• Prof. Dr. Gudrun Piechotta-Henze (Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin)

Professor Dr. Gudrun Piechotta-Henze teaches and researches nursing sciences at the Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin (ASH Berlin). One of her research focuses is on the care of people with migration experiences and dementia.

Brain City Berlin: Professor Piechotta-Henze, wow would you describe your research focus?
We now have a lifelong society in Germany, i.e. more and more people are living significantly longer. As age increases, so does the need for support and care, especially when there are signs of dementia. Dementia has many faces, i.e. many different types of symptoms that people, their loved ones, and healthcare workers have to deal with. Given these scenarios, there are a variety of tasks for nursing education and courses of study, such as learning professional communication, counseling relatives, and palliative care. One of my research interests is nursing care of people with migration experience and dementia.

Brain City Berlin: What is the most exciting aspect of your research?   
Dementia has been repressed for a long time and is sometimes stigmatized to this day. Without denying the complex challenges and problems associated with dementia, I think it is extremely exciting to see and participate in the changes of recent years and decades. Dementia is no longer taboo today. The issue has hit home in German society, as shown, among other things, by the large number of books and films about people with dementia. At the same time, there is still a lot to do here. It is important to view people who are affected by dementia as human beings and not as demented people or even the “demented”. It goes without saying that they continue to be mothers with adult children, employed or retired persons, individuals with hobbies, interests, preferences and desires, even if they have the corresponding symptoms. They might have migration experiences or lived in one place for a lifetime. In short, the exciting thing about this area of research is to focus on people and their individual diversity, while at the same time knowing the symptoms and professionally structuring the resulting care demands and needs.

Brain City Berlin: How do you like life in Berlin?
 It’s a stimulating and exciting kaleidoscope of job opportunities, hustle and bustle of different people in the city, as well as the change of city life and culture, water, and greenspace.

Brain City Berlin: Which partnerships help your research?
There is a long-term, constructive collaboration with Alzheimer Gesellschaft Berlin e.V., with facilities that are active in the field of palliative care and with migration organizations. I also enjoy working and researching with colleagues from other Berlin universities, especially colleagues at the Evangelische Hochschule Berlin (EHB) and HTW Berlin - University of Applied Sciences.

Berlin advertises that it is an open and tolerant city and this is exactly the attitude with which you should get involved in Berlin.

Brain City Berlin: What are the advantages of Berlin over other research locations?
The multitude and diversity of science locations, educational and practical institutions in a city enable encounters and discussions with the most diverse, interesting, and interested people. The step towards cooperation, across disciplines, is thus quite easy.

Brain City Berlin: What would you advise young people interested in studying in Berlin?
Berlin advertises that it is an open and tolerant city and this is exactly the attitude with which you should get involved in Berlin. There is always something new to discover here and social spaces invite you to get involved.

Brain City Berlin: What developments would you like to see in the city?
I hope for just social and political developments for Berlin that allow people to live and make their home there, where they feel comfortable. Berlin should enable people (with and without migration experience) in vulnerable life situations to enjoy a high quality of life with self-confidence.

Brain City Berlin: What do you wish for the future of the sciences in Berlin?
For the future of the sciences in Berlin, my wish is that they open up to the city and society, get people excited about science, and motivate them to become (lifelong) learners. 

Brain City Berlin: What message would you like to send to Brain City Berlin?
Brain City Berlin is a step toward opening up universities to a wide and diverse range of people; I hope it continues to succeed and progress!


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