 1997. Neil leads the national EPICure studies, funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC), focused on long term outcomes for extremely preterm infants. He also runs several local studies and collaborates both nationally and internationally on a range of neonatal trials. Neil is the current Chair of the NHS England Clinical Reference Group for Neonatal Critical Care, and Chair of the Neonatal Critical Care Transformation Review. Neil is a member of the executive board of EFCNI.

Charles Christoph Roehr (former chair)
Since 2017 Charles Christoph Roehr is Associate Professor at the University of Oxford and he holds a university position as Privatdozent (Assistant Professor of Paediatrics) at the Charité Berlin, Germany since 2012. Professor Roehr has a keen interest in studying neonatal transition at birth and to improve the various methods of non-invasive respiratory support/ ventilation (NIV) applied to neonates. Another interest of his is medical education and postgraduate training. For many years, he has conducted national and international seminars on different neonatal topics. In his role as President of the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR), deputy chair of the European Scientific Collaboration of Neonatal Resuscitation Research and Chair of Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Section of the European Respiratory Society (ERS), Charles is keen to promote neonatal education, resuscitation research and respiratory health throughout Europe and beyond. He supports EFCNI’s Scientific Advisory Board with his expertise.

Pierre Tissières (former chair)
Pierre Tissières, MD, PhD, is Professor of Pediatrics at the University Paris South, and Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care and Neonatal Medicine at the Paris South University Hospitals. He is leading the Human Pathogens Interactions in Sepsis Group at the Department of Microbiology, from the Institute of Integrative Biology of the Cell, Paris Saclay University. He is specialized in molecular immunology and neonatal critical care. Pierre Tissieres’s current research is mainly focusing on the immune response of neonates and preterm infants to gram negative sepsis. Pierre Tissières is the president-elect of the European Society of Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care. He also contributes to the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Gert van Steenbrugge (former PPPAB member)
Dr Gert van Steenbrugge is father of two preterm children, born respectively at 34 and 26 weeks of pregnancy. He is former director of the Dutch parent organisation VOC (‘Vereniging van Ouders van Couveusekinderen’). Gert holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and worked for many years in biomedical research. Having this background, his special interest and activities for the VOC organisation has always been focused at medical advocacy work. In close cooperation with care providers he is involved in aftercare and follow-up programmes, was member of several guideline committees, participates in research groups and represented parents in the Call-to-Action NL platform, a local continuation of the EFCNI initiative. Along with parents and professionals, he was the founder of the ‘Neokeurmerk’, a quality mark for the Neonatology and the Mother and Child centres of the Dutch hospitals. This programme is based on the parent perspective, with the focus on developmental and family-centered care. Dr Gert van Steenbrugge is member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Yannic Verhaest (former PPPAB member)
Yannic Verhaest is Chairwoman of the Belgian parent organisation VVOC (Vlaamse Vereniging voor Ouders van Couveusekinderen). She joined the VVOC in 2007 as an active board member and became Chairwoman in 2013. She is mother of two children, the oldest born at 30 weeks of gestation. Yannic is a clinical psychologist, psychoanalytic psychotherapist, infant mental health specialist and works as psychotherapist and researcher at the UPC KU Leuven, at PraxisP (therapy centre of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science of KU Leuven), as well as affiliated staff of the Centre for Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychology at the University of Leuven. She has been representing Belgium within EFCNI since the first joint parent organisations meeting in 2008. She collaborates closely with EFCNI to improve prevention of preterm birth and for the best possible care for preterm infants and their families in Belgium and Europe. She is a member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Mónica Virchez (former PPPAB member)
Mónica is mother of triplets born in 29 weeks of gestation in London, UK. She has been supporting professionally the organisation PREMATURA in Spain for many years. She is a clinical psychologist as well as a trainer in baby massage, infant reflexology, skin-to-skin care. She has a post-degree-course in prematurity at the Italian Hospital in Argentina. In her daily work, she is in contact with issues like: attachment, bonding, skin-to-skin care, baby massage, breastfeeding, follow-up, pregnancy, baby body language, stress and burnout in mothers with multiple births, Brazelton, and NIDCAP. She has working experience in the development of small babies and children as well as support of parents and families of preterm infants. Mónica is a member of different Spanish and European associations and foundations related with prematurity and multiple births. She is in regular contact with professionals from other countries. Mónica is a member of the Parent Advisory Board of EFCNI.

Björn Westrup (former chair)
Dr Björn Westrup, MD, PhD, is a senior consultant in neonatology and Director of the Karolinska NIDCAP Training & Research Center at Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital, Karolinska University Hospital and lecturer at Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Dr Westrup’s fields of research are mainly medical and physiological aspects of developmentally supportive care, family-centred care and iron metabolism. He performed two randomised controlled clinical trials in the field of family-centred care and has been pioneering the development of the most advanced stage of family-centred developmental care: couplet care – a care model that minimises the separation of infant from its mother by if needed providing medical care also for the mother together with her infant in the neonatal unit. For his expertise in changing the care and designing nurseries to become more family oriented, Dr Westrup is a frequent invited speaker at scientific conferences and is regularly hosting leadership teams, that in the planning stage of building new nurseries, are visiting his unit to seek his advice. Dr Westrup serves in the Scientific Advisory Board of EFCNI.