Name: Lyalina Liudmila Vladimirovna
Background: Medical doctor. Graduated from the Leningrad Sanitary-Hygiene Medical Institute (now the Saint-Petersburg Mechnikov State Medical Academy)
Title: PhD in medicine, head of the Laboratory of Epidemiology
Organization: Federal State Institution Saint-Petersburg Pasteur Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology
Specialization: Epidemiology; vaccine preventable diseases; infections and cancer; environmental epidemiology
What are your responsibilities at the Pasteur Institute?
Heading the Laboratory of Epidemiology, heading the Postgraduate Department, membership of the Academic Council.
What motivated you to devote yourself to infectious disease epidemiology?
During my medical studies I also did research in the students’ scientific society at the microbiology, therapy and epidemiology departments of the Medical Institute, and after graduation I was offered a postgraduate position at the Department of Epidemiology. This has shaped my professional career and turned out to be my vocation. I am very grateful to my teachers for helping me to realize my abilities.
Which of your professional achievements brings you the most satisfaction?
Developing and putting into practice the integrated system of epidemiological surveillance and prevention, including immunoprophylaxis, of papillomaviral infection and human papillomavirus-associated malignant tumours in the Northwestern region of Russia.
What would you rate as your most difficult professional moment?
Appearing as an expert witness in cases of serious outbreaks of infectious diseases. On the one hand, this is connected with professional challenges with regard to evidence inculpating individuals in the origin of outbreaks; on the other hand, there is the question of responsibility for people’s fates.
What do you think are the most important achievements in infectious disease epidemiology so far?
- Implementation of the Poliomyelitis Elimination Programme in Russia (I work with this programme at the Saint-Petersburg Regional Centre of Epidemiological Surveillance of Poliomyelitis and Acute Flaccid Paralysis, which is based at the Saint-Petersburg Pasteur Institute).
- The introduction of the National Programme for the Elimination of Measles in the Russian Federation in 2002 (I participate in the work of this programme at the Saint-Petersburg Regional Centre of Epidemiological Surveillance of Measles, which is also based at the Saint-Petersburg Pasteur Institute).
- Development and organization of the integrated system of epidemiological surveillance of papillomaviral infection and malignant tumours associated with this infection in the north-western and other regions in Russia.
How did you start collaborating with the EpiNorth project? What is your experience of it?
In 1999 I took part in the organization of a training course on the epidemiology of infectious diseases for medical epidemiologists at the Saint-Petersburg Pasteur Institute, which was developed by colleagues at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Dr Preben Aavitsland and Dr Stein Andresen). In this connection I wrote an article for the EpiNorth journal on infectious disease incidence in the north-western region of Russia. EpiNorth is an interesting and useful project that contributes to knowledge about the problems of infectious diseases occurring in the countries of the Baltic Sea Region, and to the development of measures to prevent the spread of the infections.
What do you consider most interesting in the EpiNorth project?
Publication of the EpiNorth journal in Russian and English. Organization of the training courses on the epidemiology of infectious diseases. Organization of annual meetings of state epidemiologists from the Barents and Baltic Sea Regions. Information exchange on infectious disease incidence in different countries of the EpiNorth region. Inclusion of EpiScience as a project feature which enables new data to be exchanged not only in practical epidemiology and infectious disease prevention but in research as well.
What do you consider the most important achievement of the EpiNorth project?
The development of international collaboration on prevention of infectious diseases in the Barents and Baltic Sea Regions.
What is your favourite book and why?
I like Russian classical literature, but now I mostly read Russian and foreign professional literature.
Aside from your professional career, what is your greatest ambition in life?
To be needed and to help my family, my son, my colleagues, and other good people who need my help.
What would be your wishes for younger colleagues in the field of epidemiology?
The work is very difficult and demanding. It is not always well paid, and epidemiologists are seldom thanked by ordinary individuals for their efforts to reduce the incidence of infectious diseases. But if you feel that this is your vocation, and you are pleased with the work you’ve done, my advice would be to continue this profession. You will find it interesting and rewarding, and both you and the community will benefit.