Name: Tatiana P. Grunicheva
Background: Medical Doctor, graduate of the Leningrad Sanitary-Hygienic Medical Institute (now the Saint Petersburg State Medical Academy named after I.I. Mechnikov), PhD in Medical Sciences.
Title: Head of the Directorate and Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Kaliningrad oblast. Honoured doctor of the Russian Federation.
Organization: Directorate of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being (Rospotrebnadzor) in Kaliningrad oblast.
Hobby: I do not have enough free time for hobbies, but I like to travel very much.
What are your responsibilities at the Directorate of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being in Kaliningrad oblast?
I am currently holding the position of the Head of the Directorate of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being (Rospotrebnadzor) in Kaliningrad oblast.
What motivated you to devote yourself to infectious disease epidemiology?
Epidemiology is of utmost importance for all branches of medical sciences. Nowadays, medical knowledge depends on epidemiological methods for diagnostics as they are the most effective and accurate for determining the causes of all types of pathologies and not only infections. Studying epidemiology is interesting and challenging. It helps to increase an understanding of how to protect the health of the population.
Which of your professional achievements brings you the most satisfaction?
From 2007 to 2009 the incidence of tuberculosis in Kaliningrad oblast remained stable and since 2009 it has decreased. This is a result of the most intense and extensive interaction with executive and legislative bodies, local authorities, medical and preventive treatment facilities and non-governmental organizations.
We have also reduced the incidence of vaccine-preventable infections.
What was your most difficult professional moment?
Right now I am greatly concerned about the extensive circulation of propaganda against vaccination, which may have an impact on the incidence and mortality rates of various infections and the average life expectancy, respectively. As a healthcare professional and a sanitary doctor, I am troubled by this tendency.
It is quite difficult but necessary to develop new effective strategies for making available and spreading comprehensive and reliable information in order to popularize vaccination as an effective means of prevention of many infectious diseases. Medical epidemiologists have to communicate with the population and interact with public organizations and religious communities, which often requires not only professional knowledge, but also psychological skills to be able to persuade people in efficiency of vaccination.
What do you think are the most important achievements in infectious disease epidemiology so far?
Achievements of recent years are definitely remarkable. The epidemiological situation has become favourable for many vaccine-preventable nosological forms. Preventive and antiepidemic measures against known infectious diseases as well as epidemiological studies of emerging and re-emerging diseases are developing and improving.
How did you start collaborating in the EpiNorth project?
Our collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health started in 2002. For the last eight years we have held a lot of interesting meetings addressing challenges related to the prevention of infectious diseases. I think the meetings have been useful both for us and for our foreign colleagues.
Within the framework of the EpiNorth project, the specialists of our service had training courses in epidemiology of infectious diseases and participated in meetings for epidemiologists from the Northwestern region. In collaboration with EpiNorth, we have implemented a joint project devoted to immunization against viral hepatitis B among drug users admitted to the regional inpatient detox clinic, teenagers who are using drugs and people rendering medical and social services to such patients. Our Norwegian colleagues provided financial assistance for joint projects with the Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation for the vaccination against hepatitis B, and for the improvement of our information support systems.
What do you find the most interesting aspect of the EpiNorth project?
First of all, the project gives us an opportunity to discuss the most urgent problems of infectious pathologies with our colleagues. It provides us with the comprehensive information about the epidemiological situation in the neighbouring countries of Europe and allows medical specialists to exchange their practical experience in different areas of infection control. In addition, the project helps to consolidate participation of Nordic and Baltic countries in gaining control over various infectious diseases.
What do you consider the most important achievement of the EpiNorth project?
Consolidation of efforts taken by countries of the Barents and Baltic sea region in order to prevent infectious diseases and to protect the health of the population.
What is your favourite book and why?
It is not easy to name one book only. I like “The Favourite" by V. Pikul very much. I also read and re-read works by classic Russian writers with great interest.
Aside from your professional career, what is your greatest ambition in life?
I would like to learn more and more about the world around me.
What would be your wishes for the younger colleagues in the field of epidemiology?
Epidemiology is a basic science, its methodology and approaches are essential in various domains. I would like future epidemiologists to explore, value and contribute to this science and its achievements. And keep in mind that there are no hopeless situations, even difficult epidemiologic situations can be improved.