On November 2, 2023, the second FEM Club Night took place in the auditorium of UMCH in Hamburg. The event was organized by the FEM Club, a group of students committed to the empowerment and advancement of women in science and the university environment. It aimed to recognize women in medicine and other scientific disciplines and share their stories and experiences. The FEM Club Night was hosted by Julika Tan and Marina Strähle, two 5th year UMCH students and members of the student club responsible for the organization. The event featured inspiring talks by five outstanding women from different medical and scientific fields.
Prof. Dr. med. Ewa Klara Stürmer, a renowned surgeon, spoke about her lifelong passion for medicine and her impressive career. At the age of 39, she was awarded the venia legendi for trauma surgery and orthopaedics in the field of surgery. She later became Professor of Translational Wound Research at Witten/Herdecke University and acquired an additional qualification in microbiology. In 2022, she was appointed Professor of Translational Wound Research at the University Medical Center Hamburg Eppendorf and is head of the Comprehensive Wound Center (CWC UKE) for basic and clinical research.
In her presentation, Dr. Sonja Könemann, assistant doctor in surgery and member of Die Chirurginnen e.V., reported on her experiences in her specialist field. She emphasized how important it is to stand up for your convictions and that there is enough room for women in surgery so that one does not have to be afraid of taking a colleague’s place. She also emphasized that women in medicine should be free to make their own career decisions – whether they want to work more or spend more time at home. She encouraged those present not to be restricted by stereotypes and referred to the mission of Die Chirurginnen e.V. to make women in medicine more visible and promote equal opportunities.
Dr. Mirjam Wagner, a specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics, also reported on her personal and professional career. She is an expert in the areas of menstrual cycles, premenstrual syndrome and contraception. She described her beginnings in medicine, where she developed health problems due to excessive workload and stress. Faced with many negative experiences and a lack of respect, she decided to stand up for herself and follow her own path. Today, she works both as a doctor and on her own brand. For example, she has written a book about premenstrual syndrome and offers online coaching programs. Her career shows the importance of self-assertion, health and a good work-life balance in professional life.
Dr. Sabine Messany-Oberwandling, an expert in psychosocial development and communication, emphasized the importance of a strong doctor-patient relationship in her presentation. In addition to her work as a doctor, Messany-Oberwandling is also involved in coaching and has set up a mentoring program for young and experienced doctors. She advocates a positive working environment in medicine and emphasized the importance of supporting medical professionals in crisis situations. Her presentation highlighted the enormous importance of the human element in medicine and the role of doctors as confidants in the lives of their patients.
Dr. Sandra Maria Blois, Professor of Glycoimmunology and Reproduction at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, gave a lecture on the importance of the placental glycocode and its link to immunological privilege during pregnancy. As a renowned scientist in the field of reproductive immunology, she reported on her research on galectins, tiny proteins that play a crucial role in pregnancy. Her presentation emphasized the importance of teaching and mentoring and the close connection between science and applied medicine. Dr. Blois is involved in student training and international mentoring programs. Her research helps to deepen our understanding of reproductive immunology and how a healthy pregnancy provides the foundation for healthy aging.
All five speakers gave inspiring insights into their personal and professional challenges and successes over the course of the event. The event was therefore an ideal opportunity for participants to learn from the stories and wisdom of these women and to encourage each other.