Dr. Nadire Berker was born and educated in Istanbul, Turkey. She graduated from Robert College, which is an American High School in Istanbul. Nadire’s grandfather had been the founder of physical medicine and rehabilitation branch of medicine in Turkey. Her mother had followed in his footsteps to become a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation. It was a natural wish for her to be a doctor of medicine. Nadire completed her medical school training at the Istanbul University Istanbul School of Medicine, the oldest, largest and possibly the most prestigious medical school in Turkey. She received her graduation certificate from her mother who was a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation in the same school.
Dr. Berker finished her residency training in physical medicine and rehabilitation in the Marmara University School of Medicine. This was a newly founded medical school and the departments were still being established. Nadire and one other resident together, with their single professor at the time, created the department from the beginning. This gave them a wonderful opportunity to understand better the workings of a department and a medical school and created a great feeling of self-reliance.
Over the years, she first became an Associate Professor and very recently full Professor in the same university. Thus, she is now the third generation of physical medicine and rehabilitation professors in her family.
Nadire has been working with children in need ever since high school. She was a member of an organization of students who used to regularly visit orphanages in Istanbul to find ways of helping the children there and establishing friendships with them. During her years at the medical school, she worked in the child psychiatry department as a volunteer with autistic children. She became interested in pediatric rehabilitation in 1995 when the neurosurgery department was establishing a myelodysplasia clinic and looking for partners from relevant fields. Nadire worked in the myelodysplasia clinic for five years and also organized a pediatric rehabilitation unit in their department. Ever since, they have had a growing number of children with various neuromusculoskeletal problems.
There were no pioneers of pediatric rehabilitation in Turkey that Dr. Berker could look up to as a role-model. Teaching in this field was almost non-existent. There were no books in Turkish, and the ones in English were difficult to find or too expensive to buy. She could say she began her education on pediatric rehabilitation by learning from her patients. Gradually, Nadire started going abroad to meetings, and she visited a few centers in the U.S. on very short visits and tried to increase her knowledge. Most of all, the American Academy For Cerebral Palsy & Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) meetings were of great help. Slowly, their patients increased in number, and they decided, with her colleague Selim Yalcin, to write a book on Spina Bifida. It was a great success: they distributed 2,000 books in their country. Others followed, and they wrote one on Cerebral Palsy and one book on Gait Analysis. They held patient-family-physician meetings to educate their patients and their families about chronic neuromuscular disease of childhood. They established the Spina Bifida Parents’ Association of Istanbul. They ran a series of meetings for pediatric neurologists, rehabilitation physicians, and orthopaedic surgeons on Spina Bifida and Cerebral Palsy. They invited lecturers from the U.S. to a couple of these meetings. Their pediatric rehabilitation service at their university hospital grew every year. They are treating approximately twenty new cases every week.
Finally, they have begun the Eastern Mediterranean Cerebral Palsy & Developmental Medicine meetings that take place biannually in the countries of the region. They have just finished “The HELP Guide To Cerebral Palsy”.
When Dr. Berker became a rehabilitation physician, she wanted to work with patients who had spinal-cord injuries. Instead, she has had the opportunity to treat disabled children. Her life became richer and her work more fulfilling thanks to all of her patients. She is very lucky to have known them all.
Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Marmara University, School of Medicine Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Assistant Professor: Marmara University, School of Medicine
1994 – 1997
Residency: Marmara University, School of Medicine
1989 – 1994
M.D.: Istanbul University, Istanbul School of Medicine
1983 – 1989
High-School: American Robert College Istanbul
1977 – 1983
Affiliations: Turkish Society of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
International Association for the Study of Pain
American Academy of Cerebral Palsy & Developmental Medicine
Books, Publications, & Presentation
“Spina Bifida: Treatment & Rehabilitation”. 131 pp, 240 color photos, illustrations, website, and a 15-minute film with the title, ‘Living With Spina Bifida,’ along with a booklet for families and patients.
“Cerebral Palsy: Treatment & Rehabilitation”. 120 pp 320 color photos, illustrations, website, and a 14-minute-film with the same title. All books in Turkish. The book was co-authored with Prof. Michael Sussman and Prof. John Dormans.
Twenty-three articles in international and national journals.
Fifty-one presentations in international and national congresses.
May 11, 1965, Istanbul, Turkey.
Fluent in English & Turkish.
Special Interest Areas
Running the Pediatric Rehabilitation Clinic since 1994.
Running the EMG-EP laboratory since 1996.