Executive Board

Silke Mader - Chairwoman of the Executive Board

Silke Mader is the Chairwoman of the Executive Board and co-founder of EFCNI. In 1997, her twins were born in the 25th week of pregnancy, and were not given the appropriate care. Unfortunately, one of them died a few days after birth. During her time in hospital and afterwards, Silke Mader was faced with the non-existence of support of any kind, the absence of public awareness and the lack of information and education for parents during pregnancy. Her motivation is to prevent parents from making similar experiences in such painful situations. As the conditions throughout Europe are distressingly similar and preterm children urgently need a voice within Europe and worldwide, she decided to take on the role of chair on the Executive Board of EFCNI.

Silke Mader is co-editor of the EFCNI Benchmarking Report “Too little, Too Late? Why Europe Should do more for Preterm Infants”, “Caring for Tomorrow” – the EFCNI White Paper on Maternal and Newborn Health and Aftercare Services and technical editor of the “Born too Soon” Global Action Report on Preterm Birth. Besides this, Silke Mader is author and editor of many other publications on topics related to maternal and newborn health.

In 2012 Silke Mader was awarded the “Prix Courage” by ZDF television programme “ML mona lisa” in cooperation with the cosmetics company Clarins. 2013 she received the Medal for Particular Services to Bavaria in a United Europe. Since 2014 she is Honorary Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 2015, Silke Mader has been awarded as social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow and in 2016 she received the Bavarian State Medal for Services concerning Health and Long-term Care.


Professor Neil Marlow trained in clinical medicine at Oxford and University College Hospital London. His first research post was in Manchester where he carried out one of the first and largest single observer outcome studies following low birthweight. Since that time, he has continued to focus on the sequelae of perinatal events and in particular neuropsychological outcomes. Neil was appointed Professor of Neonatal Medicine at University College London in September 2008, having held the chair of Neonatal Medicine in Nottingham since 1997.

Neil leads the national EPICure studies, funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC), focused on long term outcomes for extremely preterm infants. He also runs several local studies and collaborates both nationally and internationally on a range of neonatal trials. Neil is the current Chair of the NHS England Clinical Reference Group for Neonatal Critical Care, and Chair of the Neonatal Critical Care Transformation Review. Neil is a member of the executive board of EFCNI.

Nicole Thiele joined EFCNI in 2010 and holds the position of Vice Chair of the Executive Board. She is a Fellow of the European Patients’ Academy (EUPATI), has a diploma as European Secretary/ESA and holds a university degree in Economics, Management and Business Administration. Living and working abroad has provided her with extensive experience in different positions within multi-national companies.

With her family experiencing the consequences of an extremely preterm birth nearly 50 years ago, she is personally committed to driving forward the prevention of preterm birth, the continuous improvement of treatment and care as well as the philosophy of family-centred developmental care and parental involvement, to give every baby the best start in life.

Nicole Thiele has developed a variety of educational and information materials and is author, (co-)author and (co-)editor of several publications on the topic, e.g. of the EFCNI White Paper on Maternal and Newborn Health and Aftercare Services – “Caring for Tomorrow”.