#MeetTheExpert Gizem Karadağ, junior physician and researcher at the Institute for Hygiene and Environmental Medicine at Charité (Berlin). Thanks to her expertise, she contributes to the NeoIPC project by developing a surveillance structure for infection prevention and control monitoring in neonatal intensive care units.
Briefly, tell us about your career up to this point.
I am currently working as a junior physician and researcher at the Institute for Hygiene and Environmental Medicine of the Medical School of Berlin, Charité. I studied medicine in Turkey, where I was born and grew up and then started working in my hometown as an emergency room doctor. After two years, I moved to Germany to embark on a new adventure in my life and start my residency training. Before coming to Charité, I worked at the paediatrics department of a local health authority in Berlin.
Can you tell us more about your role in NeoIPC?
I’m a part of a team that will develop a surveillance structure for infection prevention and control (IPC) monitoring in neonatal intensive care units, creating a surveillance toolkit and framework for data collection in an open source format. We believe that a surveillance system designed for global use is an excellent basis for speaking the same language in the network we want to establish.
Which aspect of the project are you most excited about and why?
I am very excited about the idea of bringing experts around the world together on a platform where they can share new ideas and experiences to provide better and safer healthcare to vulnerable newborns. Even a single healthcare professional we reach can play a key role in protecting hundreds of babies from healthcare associated infections. Inspiring, isn’t it?
Who inspires you and why?
In this context, i would like to answer to this question: Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis; the saviour of the mothers. A gynaecologist who, through a simple observation, realised that hand disinfection in obstetrical clinics and the incidence of puerperal sepsis (childbed fever) were linked, at a time when the medical world knew nothing of microorganisms, and high rates of infection and death after surgeries were considered fate. He made hand disinfection mandatory before births and examinations at the gynaecology ward where he worked and noticed that this simple intervention saved mothers from dying from infection after childbirth. During his lifetime, these revolutionary observations and views were not accepted by his colleagues and led to his expulsion. Semmelweis’ life reveals that the little details that seem simple to us may be crucial and there is no place for prejudices in science.
That is what I miss most in Berlin, summer!
Typical coffee order?