February 22, 2023

International Day of Women and Girls in Science & International Women's Day, 2023

Celebrating Women in Science: Vasiliki Chantziara

According to UNESCO data (2014 – 2016), only about 30 per cent of all female students choose science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields in higher education. In addition, 35.6 per cent of principal authors in medical research are women, and only 25.8 per cent are senior authors of academic articles published in high-impact journals.

Therefore, the identification, celebration, and visibility of women’s achievements can help change the narrative of women in STEM. In celebration of Women and Girls in Science Day on February 11 and International Women’s Day on March 8, ESICM will release a series of videos highlighting some of the brilliant women who are part of our ICU community. While we are aware that this is not an exhaustive representation, we hope their example will inspire other ICU professionals, researchers and educators.

Vasiliki Chantziara has been an intensivist for the past 15 years. She was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Clinical Research Coordinator at the Columbia University Medical Center, New York (USA) and has collaborated on several research projects, including the ESICM DecubICUs study.

 “I am originally an anesthesiologist, and then I decided to become an intensivist because I wanted to take care of patients that didn’t have chances to get back to life outside of the ICU”, she says.

Since she started her ICU fellowship, many things have changed. “I am delighted to see more women becoming intensivists now, and of course, there is still a long way to go, but we brought up the issue that women are underrepresented in Intensive Care Medicine. The next step is to do something about it: women need to be more involved and have more chances in research.”

What advice would she then give to young girls and women interested in research? “Follow your dreams and think big. It’s all about getting involved, sharing our ideas, and building up a network among women worldwide as intensivists”.

She hopes that women will have more equal opportunities and presence in congresses and academia in the next 10 years and that “we will have ICUs without walls, where families and even pets are around our patients and with an increased use of artificial intelligence to improve patients’ outcomes”.

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