• Dr. Christine Kurmeyer, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Brain City Berlin Ambassador Dr Christine Kurmeyer is the Central Counsellor for Women’s Affairs and Equal Opportunities at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. A position in which she combines her expertise with her beliefs. 

How did you become the Central Counsellor for Women’s Affairs and Equal Opportunities at one of the largest university hospitals in Europe? Christine Kurmeyer has often been asked this question. In her case, the path was quite conventional: "The position was announced at the Charité in 2006. A colleague let me know about it, saying a capable colleague was still needed for this job and that I should apply for it. In fact, I was selected from the circle of external applicants." In July 2006, Christine Kurmeyer began her service at the Charité. She had previously headed the equal opportunities office at the University of Hannover for six years, where she had founded the "Forum Mentoring," an association of mentoring programme coordinators who organize funding programmes for junior researchers at scientific institutions throughout Germany. 

So she was already a part of the field. And yet: working at a university hospital is a special challenge for researchers. Because in addition to the usual university obligations of teaching and research, they are also a part of patient care. "The Central Counsellor for Women’s Affairs and Equal Opportunities has the function of always highlighting the special burdens in this area in lobbying and sensitising both employees and the public. This requires a well-functioning system of cooperation, both within the institution and its colleagues, as well as a differentiated presentation of development processes to the outside world. She also acts as an interface," says Christine Kurmeyer, explaining her responsibilities.

Berlin is at the flashpoint of German history. And the Charité is the history of Berlin in a nutshell.

A project she is particularly proud of is a study on sexual harassment. All of the relevant institutions within the Charité collaborated successfully on this project: "The study was accepted as a cooperative project within the framework of university medicine at all important levels. This joint initiative of the Central Counsellor for Women’s Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the Nursing Directorate, and the Institute for Gender Research in Medicine was made possible by winning the Max Rubner Prize. We did it with the support of Charité leadership."

The fact that the acclaimed journal JAMA Internal Medicine published the results of the study further confirms the scientific success of the project. Likewise, the Federal Agency for Anti-Discrimination uses it as an example of best practices and shares it with other institutions.

And what does a Central Counsellor for Women’s Affairs and Equal Opportunities advise young female researchers who want to come to Berlin and start their scientific careers here? Christine Kurmeyer immediately has a motivating answer to this question: "Get networking! Contact women's and gender equality officers and use existing network structures. No false modesty or lone ranger ambitions!" 

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