• Prof. Dr. Julia Leinweber, Evangelische Hochschule Berlin

Brain City Ambassador Prof. Dr. Julia Leinweber has been a W2 professor in the midwifery course at the Evangelische Hochschule Berlin (EHB) since 2016. In her research she focuses on the birth experience of women and the psychological and emotional health of women before and after birth.

“How women experience birth subjectively depends on how well they feel cared for in this vulnerable situation. The subjective experience of childbirth in the period immediately after the birth but also beyond, has far-reaching effects on their emotional and mental health, and on that of their families,” explains Prof. Dr. Julia Leinweber.

After qualifying as a midwife, she completed academic training in the UK and Australia, where she specialised in women’s health at the School of Public Health at the University of Melbourne. With a postgraduate scholarship from the Griffith University in Brisbane, Julia Leinweber conducted research on the trauma experience of midwives in Australia as part of her PhD in Midwifery and Perinatal Mental Health. She found that the ability of midwives to accompany births in an empathetic way may decrease if they frequently attend traumatic births.

When the possibility opened up for her four years ago to help shape the still new midwifery course at the Evangelische Hochschule Berlin as a funded professor as part of the Berlin Program for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities for Women in Research and Teaching (BCP), she seized the opportunity.

The density of the scientific locations in Berlin and also the networking within European networks brings a lively and dynamic element into research.

As expected, she experienced the scientific landscape of the Brain City as diverse and very open to cooperation. “The density of the scientific locations in Berlin and the networking within European networks brings a lively and dynamic element into research. I have a very good international and interdisciplinary network and therefore make exciting contacts. The possibilities for this were less pronounced at the Australian locations.”

Julia Leinweber is currently leading the German branches of two Erasmus projects on the topics of health literacy and empathetic childbirth. She is also actively involved in the new EU COST research network on the subject of traumatic childbirth and perinatal mental health and co-founder of the working group "Respektvolle Geburtshilfe" (Respectful Obstetrics) of the German Society of Midwifery Science (DGHWi). The latter aims to promote the transfer of theory to practice in the field of respectful care for women in the time around childbirth.

The reputation of the city as a diverse and tolerant place was also decisive for moving from Australia to Berlin with her family. The open atmosphere in the Brain City Berlin continues to excite her: “What I like about living in Berlin is the peaceful coexistence of a variety of life plans. This diversity promotes innovation and creativity - which is particularly important in the current situation!"