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The team behind the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health

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Meet the team behind the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH).

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. In 2013, she received the Medal for Particular Services to Bavaria in a United Europe. Since 2014, she has been Honorary Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 2015, Silke Mader was awarded as social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow and, in 2016, she received the Bavarian State Medal for Services Concerning Health and Long-term Care.

Senior Medical Director

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.

Head of European Standards of Care for Newborn Health Department

Isabel joined EFCNI in April 2021.

As a research associate, Isabel worked mainly in the field of new healthcare programmes with a special focus on the design and (process) evaluation of these complex interventions. She also contributed to a scientific report for the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) on the further development of physician planning in Germany. Isabel holds a PhD in Epidemiology and Public Health from the LMU Munich, an MPhil in Epidemiology from the University of Liverpool (UK) and an MA in International Health and Social Management from the Management Center Innsbruck (Austria). She also completed a Bachelor’s study in Physiotherapy at the University of Applied Sciences Vienna (Austria).

With her experience in evaluating the implementation of complex interventions, she is proud to be part of EFCNI and to support the implementation and advancement of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health.

Junior Project Manager for Maternal and Newborn Health

Verena Krause joined EFCNI in January 2023.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Health Studies (Midwifery) from the University of Applied Sciences Vienna and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from the University of Vienna.

As part of her master’s thesis, Verena conducted a policy analysis of international family planning organizations, identifying the links that are being made between climate change and population. During various internships abroad, she witnessed how the effects of climate change directly affect neonatal and maternal health, and therefore developed a strong interest for the intersections of environmental and reproductive justice.

As a certified midwife, Verena is familiar with the needs of expectant parents and families, which is why optimising maternal and newborn health is very close to her heart. She is proud to be a part of EFCNI and its work in advancing the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health.

Senior Project Manager for Maternal and Newborn Health

Dr Sarah Lehmann joined EFCNI in October 2022.

Sarah has a strong scientific background in nutrition and biomedicine (M.Sc.). During her PhD she investigated complex interactions of human immune cells in the context of allergy prevention and breastfeeding. As scientific project manager, she worked at a WHO Supranational Reference Laboratory of tuberculosis managing operational research projects, including biosafety level 3 laboratory work as well as human clinical trials, helping to implement medical development aid projects worldwide. Before joining EFCNI, Sarah supported the certification of safe in vitro diagnostic tests as lead auditor for quality management systems and product assessor at an acknowledged Notified Body for medical devices.

As mother of young children, along with her scientific background and international professional experience, she is excited to contribute to EFCNI’s mission of improving healthcare for newborn children and supporting families by providing the best possible start in life.

Working student

Lucia Weller joined EFCNI in December 2023.

She is in the final stages of her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Hagen and is aiming to pursue a research oriented Masters programme in Psychology.

Being a former preterm infant, Lucia is passionate about improving the situation for preterm and newborn babies and their families. She is proud to be a part of EFCNI and to support the Department of European Standards of Care for Newborn Health.

Senior Communications Manager

Annika Brunck joined EFCNI in November 2020.

Annika Brunck holds a PhD in American Studies and a Master’s degree in British and North American Cultural Studies. She taught at university for several years and was the project manager for an international and interdisciplinary research network. She speaks German, English, Spanish, and some French, and has lived abroad.

As part of the corporate communications team, she supports the foundation in its goals of international networking and outreach, and wants to facilitate meaningful communication between the foundation, its partners and stakeholders as well as the broader general public.